National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


On June 23, 2023, a volatile atmosphere developed across the eastern plains of southern Colorado. Increasing southwesterly flow with an imbedded short wave would pass over the region. This allowed for a mass flux of air to the NNW, which pulled upper 60°F to near 70°F dewpoints into the area. These conditions allowed for an increase in environmental factors, such as shear and CAPE, that would become highly supportive of intense severe storms. During the afternoon, a tight dryline materialized across the eastern plains; this would become the initiation point of the Prowers County Supercell. In addition to that, robust orographic forcing was taking place across the Raton Mesa area; this would become the initiation point for the Baca County Supercell. As both storms moved east, they encountered the much more favorable air across the far eastern plains area. With the isolated nature to the storms, they quickly took advantage of the environment and became supercellular. Both storms would go on to produce large hail and photogenic, but damaging, tornadoes. 

Structured supercell with tornado underneath from Prowers County. Photo By: Taylor Wright
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