Thursday, June 12, 2014

6/10/2014 Wyoming Wildscape

I spent my birthday roaming around WY/SD in search of convection in a beautiful part of our country.  Luckily, we were served storms near Devils Tower that strengthened at dusk into severe storms near Belle Fourche, SD.  The first two pictures below were taken along the scenic WY HWY 14 just east of Devils Tower.  It was a lush green landscape full of deer roaming the fields!  The final picture is of a severe storm along HWY 212 in South Dakota, just east of Belle Fourche.  A great day with great friends!

MISC:  Overnight in Stugis, SD with FRIED food.

Wyoming Wildscape

Severe storm just east of Belle Fourche, SD

Monday, June 9, 2014

6/8/2014 Roswell to Carlsbad, NM Supercell

Walker and I targeted eastern NM again in hopes of a repeat of Saturday's structure feast.  Mid/low clouds associated with overnight convection again muddied up our original target area in northeast NM.  By lunch, we made the decision to head south out of Vaughn, NM toward cumulus development west of Roswell.  We shot west out of Roswell, intercepting the storm a few miles down the road on HWY 70.  Through the haze, we could make out a distinct lowering and several occlusions of the mid/low level mesocyclone.  We stayed ahead of this giant ice-machine of a supercell (had a TBSS nearly all of its life cycle) before taking shelter under a car port west of Loving, NM.  Unfortunately, the largest hail we could find was quarter size, despite several reports of much larger hail just near us.  We let the convection push to our east and enjoyed the nice sunset lit towers, the moon dangling like a jewel in the sky, and frequent zit lightning.  Another awesome day in the high plains, completing my second 2014 high plains hat trick. Overnighted in Roswell, NM.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

6/7/2014 Roswell, NM UFO

We successfully found a spaceship UFO north of Roswell, NM on Saturday!  2014 has been the year of structure (and few tornadoes), but this supercell takes the cake so far.  We awoke in the Canyon, TX HIE to cinny rolls (yum!) and a worked-over atmosphere from the previous day.  Our original target near Las Vegas, NM was socked in with low-clouds so staying put in Canyon until after lunch seemed to be the best idea until the picture became clearer.  Hi-res model guidance suggested two target areas (one near Roswell, NM; the other near Plainview, TX).  After lunch at Fat Boy's BBQ in Canyon (great food and price!), Walker and I opted for the Roswell play, hoping for more isolated storms and better photography opportunities.

While ferrying west toward our target area, some towering cumulus began to develop near Fort Sumner (first storm in the timelapse below).  We gassed up in Fort Sumner, NM and headed toward Yeso, NM. After finding a nice vantage point, we watched the Fort Sumner storm shrivel and set sights on new developing mountain convection northwest of Roswell.

Then came the UFO. A spaceship? Mothership?  Something out of this world, that's for sure.

We found a 'neat' abandon structure just northeast of Roswell that provided some cool foreground shots of the approaching mothership. We enjoyed this storm the rest of the evening, taking in the scenery and watching lightning and listening to the distant hail roar. Another LP supercell to its immediate northwest provided the perfect 'cherry on top' after sunset.

Make sure to watch the timelapse below in high definition!

MISC:  Ran into Roger and Elke Edwards in the Roswell Applebee's. Overnighted in Roswell, NM.

Walker and Scott discussing targets and road options
Barber pole updraft northwest of Roswell, NM

Structure fest at sunset!

A couple of artistic shots...

CG bolt! 
Time lapse of the Fort Sumner and Roswell supercells

6/6/2014 Colfax County, NM Tornado

Friday featured more upslope storms, this time initiating off of the Raton Mesa and the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  We targeted Clayton, NM, as an outflow boundary from previous convection appeared to be the best game in town for rotating storms. After nearing Boise City, OK, a tornado watch was issued for our area.

We pushed west of Clayton toward developing convection near the residual outflow which was quickly developing supercell characteristics.  What happened next was rather strange.  Walker and I were fumbling around cancelling our hotel rooms and watching RADAR while keeping tabs on the Colfax county storm.  The storm was rather uninteresting during its early lifecycle.  Then, Walker glanced up at our storm and noticed a tornado!

Walker: "Uh, I think that's a tornado?"

Me:  (with little hesitation)  "Yep."

Both of us:  "Woah!"

Favorable vorticity interaction on the storm scale must have lead to tornadogenesis in this case as the surface temperatures were very chilly. The 'one and done' storm began to congeal into a mesoscale convective system as we dropped south to new convection.  Everything was getting rather messy at this point, so we decided to let the storms push east as we took pictures from the crisp, post-storm, air.  A great high plains day!

MISC:  Now chasing with Walker.  Met up with Scott Blair.  Overnighted in Canyon, TX.

Elevated convection in SW Kansas on our drive toward Clayton, NM

Oh hey, there's a TORNADO over there!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

5/27/2014 Norfolk, CO Rainbow

One of my best pictures from the COD trip came during a travel day!  We ran into this gem near Norfolk, CO, and had to stop the van to take a picture.  Interestingly, this picture went viral and was picked up by Good Morning America, The Weather Channel, and The Washington Post. Never know what kind of magic the High Plains will produce! 

5/26/2014 Garden City, TX Supercell

Chasing with COD Trip 3, we left Hobbs, NM, with an initial target near the Fort Stockton, TX area.  We once again dealt with an HP supercell (argh!) near the Garden City, TX area.  Several chasers again clogged the road as only 2 storms approached or surpassed severe limits.  We saw a few brief gustnadoes and one brief tornado as RFD surged across the road behind us.  The chase was a little hectic at first, but we quickly got out ahead of the Garden City storm and watched the massive HP storm from a distance.  Overnighted in Lubbock, TX.


This beauty was fun to watch!

Excellent sunset on the way back to LBB.