June 13th took us to the northern Texas Panhandle for supercells. By mid afternoon, storms for along the TX/OK panhandle border area near Boise City, OK. These storms moved slowly southeast and became supercells. Hail and high winds were the common theme with these storms, then southwest of Guymon, OK one became tornado warned. It didn’t produce but certainly tried as a funnel descended halfway to the ground. Never could confirm if it touched down or not. As the storm moved further southeast towards Stratford it did produce a small cone for a couple minutes. We were blocked by the police from getting close, so we had to drop south and east to get ahead of it. It was constantly tornado warned but had that outflow dominant look to it. We eventually stayed ahead of it to McLean, Texas and let it pass overhead. It produced giant hail 5 inches in diameter, and you’ll see in the pics just how huge it was! Fun day, but wow there were some fake tornado reports!
July 12th featured extreme instability and great shear, however a very strong capping inversion would be the main issue to overcome. An outflow boundary from previous nights storms lay east/west near Brady, Texas. Towers kept trying to initiate along the boundary late afternoon with no success. Finally a cluster of updrafts formed along the surface triple point and a supercell was born. This storm spun hard, and had a great hook on radar. Visually you could see the rotation and the storm became incredibly electrified! West of Brady it became tornado warned. It never had a serious tornado threat due to weak low level rotation, but nonetheless it was quite pretty. It slowly drifted east and eventually weakened as a second storm formed and also became supercellular. As the sun set, the colors cast from the supercell updraft were absolutely gorgeous! Enjoy the pics!
May 11th had a lot going for it. Good upslope flow into the Raton Mesa, decent moisture and instability and great wind shear would set the stage for supercells this day. Storms formed early afternoon and became tornado warned. We blasted west from the Oklahoma panhandle into the mesa in time to watch a supercell get very interesting. Couldn’t confirm any tornadic activity, but it certainly looked like it had potential. This storm also produced baseball sized hail and high winds. It was a treat to photograph and watch spin across the mesa into the Oklahoma/Texas panhandle. Fun day for all the guests who witnessed this beauty! Enjoy the pics!
With a poor weather pattern forecast, we went to where the best combination of shear, moisture and instability were forecast, near the Davis Mountains of southwest Texas. Storms formed mid afternoon and intensified, with a supercell forming near Marathon, Texas and drifting southeast. It had good structure and was producing numerous cg strikes. As it moved towards Mexico, more storms formed west of town and also produced a lot of lightning. We encountered golfball sized hail and plenty of wind with the initial supercell!
What a day! May 24th looked great in the models, and in real time, it was amazing!! Violent supercell thunderstorms congealed into one monster that dropped from Tucumcari, New Mexico southward to Clovis over a several hour period. Insane lightning and incredible storm structure persisted its entire life cycle. It also produced a few tornadoes, of which we caught a couple of them. During the early evening hours, as the storm approached Clovis, the inflow into this supercell was over 60 mph! Just showed the power of this HP storm! As it moved into far west Texas at dusk, the structure was constantly illuminated by incredible lightning. One of the most powerful supercells of 2023 to date, and it was a sight to behold! Enjoy the pics!
May 23rd brought great wind shear, but marginal moisture. Several supercells formed along the TX/NM border east of Clovis, NM. One high based storm took on the classic spaceship appearance and was visibly rotating. A little nubby funnel formed and even touched down briefly (confirmed by the NWS). It was quite pretty and also produced a lot of lightning strikes. As it moved east it became less intense so we blasted to a boundary southeast of Plainview, TX. This storm tried to produce, but low level shear was just too weak. It had great structure as well and spun hard for a couple hours before weakening. A great day with the environment we had! Enjoy the pics!
May 22nd brought decent moisture, good instability, a Texas dryline and moderate shear. By early afternoon, cumulus towers were forming along the dryline from Amarillo south to Lubbock. A bulge in the dryline was evident around Tulia and that’s where we intercepted our first supercell. It only took about an hour for the storm to really get organized and quickly a small funnel cloud formed. It persisted for a couple minutes. A blocky wall cloud formed and started rotating. However, it was quickly undercut as a new cell formed to the southwest. As the storm weakened another supercell formed northwest of Lubbock. We headed south for that one as a ragged wall cloud formed. As the storm moved east, it encountered higher temperatures and lower dewpoints which caused the storm to become high based, thus lessoning the chance of it producing a tornado. It did produce a high based funnel near Crosbyton and also produced hail golfball sized. Soon after, it weakened coming off the caprock and the chase was ended.
May 18th featured a short wave trough moving into the Texas panhandle. It also had a dryline extending along I-27 south and north of Amarillo. Storms started forming mid afternoon along the dryline. Although they couldn’s sustain themselves and eventually died off, they did produce some severe weather. Late afternoon a cluster of storms formed northwest of Amarillo. Due to weaker wind shear, we hoped something would emerge from the cluster due to storm interactions. It certainly did! A supercell emerged west of Chunky, TX and drifted slowly east. It tried to produce a tornado a few times, and was tornado warned. It could never keep a rotation couplet tight enough to produce one. The storm produced baseball sized hail and had very pretty structure. Whenever you get that stack of plates look, you know it is a special storm! Moving very slowly east, it kept it’s intensity for several hours before finally decaying mid evening. A great day and a fun chase! Enjoy the pics!
May 5th brought deep moisture into central Texas, along with moderate instability and decent wind shear. Storms formed west of Hamilton and moved southeast. One storm right turned as it started spinning and moved all the way to the north side of Austin before weakening. It had good structure, monster sized hail and was very electrified. It produced stunning mammatus clouds as well. The rotation buried well back in the core was very strong, and it may have produced a tornado that would have been not visible due to the heavy precipitation. Nonetheless, it was a treat to watch and enjoy!
May 4th was a strange day. A decent threat of severe storms and low end tornado potential existed. High based storms formed off the caprock by mid afternoon and moved east. Bases never lowered. Another couple of storms, eventually supercells, formed along a boundary a bit further east southwest of Crowell, TX. Within a few minutes a lowering formed and exhibited some rotation. As the storm moved east, a line of storms formed in front of it, thus limiting the quality of inflow air into the supercell. It caused it to slowly weaken over time. The storm produced baseball sized hail, high winds and was tornado warned for a couple of hours. It showed a fantastic hook echo on radar, but it just couldn’t sustain with cold inflow from storms ahead of it.