Today, SPC forecasted a marginal risk in northeast Colorado and northwest Kansas, so our target city was Burlington, Colorado. Throughout the day, the risk was upgraded to enhanced with a 2% probability of tornadoes in that same region. We stopped in Colby for lunch, and then continued west; it was at this time that the risk was upgraded. Storms were beginning to develop north of Burlington so once we got there we headed that direction. We had a few thunderstorm cells we were watching around Idalia, Colorado. A couple of these cells had severe thunderstorm warning issued from them. As one of the cells moved north of our position just west of Idalia a hail core became evident visually and on radar. This one cell showed rapid intensification so we decided to follow it. We stopped at a gas station in Idalia before having to move quickly to the south due to an expansion of the hail core and quarter size hail falling sporadically on us. As we got clear of the expanding hail core, we saw our big event for the day which was a gustnado. A gustnado is a ground circulation that forms along the gust front and can be often mistaken for a tornado. However, another chaser in the region did report this as a tornado (thus the circulation went to the cloud as well). We will have to see what the official classification is by the National Weather Service.
After this, we tried to go east to chase another cell that was building up, but we were halted by poor road conditions. Tonight, after a very eventful tornado sighting, we are staying in Limon, Colorado, which will set us up well for tomorrow’s slight risk.
Note: We are still going through all our pictures and videos and will post these at a later time. You can visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/UWWhitewaterWeatherhawks) to view the live video we posted from the gustnado/tornado.