Gustnados for 2 please

12 June 2015

We massively overslept this morning not leaving Garden City in Kansas until 11:15am. It’s hard to believe this was possible given this was a Walmart carpark night. I think it must have been a combination of a filling Applebees and a few beers last night combined with a rainy grey morning and therefore a lack of sun failing to wake us as it usually does in these situations. To make matters worse we had lost an hour through time zone changes and the risk area had also been shifted a little further south making our target destination about 5 hours away so we really didn’t have much time. This meant trying to stop for as few loo breaks as possible which made for a rather uncomfortable journey at times!

We made good time though and had soon blasted through southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle and into Texas. Crappy morning convection made the journey rather dull and the amount of water at the road edges and spray from other cars didn’t make needing the loo any easier!

South of Amarillo the skies started to clear. Storms were initiating on the cold front / dry line to our west arcing west-southwest away from us. In fact our timing on them worked out really well and being a little late left no room for indecisiveness as we edged in west onto the first storm.

Hazy low contrast skies limited visibility on the storm until we were pretty close and by this time we could see that it was lacking that desired supercell structure that it had occasionally been showing on radar. It was a big storm though and quite ominous as it approached. We got a few pics of it at its best before heading south to see if there was anything less mature and more photogenic.

Big clouds of Nazareth

This proved to be quite difficult though. Three fairly discrete storms had again merged into one, the storm interactions limiting both structure and tornadic potential. We contemplated what to do and I devoured the last half of my honeydew melon which I have to say was one of the tastiest melons I’ve ever eaten. The mangos out here aren’t particularly good but the melons are quite awesome.

We headed south to where there were a few discrete storms persisting, none of which looked particularly severe and we picked one to get under. However as we drove towards it, we sadly saw it was dwindling in both height and intensity. It still looked quite pretty though so we got a few snaps and Timbo took some time-lapse.

Hailey Cell

Then all of a sudden, donk! A huge bit of ice hit the car. Then another landed at my feet. We grabbed our stuff and legged it back into the car as more started to fall with quite a lot of force. We looked on radar and sure enough the storm had re-intensified and was starting to swing around towards us, anchored from the point that we were busy looking at and photographing. With the hail core now approaching we headed south to keep in front of it.

A number of the remaining discrete storms around the area were doing the same but with quite slack midlevel and upper level winds they weren’t moving anywhere very quickly and we were soon witness to two of them pretty much colliding in front of us whilst also becoming tornado warned!

The number of gustnados around was also really cool. We’ve never seen so many at once. Pretty much in every direction you looked you could see these dust-swirls kicking up underneath the storms, some of which were quite intense with a lot of spin and came at you very quickly. It was great fun playing in these, waiting until they got really close before jumping into the car and speeding off in a massive panic. All of this was obviously before the storms became tornado warned!


Gustnado Runner

Approaching Storm And Tractor

After the best of the storm collisions were to be seen we headed off in the direction of Hobbs, New Mexico. It was quite late by this point and the sun was starting to set. On the way to our motel however, the weather decided to give us one more treat and another storm popped up just to our east quickly intensifying. We pulled off the road and found a little sandy track which led to an open field where we could watch the storm as the sun set. Again, we left it as late as we could before retreating as a sandy wall of wind blasted towards us.

Sunset Storm

Storm With Lightning And Setting Sun

Us Under Storm

Through the town the ominous storm loomed above the buildings allowing us to stop for a few seconds to get some pics before having to jump back into the car again. Once through the town, with the storm moving off to the east behind us, we got a few more shots of the fantastic sunset lit anvil. However, when it became hard to distinguish the rumbles of any remaining thunder over the rumbles of hunger from our bellies this marked the time to head to the motel where a good feed and a couple of beers awaited.

Town Under Storm

Sunlit Mamma

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

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

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Fri June 2015

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