Rotating Bowl

Rotating Bowl

Despite the lack of road options in the area, some of my favorite supercells on the Great Plains are those that roll off the Laramie Range in June upslope events and churn across southeastern Wyoming.  Whether for tornadoes, structure, hail, great sunsets or any and all of the above, they seldom fail to impress and inspire wonder.  This ill-tempered bull of a storm was no exception.   It drifted east off the mountains as a high-based calf, then went nuts and matured fast as it encountered backed flow along the surface moist axis.  The huge, low-slung, furiously rotating wall cloud developed with astonishing quickness, and probably had a few brief, wispy, barely-there spinups during this phase.  At this point, I was surprised it didn’t “plant the big one”, as my late friend Jim Leonard would say.  Elke and I had to bail southward quickly before the east-southeastward-moving circulation crossed the highway.   We barely avoided its horns, just escaping the edge of the hook crossing US-85.   In the process, the mesocyclone became almost completely surrounded by dense rain and hail, and eventually did spawn a substantial, deeply precip-wrapped tornado in open range several miles farther southeast.

5 SSE Yoder WY (22 Jun 13)  Looking SW
41.8419, -104.2786

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