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Storm Chase 2018

  

May 25 - Heading Home

Hello from the I-70 in Missouri!

The 2018 chase trip is over... in the U.S. anyway. It was a tough chase trip and we knew it would be. Today we're going to make it as far east (close to home) as we can then finish the rest of the trip tomorrow. I'll update trip stats tomorrow once we're home.

May 24 - Storms in NW Kansas

Hello from Salina, Kansas (again)!

Another (kinda) unsuccessful chase day - as in no tornadoes. We started the day off in North Platte, Nebraska and hung out for the morning at the beautiful, brand new hotel we stayed at looking over weather data. We had lunch at a great Mexican joint then headed south into Kansas. We got to the Colby, KS area as storms fired up. 

The storms were going up quick but unfortunatley they just could not stay isolated enough to become 'tornadic'. They formed into a big line so the risk of tornadoes was minimal. We did get rapid rotation underneath a 'bookend vortex' and a bit of a funnel but it quickly dissipated. We headed east as the storms formed one big squall line with an epic shelf cloud and a great lightning show.

We kept moving east, stopping for pictures, then the storm got close, we moved east, and continued this pattern until we got to Salina for the evening. 

This was likely our last chase day. There are some prospects in Iowa tomorrow but we'll leave that decision for the morning.

May 23 - Storms in Colorado and Nebraska

Hello from North Platte, Nebraska!

Another frustrating chase day... We stared off in Raton, NM heading north to northeast Colorado as a target. The drive was interesting to say the least! We came across deer, elk, antelope, and even a bear (unfortunately it was roadkill).

We made it to Wiggins, CO and watched a decent looking storm die. That was the mode of the day: storm goes up, looks good, dies. We chased in Nebraska and though the storm ended up weakening, we got some great photos at sunset.

Probably the most frustrating part of the whole day? There was a tornado... Where was the tornado? Just east of Roswell, NM. Where did we spend the last two days before heading north? Roswell, NM. Not the first time this has happened to a chaser and won’t be the last!

We played race-the-storms back to North Platte and are spending the evening here. Tomorrow will likely be our last (if not second last) chase day of the trip.

May 22 - Storms and Aliens in New Mexico

Hello from Raton, New Mexico!

 Today was a fun day! No tornadoes but it was filled with fun touristy stuff and great looking storms.

Since our target was just outside Roswell, we decided to visit the UFO museum in town which was super fun. We had lunch at an awesome Mexican restaurant then realized a storm was going up to our west. Needless to say we scarfed down our food and took off west. We didn’t head too far west out of Roswell, only until we had a good view of the storm from high terrain.

With the great view, we watch the storm develop and organize and eventually produce a solid wall cloud. Unfortunately it just couldn’t get its act together and produce a tornado. Another storm formed and followed the same storyline as the previous. This one moved a bit further northeast than the previous so we repositioned northwest of the town and had an incredible view.

The storm didn’t produce a tornado but, boy, was it a beautiful LP (low precipitation) supercell, backlit by the slowly setting sun. We watched and filmed the storm until it dissipated.

We made a lot of headway north as tomorrow’s target is quite a ways north (Nebraska-Colorado border, perhaps further). The drive sucked as the area we drove through was desolate and heavily populated with elk, deer, and coyotes.

 

May 21 - Chasin' in the Mountains

Hello from Roswell, New Mexico!

Here's to new experiences... We started the morning off in Amarillo, TX and made our way south and west toward areas west of Roswell, NM. Of course, I was a little (a lot) excited about all the alien stuff! Though, we're here to chase storms so most of my "encounters" were while in a moving vehicle though maybe we'll have more encounters tonight.

We headed west out of Roswell toward Ruidoso along the 70. Once you get west of Roswell, all of a sudden, mountains (toward the Sierra Blanca). They are beautiful but horrible to chase. We wound into the mountains until we reached Ruidoso where a local gave us a tip on a great lookout from one of the mountain tops. We climbed our way up the mountain toward the lookout where we had a great view to the north. We sat there for hours watching towers go up, drop some small hail on us, then pass. We also saw an elk... 

Things started to look like they weren't going to come together so we decided to head back toward Roswell where we'd be spending the night. We got back to Roswell, put our names in at a restaurant for a table, when Matt looked at the radar and said, "Uh, there's a good looking storm right where we were!" After some deliberation, we decided to head back to where we came from to see the storm. 

As we approached, it looked okay but not super impressive. Instead of continuing on the 70 toward Ruidoso, we broke off on the 380. We rounded the bend and there was the storm producing a wall cloud! We had a great view of the wall cloud between two mountain peaks but had to readjust as it moved behind a mountain peak. We repositioned and watch the wall cloud for a while. It was certainly trying but couldn't get it together. 

We decided to head back east toward Roswell but stop partway to do some lightning photography. We were treated to a great lightning show and even another wall cloud as the storm tried again! All-in-all, we got to have a new experience chasing in the mountains (not recommended) and got some great lightning shots out of it.

We're trying to decide our move for tomorrow. This area could be active again, or a bit farther north, but then we need to haul all the way up to the Colorado/Nebraska border.