Loche, the Smoke Monster
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It took a lot to get to this storm. My team and I had to cut through two other storms, one so severe that we could not see in front of our vehicle, as the roadways beside us turned into rivers. This was what chasers call a "core punch" going through the heaviest part of a supercell downburst, which can at times be mingled with large hail. Lucky for us, the hail did not arrive, and after about 45 minutes of traveling through white knuckled, tension filled driving we were met by a mass of unstable air. We continued driving for some time chasing after a wall of rotation on our radar, and then suddenly, we saw something that looked like the sky meeting the ground. This slow moving beast was lit green at the start, and as time went on turned a teal color and finally at the end a royal blue. The blue in the cloud mass is being caused by large hail in the core being kept aloft by warm updrafts. The radar was saying that the hail was somewhere around 3" in diameter. We met someone the next day who was under the core of this shelf cloud. His window of the car he was driving was obliterated.The shelf cloud you see here had a rotation signature on it. Probably right where you see that dark bump near the front. We carefully monitored this storm, and scooted out of the way as it started to overtake us. It was a rich reward for a lot of chance taking and nerve wracking moments.
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