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!
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 13th showed significant moisture and instability along a warm front and outflow boundary from previous days’ convection. The boundaries met and formed a triple point southwest of Des Moines, Iowa. Storms fired very early by 1pm and became tornado warned. Nothing significant formed but we stayed with them. Several false reports of multivortex tornadoes occurred, which has been the case all spring. The old philosophy of if you aren’t sure it’s a tornado, it is not one should be taken by many storm chasers! Numerous tornado warnings were issued, and the monster supercell spun like crazy. It eventually weakened as it moved east off the boundary. Another supercell formed southwest of Pleasantville and produce at least 3 tornadoes that we witnessed. A multivortex, an elephant trunk and then another multivortex that was less than a quarter mile from us! The motion was incredible right over the vans as this tornadic storm drifted northeast and produced. An overall exciting day that the guests loved! Enjoy the pics!!!!
A great set up on May 12th took us to an arching boundary across central and eastern Nebraska. Early day storms produced weak tornadoes over north central Nebraska, but since our target was further east, we decided to wait it out for what we hoped were more violent storms. The wait paid off and numerous storms formed, almost all tornado warned, from northwest of York to north of Lincoln. One particular storm became violently tornado near Scribner, NE as we watched it produced a large partially rain wrapped wedge, then another elephant trunk shaped tornado in front of it. The wedge was rated EF-2 and the elephant trunk EF-1 as they hit a few structures, but fortunately nobody was killed. It was a murky day with a lot of low level moisture in place so apologies for the murky looking photos! Enjoy!
Great potential on May 11th!! Good moisture and instability would occur, as well as lift along a dryline, would result in several tornado warned supercells and one that produced a couple of night time tornadoes near Noble, OK. We chased south of the OKC area early as a supercell formed. It eventually died off as it ingested dry air. However, north of that several storms went up and spun, becoming tornado warned. One storm took us towards Lindsay, OK and attempted to drop a tornado. The funnel came halfway down and receded. Structure was very pretty as the supercells became very well organized. In a weird ending, one of the first storms we chased dropped the tornadoes. This storm was in the middle of a line of supercells, which typically is unusual. Almost always chase the tail end storm that has no competition for air, but this was not the case today! Enjoy the pics!