Upslope flow mark 5 - From Behind

08 June 2014

On Sunday we were looking at yet another day of upslope flow and storms across Colorado and New Mexico with a trough coming in from the west. Less cloud cover further north into Colorado was forecast to result in greater storm coverage. However the combination of being based way further south in Roswell, New Mexico and a better chance of more isolated supercells in this region kept us from travelling up into Colorado.

We picked Fort Sumner as our starting place which was only a few hours drive north where the directional shear looked better and where the cloud was more likely to break compared to where we were. However on arriving, we saw on radar that a cell had popped up halfway back to Roswell. We were torn between heading back for it or even further north where a few more cells were firing off the Raton Range, but after seeing that the cloud was starting to dissipate at the same rate across the whole of Eastern New Mexico, decided to head back for it.

In too soon a time it became tornado warned and although we were doing our best to backtrack as fast as we could, its southerly trajectory made positioning on it very difficult. We did manage to get under it just in time to get a few photos of its attempt at a wall cloud but it then crossed the road from where we had come and blocked us off.


We were now positioned behind it which wasn’t the ideal place to be should it tornado but we had a great view of its towering updraft and the hail it left in its wake looked like snow cover. At some points, the hail fog was so thick we couldn’t even see the road in front of us!



A few cells had also popped up behind this main one and they were all now heading south east. One of these fizzled but was soon replaced by a third new cell that originated west of Carlsbad. Unfortunately a way out in front of them was never possible so we tracked with them from behind occasionally having to stop and let them gain ground so as not to get too close to the hail. We followed them all the way into Texas where by this time, there was only one left. He had become so powerful that he had dominated over his other family members and turned into a super-duper cell and rotated all the way to Pecos, Texas, where it appeared he then dumped any water he had left in him, on Pecos and slowly fizzled away into the distance. He had been such a monster storm that he even had a mesoscale discussion devoted all to himself at one point, with large hail, damaging winds and tornados possible.

It was fun to have tracked with this family of supercells pretty much from their initiation. Looking back, perhaps we should have left that first spot sooner and kept in front of them for the day but with limited roads down here who knows if the view wold have been any better? Tracking from behind you get heavy rain, then sun, floods, hail fog, rainbows, sights of incredible updrafts and then as night closes in, an amazing display of lightning. It’s hard to complain!


SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Sun June 2014

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Sun June 2014

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