Friday, May 29, 2015

Final Chase Day

Day 12: Friday, May 29, 2015
Chase Day in East Central New Mexico
Beginning City: Amarillo, Texas
Ending City: Elk City, Oklahoma
Total Miles Traveled: 487 for the day, 5456 for the trip

Written by Maggie Paucek and Jacob Strohm

This morning, we were expecting the storms to initiate in the evening, so there was no hurry to get going. We waited in Amarillo for the updated convective outlook to come out at 11:30, and saw the region favorable for tornadoes had shifted slightly west. With that, our team headed to Clovis, New Mexico for lunch and another update on the conditions. While in Clovis, we could see storms were already beginning to develop north of us. Some quickly became warned for severe winds and hail. We decided we should go north to catch those cells since they were already there. 

We stopped in the Tucumcari, NM area to take pictures of the cell developing to the west. We started at an outlook over the area that gave us a good distant view then relocated ourselves ahead 0f the storm and slightly closer and to the southeast of it. The cell had a bit of broad rotation and was sucking up a bunch of low scud clouds, but it didn’t have enough rotation to drop a tornado. Since the rotation had slowed and the hail core was approaching, we hastily retreated back towards Tucumcari. Our last chase day had come to a close. On our way to Elk City, OK, we attempted to squeeze between two merging cells in the developing squall line ahead of us, but they came together on top of us. After driving through heavy rain and pea sized hail for several minutes, we came out ahead of the storm and continued to Oklahoma.

The storm near Tucumcari as it approaches us from over a ridge. The precipitation core is visible near the middle of the picture. Photo by Maggie Paucek.

The updraft and precipitation core of a storm northeast of Tucumcari. Photo by Jacob Strohm.

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