The first day of June took us towards far southeast New Mexico. A couple supercells developed along the dryline west of Jal and drifted eastward, becoming quite prolific hailstorms. The storm’s structure was very nice and it had a wall cloud throughout it’s life cycle. However, low level rotation was lacking. The cell was an amazing lightning machine producing numerous cgs every minute. As it moved southeast, other storms for and soon a cluster of high based severe storms rolled into southwest Texas. We went to our hotel in Midland and watched as the storm approached from the northwest, with tons of blowing dirt, lightning and hail.
One of the most exciting days of 2022 so far occurred on May 4th. A dryline/triple point was located west of Paducah, Texas as moisture streamed northward. Great shear was also present. By mid afternoon a supercell formed and quickly became severe. It would be the storm of the day and produce several tornadoes. We tried to stay in front of it, but an error in the road map wreaked havoc for us. Maps showed a paved road that would have taken us right in front of the supercell towards Crowell and eventually Lockett, however it became dirt and was blocked off by a rancher with no trespassing signs, which of course we obeyed. This made us have to back track 20 miles on muddy and wet roads through huge hail and then blast east towards Crowell where we would have gone south to get right in front of the tornadic supercell. Due to losing 40 minutes on the map error, we could not go south as the storm was already crossing the road. Instead we went east then south but by that time the 5 minute tornado was gone. We continued east and then back north at Seymour to get in front of the supercell. It was now becoming dark as lightning constantly lit up the updraft. South of Vernon we stopped to watch the storm as a truncated cone tornado formed and crossed the road in the night directly in front of us. Then numerous power flashes were observed just northwest of us and lightning lit up a wedge tornado that hit the town of Lockett. We watched as this monster EF3 tornado roared across in the darkness, only lit by lightning and power flashes. It eventually dissipated as the storm weakened. Crazy day, and one stroke of bad luck due to a error in mapping software kept us from a pretty tornado. However, we still witnessed 4 others! Enjoy the pics!
May 31st took us to the Davis Mountains of southwest Texas. Good upslope flow, along with ample moisture and instability, would provide the needed ingredients to get tornadic storms to form. Good low level wind shear caused this supercell to spin like a top, and as it moved off the mountains into the nearby terrain, it produced 3 tornadoes that we could see. The road network is very poor in this part of Texas, so you had to position yourself where you could see what was happening. Most of the time we were at least 10 miles away from the tornadoes because of this. Nonetheless, it was a spectacular sight to watch this storm roll across southwest Texas. Enjoy the pics!
What do storm chasers and cattle rustlers have in common? Well, we found out this day and it almost cost us a pretty tornado! Seems the locals didn’t know that we were storm chasers and called the county sheriff to report us as suspicious parties and potential cattle rustlers? WHAT???? Seriously! We were pulled over by the sheriff and local police and asked who we were and that we were potential cattle thieves. After proving who we were with the sheriff, who also asked for a business card, we were turned loose and blasted west to this tornadic supercell. We ended up 10 miles away from the tornado as we lost 25 minutes with our cattle rustler situation, but we still captured the beauty of the event! Storms initially formed as high based and disorganized, but a feed of moisture arrived just in time to cause this storm to explode. It also spun quickly and dropped a nice elephant trunk shaped tornado. The storm structure was top notch as this LP supercell churned on through the evening. A great treat, an interesting day to say the least, left our guests with stories to tell LOL!!! Enjoy the pics!
April 23rd kicked off our storm chasing tour season and what a way to start! After leaving Oklahoma City at noon, my target was the triple point somewhere near Childress, Texas. Mid afternoon, updrafts formed and quickly became severe and tornado warned. It tried on the first tornado warning to produce one, but shear just wasn’t quite right yet. Decent moisture for late April with mid 60s dewpoints, as well as 3000 CAPE was sufficient to get intense supercells to fire. I had a hunch this storm would be special
and we stuck with it the rest of the day.
Between the bluebonnets in full bloom and the developing supercell, it made for an amazing scene. Soon, though, we we treated to an even more spectacular view, as our supercell latched onto the boundary and the low level jet cranked up causing it to produce 6 tornadoes in a little over an hour, while drifting very slowly eastward! A few of these, in the photos below were incredibly photogenic!! An amazing way to start Tour #1 and our season off! Please enjoy the images!!!!
Here are two cool videos form this day too!
May 11th brought about a boundary that stretched from northeast New Mexico, southeastward across the Texas panhandle north of Lubbock. Moisture initially wasn’t high quality, although shear and lift were very good. Storms first went up southwest of Lubbock, followed by more storms northwest of Lubbock along the boundary. One storm rode the boundary, and started to get very organized. This supercell eventually merged with another cluster of storms. It later emerged from the line of storms and become a stunning supercell, with very strong rotation on the eastern side of the storm. We watched this entire sequence of developments, amazed at this storm’s ability to push through other weaker cells and emerge as the most intense cell of the day. It also became extremely photogenic as it marched southeast toward the north side of Lubbock. Producing huge hail and very strong winds, it pushed across town and eventually weakened. Enjoy the photos! Please click on an image to see a larger photo.
May 7th brought our first chase of the season. Tours began and we hit the road for the triple point near Childress, Texas. By late afternoon, a storm formed on the boundary and moved southeast while intensifying. As it moved east of Childress, it produced very large hail over baseball sized and had incredible structure. It was never a threat to become tornadic, as the base was a tad too high. We stayed with this supercell to the northwest side of the DFW metroplex when we let it go as to not take a chance chasing in a huge city. Please click on an image below to see a larger photo. Enjoy!
Sometimes, you just don’t care if a storm produces a tornado. It can be that pretty. Dryline supercell thunderstorms can be quite pretty, although they are often higher based. This day would give us just that. We had a high based supercell that formed along the Texas/New Mexico border and drifted slowly southeast towards Muleshoe, Texas. It spun like crazy. There was plenty of shear and instability this day and with the active dryline closeby we were hoping for a pretty storm. Active for several hours, this supercell produced incredible lightning, some of the best of 2019 to date and had nice structure.
Other storms would form later in the day and especially during the early evening as the cap was breached. Many of these storms were very electrified and intense, often being warned for large hail and damaging winds. A couple storms would become tornado warned, however no tornadoes occurred this day in our area. All in all, a fun day with a great storm and superb lightning!
June 16th featured strong instability, good moisture and moderate deep layer shear. An old outflow boundary across the I-20 area west of Abilene would be the focal point for severe and tornado warned storms this day. We started the day in Denver and left very early to reach our target by initiation time. We made it with little time to spare! Storms rapidly developed and intensified along the southward sagging boundary. We headed south from Sterling City and got in front of a beautifully structured and tornado warned supercell! This storm was quite pretty, had a rotating wall cloud and incredible lightning. It spun southward for hours giving us a treat to watch.
Eventually near dark, the storm weakened, but not before giving us one last great lightning show! Over an 800 mile day, but worth it! Just goes to show we’ll go anywhere we need to so we can get our guests the best storms around!
A crazy day ensued as a cluster of high based storms formed in New Mexico and tracked east into west Texas. As the storms approached the Lubbock area a very well formed haboob occurred, with a wall of dust/dirt scouring the landscapes. Haboobs can be very photogenic and this one was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed in 35 years of chasing in the Texas panhandle! High winds, large hail and that wall of dirt occurred within this line of cells as they raced across Texas. An exciting day on a day when we weren’t expecting anything significant! Enjoy the cool pics!