A Meteorological Disneyland

29 May 2015

The motel we stayed in at Dalhart was really cool. Even though it was just in Texas, it had the décor and appearance of many of the motels you find in New Mexico – lots of yellows and terracottas. Waking to bright blue skies and well-tended garden areas with trees and birds singing made it almost feel like we were travelling in South America again. I suggested to Tim we should eat breakfast outside, but the lack of seating and slight chill in the air meant having the door open sufficed.

Motel

Last night it looked like the slight risk today and passing cold front weren’t going to be too far from where we were and the storm coverage was also expected to be fairly small. However with every update to the forecast, the risk area was growing and by the time we left in the morning we felt the need to edge a bit further south and into eastern New Mexico where there were was a little more moisture.

We headed to Clovis in east central New Mexico, did the statutory Walmart shop and headed into the hills to watch for storms firing off the higher terrain. We were at the tail end of about 3 storms that had fired in the area – one much further north, one between this and where we were and one directly to our west. Before long the top 2 became severe warmed so we gave the one to our west the time it took to eat a sandwich to hopefully follow this trend. It’s so beautiful in New Mexico and having lunch in the grassy flower filled plains at the foot of the mountains with big storm clouds starting to develop in the distance was so serene. I really couldn’t dream up a better place to have a spot of lunch.

Unfortunately with sandwich gone, the storm nearest to us looked like he was losing it so back north we headed, although this time on a road a little more to the west than the previous one we had driven down this morning!

The internet coverage is not great around this part which is hardly surprising seeing as though we were even more in the middle of nowhere than we usually are. We therefore had no radar as a guide but we just drove towards the now 2 big storms we could see to our north. By the time we reached Tucumcari about 40 miles north, the storm to our west was pretty big. We found a spot out of town to watch its approach over the hills. However, it was becoming difficult to tell how it was developing as the hills were blocking the base of the storm. It was appearing to become a little more surface based so we backtracked to get a better view.

Storm Surface Inflow

There were storms in all directions now and the light was really special as it often is in New Mexico.

New Mexico Storm

Unfortunately this was probably the point at which this particular storm was at its most severe and it soon became quite elevated reducing any tornado risk. It was still interesting to watch though and incredibly photogenic especially given the setting.

Storm Ranch Sign

In light of the now fizzling storm we pondered our options and decided to attempt a return to Clovis in time to get out in front of a few more cells further south that were still strong and starting to line out a little but our plan failed because there were so many beautiful sights on the way there.

Mamma House

Storm Mamma

By the time we got to Clovis, the town was in the wake of the storms. Everywhere was soaked and water rose high at the road edges. The most vibrant rainbow display we have ever seen welcomed us back and soon after this the sky turned a stunning orange and huge mammatus clouds hung appearing to droop from the underside of the anvil from the recently passed storms. Unfortunately the only pics we could take were from the car and I cannot do justice to these wonderful spectacles.

Rainbow

Sunset

Road Mamma

Seriously, New Mexico always seems to bring out the creative side of the Weather Gods in what can only be described as a meteorological Disneyland.

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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Fri May 2015

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Fri May 2015

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