Roger Hill being interviewed by a French production crew, of all places in Grandfalls, TX.
First storm of the day going up and on the cold front before being undercut, just north of Fort Stockton, TX.
Cumulus towers developing southeast of our developing storm near Fort Stockton.
Back to our storm, inflow bands feeding into it as the storm interacts with the boundary.
Severe warned thunderstorm approaching the 3 vans of Silver Lining Tours in the Glass Mountains of southwest TX.
Intense rain and hail core with severe warned storm over the Glass Mountains to the south of Fort Stockton, TX.
Inflow tail from the right feeding the severe warned thunderstorm with intense rain/hail core.
My favorite shot of the day. Rain and hail core over the buttes in the Glass Mountains south of Fort Stockton and northwest of Sanderson, TX.
Don't see this in Minnesota! Blooming cactus across the desert high plains.
STORM PREDICTION CENTER OUTLOOKS:
MAY 20, 2015 CHASE LOG: TEXAS
Written by Rich Hamel: (www.bostonstormchaser.com/)
Starting in Abilene, we headed for west Texas in mist and fog, hoping to play storms along the sagging cold front in a high-instability, low shear environment. This was a marginal setup and we were mostly just looking for pulse-severe storms with good structure and some hail. The HRRR had two main target areas, one towards Pecos, TX and one south of Ft. Stockton. Either way, that meant heading west on I-20, so we trucked it down to Midland/Odessa, stopping quickly to grab lunch, then on to Monahans, where the Sun had finally come out. At that point we had to pick a target and we chose the southern of the two and headed down Rt. 18 to Ft. Stockton.
Once there, we sat and waited as towers popped up all around us, sheared over (not a good sign when you are supposed to have high instability and low shear) and died. Soon we could see the cold front approaching from the north, and knowing that it would undercut any activity that it passed, we started heading south towards Marathon to play with the storm bubbling along the Davis Mountains, but after getting about halfway there we noted a storm firing along the frontal boundary just north of Ft. Stockton and turned around to chase it. The storm had decent enough structure with a fairly broad base, and looked interesting for a time with several long inflow tails pulling air in from the north, but it looked “cold” and soon our location was getting hit with steady cool winds from the north… the front had passed and the storm, which we had hoped would anchor on the front, was now behind it and dying in the cold air. We’d mostly lost hope as we drifted back into Ft. Stockton, but another cell was getting stronger along the highway so we decided to go have a look.
The storm was right along I-10, so the first bit of fun was a fairly long core punch through the entire length of the front-flank core. We got heavy rain and a good bit of hail up to quarter size, and in fact called that in and got the storm severe warned. Needing to get out in front of the storm, we drove south out into the middle of nowhere along FM 2886 and stopped at several locations to observe. The storm was somewhat linear looking but there was a lot of interesting motion and as the storm rode the frontal boundary and moved south it intensified and began throwing out lots of smooth bolt cloud to ground lightening immediately in our area. Still moving, we stopped near the junction of Rt. 285 and watched the roiling motion on the front end of the shear line, and at one point the storm produced a ropey shear funnel than made it pretty close to the ground, and several times certain areas of the rotation looked like they were going to wrap up into something more substantial.
As the core closed on us, the lightning picked up again and we saw a couple of bolts hit squarely in the fields around us, and another hit a large tank at a gasification facility we went by! We played with the lightning for a bit then headed north, plowing through the core of the weakening line segment for the easy ride into our hotel in Ft. Stockton. All in all a pretty fun chase day. Our expectations weren’t high given the setup and we ended up with a nice storm with structure, hail, some motion, and a lot of lightning. Plus, the terrain in this area of Texas is really interesting, with lots of mesas, buttes, canyons, and cacti. Travel distance for the day was 424 miles.