Friday 29 May 2015

Day 3 - Northeastern New Mexico

FRI 29 MAY 2015

Left Dalhart (TX) after a refuel and some lunch, and headed west to dip our toe across the border into New Mexico. A couple of storms had already fired by early afternoon, one 70 miles to our north west, the other some 50 miles to our south west. After some deliberation, we committed to the northern cell (quite often you'd chose the southernmost cell, but preferred the look of the northern cell and it had some reasonable distance between it and the next one to keep a fairly strong inflow).

iPhone pano of the storm over Kiowa National Grassland
Roads are quite limited in New Mexico, with long stretches of road before you can turn off and change direction. Mobile internet coverage is also rather non-existent away from the far east of NM, and so we were chasing with no fresh data for over 2 hours. Nonetheless, our cell split into two at one point and cycled between being very outflow dominant to producing some nice tight circulating mesocyclones at times with attempts to produce a lowering wall cloud. There were some nice hail/rain curtains at times also.

Storm visible from south of Gladstone (NM), looking north
Visible to the northeast of Roy (NM)
Significant hail curtain now developing northeast of Roy (NM)

We chased this storm rather erratically southwards, knowing that most other storms had already formed a fairly coherent line to our east, and to get to Amarillo (TX) we would need to drive through these storms to get to the other side. Luckily most of these were not severe, and so the car received a good wash from the heavy rain, with quite a bit of frequent lightning as we drove back along I-40 west of Amarillo (TX). Frustratingly some 100 miles farther south, one of the storms on the leading edge of this line produced a stunning short-lived (4 minutes) tornado from a very high base on the TX/NM border west of Levelland (TX).

Now spending yet another night in Amarillo (TX), and watched the line of storms come back over us with frequent lightning and heavy rain for a time this evening. Chance of some marginally severe storms perhaps in New Mexico again tomorrow, but a fairly low chance, and probably our last chance at anything decent until it restarts again but in the northern Plains early next week...

29 May 2015 GPS Tracker Route Map

2015 STORM CHASE stats thus far:
McDonald's tally: 4
Applebee's tally: 3
Distance driven: 1,103 miles
States visited: 3

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