Tuesday 9 June 2015

Day 13 - New Mexico

MON 08 JUNE 2015

As the weather starts to wind down towards the end of our trip, expectations of any significant severe thunderstorms are quite low. There was a risk of marginally-severe thunderstorms in New Mexico today, as upslope flow generated thunderstorms which then moved SEwards across the eastern Plains of NM. Main threats were hail and gusty winds.

Starting the day in Colorado Springs (CO) we headed south down I-25, grabbed some lunch in Raton (NM) and then inadvertently core-punched a slow-moving intense thunderstorm just north of Wagon Mound (NM). This storm dropped copious amounts of hail, some pieces up to 3cm in diameter, to a depth of several inches. Consequently, traffic became almost stationary, some cars had slid down the side banks while others were stranded in the middle of the carriageway, struggling to grip/move. With the temperature having fallen from 24C prior to just 7C, hail fog began to form adding difficulty to the driving. I believe after we'd passed through ploughs were then sent out to clear the hail on the road.
Thunderstorm as seen from Watrous (NM) looking ENE
Copious amounts of hail on I-25 north of Wagon Mound (NM)

Copious amounts of hail on I-25 north of Wagon Mound (NM)
We followed this storm southeastwards towards Tucumcari (NM), albeit with road options rather sparse and mobile internet signal (for radar data) non-existent in rural New Mexico. It developed a nice gust front, and continued to drop a lot of hail. Eventually we left the storm to drive to Albuquerque (NM) where we had already booked a hotel for the night, and were greeted on arrival by a nice sunset...
Sunset in Albuquerque (NM) 
08 June 2015 Route Map (GPS failed so had to do it by hand!)
2015 STORM CHASE stats thus far:
McDonald's tally: 14
Applebee's tally: 10
Distance driven: 5,842 miles
States visited: 8

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