2021 Severe Weather Season

Observations of Severe Storms and Interesting Weather Phenomena

Four Days of Storm Observation in eastern Colorado and a little bit of New Mexico

On my first trip for multiple days of storm observation in nearly two years, I saw something interesting on each of the four days I was out. Below are summaries and links to my detailed reports from each day, with lots of photos and, for some days, video as well.

May 14, 2021, Tornado-Look-Alike (actually a snow virga shower) Near Cuchara, CO - As I drive to Trinidad, CO to preposition for a few days of storm chasing, I see something that looks a lot like a tornado but isn't - instead it is virga, precipitation coming out of the base of the cloud but mostly evaporating before reaching the ground. Includes photo and discussion of this phenomenon

May 15, 2021 - Two Bow-Head Mesocyclones, one with a Tornado, CO and NM - First, I observe a severe-warned storm on the Raton Mesa of far northern NM, with strong rotation and a persistent wall cloud that dropped a lot of hail on the south slope of the mesa, as it evolved into the head of a bow echo. Then later, another similar developing bow-head storm near Rocky Ford, CO, that dropped one of the only two tornadoes in the United States that day. Includes photos, video, a radar loop, and extensive discussion of my obervations of these storms and the meterological setup that gave rise to them

May 16, 2021 - Supercell East and South of Pueblo, CO - I follow a spectacular supercell as it moves "backwards" to the south-southwest east and south of Pueblo, CO, transitioning in its appearance from LP to classic to HP supercell. Includes photos and extensive discussion of the storm and why it moved in this unusual manner.

May 17, 2021, Rain, Snow, Graupel/Snow Pellets, and Hail, with Thunder and Lightning, Alamosa, CO - I encounter an unusual storm that produces rain, hail, graupel, and snow, sometimes all at once, along with thunder and lightning, in Alamosa, CO. One of the most unusual thunderstorms I ahve ever seen. Report includes photos and video, along with a couple pictures of an earlier storm west of Walsenburg, along with extensive descriptions of what I observed and the meteorology giving rise to it.

Total chase distance for this trip: 1140 miles.

Three Days of Storm Observation in the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico

On my second storm-pbservation trip of the season, I was fortunate to see supercells each day and two tornadoes and some impressive RFD wind the first day. Below are summaries and links to my detailed reports from each day, with lots of photos and, for some days, video as well.

May 26, 2021 - Texas Panhandle Supercell and Tornadoes - I intercept a monster supercell in the far northern Texas Panhandle, as it produces multiple tornadoes, huge hail (which I managed to avoid), and big dust plumes lofted by intense RFD wind. Report includes more than a dozen photos, three video segments, detailed descvriptions of my observations of this storm, and discussion of the meteorological setup that led to it.

May 27, 2021 - A Splitting Supercell in the Southern Texas Panhandle - I watch a supercell near Turkey, TX as it splits. The left split (anticyclonic) moves away from me to the north/northeast, while the right split comes torward me - and I was in a position to document both. I then stayed ahead of the right split as it moved southeast into Turkey, dropping up to 1.5" hail. Some of the hail fell with the sun shining and a rainbow. Report includes pictures including a panorama showing both the right and left splits, along with a detailed description of what I experienced.

May 28, 2021 - A Supercell Crosses I-40 East of Clines Corners, NM - On the return from my two days of chasing in the TX Panhandle, I encounter a supercell east of Clines Corners, NM that stops traffic on I-40 with 1-inch hail, torrential rain, and dust lofted by RFD wind. And a pretty spectacular mammatus display, too. Includes photos and a detailed description of the storm and the weather setup that led to it.

Total chase distance for this trip: 1255 miles.

May 30, 2021 - Central New Mexico Storm Chase - Storms near Encino and Duran produce hail and flash flooding, and offer up some nice photo ops. Includes photos and a details of my final May, 2021 storn chase.

July, 2021 Monsoon Storms - A much more active Southwest Monsoon in 2021 as compared to 2020 offered several July opportunities for storm observation and lightning photography in the Pagosa Springs, CO area. This page includes accounts and pictures from multiple days in the latter part of July.

December 15, 2021 High Wind, Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Event - Rocky Mountains to Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Regions - A Truly exceptional weather event occurs from southwestern CO and northwestern NM all the way northeast to parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the UP of Michigan, including severe snow squalls in CO and NM, some with thunder aand lightning, and later a derecho what went from western KS to parts of MN and WI. And a record number of tornadoes for any day in any month in Iowa - in December! This Webpage includse many links to reports and analysis of this exceptional storm system, with somewhat greater emphasis than other Websites on the severe, high-wind squalls that occurred in CO and NM. Because it included both severe winter weather and severe thunderstorms/tornadoes, this page will be linked both from here and from my soon-to-come 2021-22 winter weather observation page.

This page last updated January 30, 2022.