Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day #4 (Chase day): May 23, 2013
Starting Point: Childress, Texas
Ending Point: Amarillo, Texas
Mileage Traveled: 533 (Trip Total: 1923)

We started our day out in Childress, Texas. We had our morning weather briefing and came up with a target area of Plainview, Texas. We chose this area for a few different reasons: (1) a dry line was out in Arizona and was slowing moving toward the east, (2) there was a stationary front that was located in Oklahoma, and (3) there was an outflow boundary that was coming off of storms in Oklahoma.  These boundaries looked to converge in the panhandle of Texas and narrowed down our target area.  We then looked at CAPE values which were around 4000 j/kg allowing for an unstable atmosphere and good conditions for supercell activity.  We choose the area of Plainview, Texas as our target area for this day. We left Childress at 9:45 a.m. to head to Plainview, a drive of an hour and forty-five minutes. 

Once we got to Plainview, we got lunch and then headed to a rest stop to do a check on conditions and see where the dry line was along with the outflow boundary from the storm in Oklahoma. On our way to the rest stop, we saw a Fire Rainbow forming (picture below by Andy Courtney).


As we stopped at the rest stop, we noticed that the outflow boundary was starting to approach from the east.  We began seeing the development of a supercell (picture below by Jake Christensen).

We then looked to find a road network to follow and began approaching the developing storm. As we got closer to the storm we saw it strengthen and a tornado warning was issued for this particular supercell (photo of students watching the developing storm by John Frye).
We started getting into good position to view the supercell and possibly any rotation.  The winds started to really pick up from the outflow of the supercell, this lead to a dust being picked up and being blown all over creating visibility to less than a quarter of a mile in some locations (blowing dust from storm outflow by Andy Courtney).

This made it difficult to see any storm structure. We tried to stay ahead of the storm but were moving into an area with limited quality roads. We finally broke off the chase near Post, Texas (van covered in dust by Bryan McConnell).

We headed back towards the Lubbock, Texas area to reevaluate the conditions and determine if there were more storms to chase. After getting to Lubbock we decided to head north towards Amarillo for some possible development in the evening. No more storms developed during the daylight hours so we stopped the chase for the day and ended in Amarillo for the night.
Lastly, here is a 2 minute video clip showing some of the day's activities.

Friday, May 24 we will be heading towards the southwestern Nebraska area. Thank you for reading the blog and we will keep posting.

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