Monday, May 25, 2015

Capped Day = Bust Day

Day 6: Sunday, May 24, 2015
Chase Day in the southern part of the Texas Panhandle
Beginning City: Guymon, Oklahoma
Ending City: Childress, Texas
Total Miles Traveled: 272 for the day, 3292 for the trip

Written by Megan Matheus and Grant Bastian

Everything looked favorable in the Panhandle of Texas this morning, as the models showed lots of CAPE and wind shear. A beautiful dryline extended through southern Texas and continued to southern Colorado with a surge in the panhandle of Texas.  There were a few pockets of CIN* in the area, but none where the CAPE and dryline were over lapping. The simulated radar showed a few isolated cells, which we haven't seen all trip. Our target area to start the day was between the cities of Panhandle and Shamrock, Texas.

As the day progressed, we started to see some clouds trying to develop just south of Claude, Texas. These developing clouds early in the day gave us hope that the cap* would break and we would get to catch some severe storms giving the large amounts of CAPE and shear present in the area. While the mesoanalysis still wasn’t showing any CIN in the area, we watched cloud after cloud try to break the cap and inevitably fall apart. As we were watching this, the dryline passed right over us so we decided to go east to try to get ahead of it. After we crossed back over, none of the clouds looked like they were going to hold together, so we called it a night in Childress, Texas to try to put us in good position for the following day.

*Convective inhibition (CIN) and cap is an area that suppresses convection. We want a small amount of CIN (or small cap) in place so that the heat and moisture can build up in the lower levels. Once the cap breaks that heat and moisture expand into the upper atmosphere and create thunderstorms.

The video below is 18 minutes of footage compressed into 30 seconds showing one of the clouds that looked promising but did not break the cap and was sheared off.

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