Most people are more likely to associate Colorado with tall Rocky Mountains rather than tomatoes 😀 Between 1952 & 2010 weld County Colorado reported more tomatoes than any other county in the states For those used to chasing in Texas or Oklahoma hunting tomatoes in Colorado can seem like a different game I’ve experienced a lot of frustration trying to capture tomatoes here Year after year the setups I’d choose to chase turned out to be duds And then, the one or two anemic days I’d take off would produce some of the most photogenic storms. Anyone has ever seen. It wasn’t until 2016 that I finally broke my Colorado curse For this video we’re going to focus on this weird tomato hotspot in eastern, Colorado and adjacent areas Why is it that tomatoes seem to magically occur here? Mid-level westerly winds crossing higher terrain subsides and warms when it comes down the leeward side of mountains This often leads to the formation of a cyclone in a process called lee cyclogenesis. The taller the mountains the stronger the cyclone tends to be and guess where the highest mean elevation in the lower 48 are located. A lee cyclone often sets the stage for stormy weather In several other fascinating ways The topography of Colorado can enhance thunderstorm and tornado development Thunderstorms tend to get an earlier start in Colorado as moisture-rich air runs into mountains and is forced up Once upslope storms develop they tend to take their sweet time organizing into supercells… if they do it all In the right environment these storms can organize into supercells as mean as any. Smaller-scale terrain features like the Palmer Ridge also help the Rockies channel winds into localized swirls and zones of convergence. When a Denver cyclone And/or a DCVZ forms during unstable conditions the chance of a tornado increases significantly But generally these are weaker non mesocyclonic tornadoes more commonly known as landspouts. Landspouts lean toward the weaker side of the EF scale. Still, not a good time to get caught in the outhouse When forecasting tornadoes around Dallas or Oklahoma City, I generally like to see dew points in the 60s or higher. anything lower than that I call dew dew points But pressure is critical when considering dew points. as terrain gets higher in elevation. The air gets thinner right? The pressure drops. So a dew dew point of 52 in Dallas doesn’t mean the same thing around Denver Chasers no and forecasting tomatoes in Colorado dew points in the 50s often gets the job done Since 1950 to date there have only been three formalities from Colorado tomatoes. One reason, in case you haven’t noticed Eastern Colorado isn’t exactly a teeming metropolis Music: “Tumbling Tumbleweed” But you have to admit it has a certain charm Look out! Come on Move em on. Cut em out. Ride em in. You guys are almost as bad as the storm chasers Road conditions here can get sloppy fast and options can get slim How deep is that mud? I often find myself chasing through parts, I’m not exactly sure I’ve long in. What’s going on ducks? Man these roads have killed me again Positioning underneath a mesocyclone to get up close dramatic footage can be more difficult out here But the closer shot isn’t always the best shot Would you rather be watching this tomato from here? or Here? Once you understand Lee cyclogenesis the upslope regime and many of the mesoscale features that can enhance lift Convergence and vorticity, you’ll understand these colorado tomatoes aren’t magic at all. Just physics. Forecasting the colocation of these features far enough in advance to have time to drive across the country and chase them in the first place Can be a challenge and often boils down to a coin toss Like so many other things in life if you lose the coin toss you just gotta flip again keep on flipping Try not to flip out ‘Til next time friends, Happy Trails! Music: “Crossed the Line” Southern Backtones