Realizing that this could be the last day to chase given the location and time constraints for this chase we went all out today. In baseball parlance we swung for the fence and wound up hitting a triple…three separate supercells, that is.
Starting from our hotel in Lovington NM we rolled eastward to Big Springs TX, a nice town on I-20 east of Midland. We spent time there in a local park waiting for storms to our west to gather strength and head in our direction. When one of the storms began looking like the dominant cell we pushed north and west toward it, stopping near Leonora TX to observe this wall cloud as it sucked up dust from the dry fields:
We played leap frog a couple of times with this storm, even poking north a bit to peer into the inflow notch but never saw anything other than a rain-wrapped core.
Meanwhile the next storm to the south had grown to a classic supercell with a “flying eagle
” appearance on radar. We pulled off the first storm ahead of the burgeoning chaser convergence and headed south to intercept this one. Finding a spot well east of this storm we watched as it approached and I spotted this funnel that lasted only a few seconds:
So was it a tornado or not? Because of the ridge line I couldn’t see the ground under the funnel to tell whether debris was kicked up or not so I don’t know.
When the precipitation – and other chasers – got too close we pulled out and continued southward. After spending some time at a quiet location the storm once again approached. We pushed back north a mile or so to get over a ridge and were rewarded with this view of the core of the storm:
We departed this location within 60 seconds of this photo as the hook on the storm was about to overtake us. After diving southward a few miles we again relocated and watched this shelf cloud approach complete with greenage and very cold outflow air:
At this point darkness was upon us so we bade farewell to the three supercells (there was another one behind them but hey, it was dark) and sped southward, overnighting in Rankin TX. What will tomorrow bring? At the very least we will be making our way back toward Blacksburg but hopefully that will entail one last chase as well.