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May 19 - Flooded Roads in Texas

Hello from Childress, Texas!

Frustrating chase day today. We started off in Midland, TX after spending the night in a great hotel. We began travelling north through Lubbock, TX toward Hale Center, TX. We met up with Bill Hark and Jason Persoff and took this awesome selfie:

Storm chaser selfie! Photo courtesy Dr. Jason Persoff.

After spending some time there, storms started to go up near the Amarillo, TX area. Both storms were looking healthy on radar so we headed for them. There were a couple of problems approaching the southern storm: 

  1. Road network wasn't that great
  2. What roads were available had a tendency to be flooded or in the process of flooding 

This area of Texas and along the Red River has received so much rain that many of the fields (crop and cattle fields) are essentially lakes now. The mosquitoes are awful due to all the standing water.

Here is an unbelievable video (from May 18) shot and edited by George Kourounis showing flash flooding mixed with hail and debris:

We finally got up to the storm and it had great structure. But to keep up with it, we had to jog south then east then north. We did so much on approach the storm had become completely wrapped in rain. The core was rapidly approaching the road we were on but the rotation was rapidly dropping off. If there was a tornado on the ground, no one could see it.

We made it to Memphis, TX and parked under an overhang to wait for the core. By the time it reached us, the core had diminished greatly and we were left with more rain.

Watching some other storms piddle around we decided to call it a night and head for Childress, TX. Again, the entire drive was avoiding water in the road. We pulled into the last open restaurant, had some dinner, and now we're in for the night. New photos added to the photo gallery here.

There were many tornado reports from Oklahoma and Texas Red River areas; not an area we were targeting today. That was where the warm front was setting up and we didn't anticipate isolated enough storms to produce tornadoes. 

Storm reports from today (May 19) via the Storm Prediction Center.

Tomorrow there's a risk for storms in southwest Texas but we're still unsure of whether or not we'll be chasing that or heading north to get into position for storms later this week. We will reassess in the morning.

The Storm Prediction Center's thunderstorm risk for tomorrow (Wednesday).