Lamar, CO – Tornado Outbreak 29 May 2001

Date:  29 May 2001


Place:  Tornadoes #3-4 South of Wiley, CO and

Tornado #5 5 Mi West of Lamar, CO


Time: 1230 – 1330 MDT


Chase Partner: Lou Rohrbacher




Morning of May 29th looked to be very active in SE Colorado through the Texas Panhandle.  We got a late start and debated even going because this would be the 3rd day in a row chasing with high mileage

involved.  So after some debate and much needed caffeine, we headed out the door from Denver at 1000: destination Texas Panhandle.  While enroute very strong updrafts were forming N of Limon, CO, however NOAA radio and what outlooks we checked out prior to departure said to head south.   So we continued south, the whole time watching very nice convection going up all around us.   North of Wiley, CO my chase partner shouted “Hey!!  Is that one?”  Since it was probably 20 miles away I laughingly joked and said “no…..that is smoke”, which is an inside joke about a previous chase experience.   About 3 or 4 minutes later he yells “well, that one to the left maybe smoke, but THAT is one to the right of that!!”  After closing the gap a few miles he was right.   There were to tornadoes off in the distance to our south.  After we had passed through Wiley, CO we set up shop in a field and video taped the 2nd and then a 3rd in the family.  After the 2nd had dissipated we decided to move south a little more since these seemed rather weak and more like landspouts in their behavior.  Approximately a mile to the west of the 3rd member a 4th formed south of our new location along HWY 287.  This one lasted for a little while and was roping out when we saw very strong circulation in the clouds about 2 miles south of us. Since the storm was moving NE we decided to stay where we were.   After a couple of minutes it seemed to organize quickly and a funnel began to form.   Touchdown was shortly thereafter.  The tornado remained south of our location and basically remained stationary for most of its 30 minute lifespan.   It seemed to be dying after about 15 minutes or so, but very quickly reorganized and reintensified and began an easterly track straight toward Lamar.  All of a sudden it decided to slowly head back west………then North.  As it began to rope out it started to get into a small patch of forest and was ripping trees right out of the ground.  It was also headed straight for a mobile home about 1 mile SE of us.  We watched as the tornado lifted off the ground and quickly dissipated about 1/2 mile from the mobile home.   To my knowledge this particular tornado destroyed 1 home completely and seriously damaged another.  During Tornado #5 a funnel formed about 7-8 miles to the SW of our location.  It is not known whether or not this funnel touched down, but it looked much like the smaller landspout tornadoes earlier in this event.

Tornado #3

Tornado #4 formed west of tornado #3 and both were down simultaneously.

Tornado #5 was a supercell tornado that lasted approximately 30 minutes.

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