Saturday 1 June 2019

Day 9 - Eastern New Mexico

SPC Convective Outlook
SPC Tornado Risk

Morning surface analysis
At long last it was time to escape SW Texas - the area has changed quite a bit since I was last down here a couple of years ago. Oil is a big thing, and the volume of tankers, oil fields, roadworks (to make the roads wider for tankers) and new electricity pylons is astonishing. They've even erected some makeshift towns, primarily out of caravans and mobile homes, for all the oil workers to live in. This is not ideal chasing territory.

I digress; instead we headed north into New Mexico, ate some lunch in Carlsbad (NM) and dropped north to Artesia (NM) then west to Hope (NM) to watch a couple of developing supercells to our south and west. The interesting thing about today was how each storm appeared to be moving in different directions to each other - a whole plethora of left- and right-moving supercells, crossing in front of each other, pulsing up and down. While we were watching one to our southwest, a left-mover rapidly approached us from the south - to the point that we had to make a quick escape to avoid it's hail core!
Storm approaching from the south, near Hope (NM)
Making a quick escape as the storm rapidly approaches us! Hope (NM)
Surrounded by storms! Our GPS location (blue circle)
We parked up west of Lovington (NM) for several hours and watched several supercells pass us by, in all directions. As the sun began to set a left-moving supercell to our west, then north, intensified quite a bit and for a time became tornado-warned. The base looked pretty high, but I saw a report from another chaser on the other side of the storm that there may have been an anticyclonic funnel extending 2/3 of the way down to the ground. We then followed these storms north from Lovington to our hotel for the night in Clovis (NM).

Convection and a rainbow west of Lovington (NM)
Supercell to the west of Lovington (NM)

A 'trollando' - rain shaft associated with this left-mover supercell, which later became tornado-warned...
Our GPS location (blue circle) in relation to the tornado-warned left-mover supercell
Sun sets on another day chasing in the U.S. Plains - Lovington (NM)
Sun sets on another day chasing in the U.S. Plains - Lovington (NM)
Just too much excitement for some people...
All in all, not a bad chase day - though a little bit more flow aloft may help these storms maintain their structure a bit more. The pattern is rather weak and faffy at the moment, and unlikely to change a great deal for the remainder of the trip. It may become more active in the northern Plains late next week (Wyoming, Dakotas, Montana etc) but we'll be back in the UK by then...

GPS Tracker

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