A dog and no storms

15 May 2016

There was little in the way of a severe weather risk on Saturday so we took our time heading south from Independence, Kansas to position for Sunday’s slight risk of storms on the New Mexico / Texas border - a 12 hour drive which we were planning to split across Saturday and Sunday. 

The lack of time pressure meant we could stop by a small town called Wakita in Oklahoma - a town made famous for being the set for the 1996 movie Twister. To mark the 20th year anniversary there was a planned procession of storm chasing vehicles, led by a truck carrying the beloved ‘Dorothy’ - the device used in the film to release hundreds of sensors into the centre of a tornado and which was based on a real life instrument called TOTO used by the National Severe Storms Lab in the 1980s. Due to the lack of storms on Saturday, quite a few chasers turned up to eat hot dogs and flash their chasemobiles. It was fun to watch and provided an amusing interval on our drive to Amarillo.


So Friday morning came and we set alarms to ensure an early start for the remaining 5 hours driving that was needed to get us into position for the slight risk down on the border. The mornings forecast was exciting to read - phrases such as 'sustained structures', 'supercells' and 'chances of isolated tornadoes' were used and the models verified this with a moist unstable airmass in place and upslope flow forecast which would provide the required lift. 

However, the fly in the ointment was the overnight cloud that covered the area and this resulted in 1) there not being enough heating of the surface to kick off any worthwhile storms and 2) gave us the pleasure of a 4 hour drive south in the rain through smelly Texas.

When we arrived, we found a park that wasn't full of bandits - just a couple of slightly aggressive looking chaps having a BBQ, and a stray dog.


We sat and waited and although a few small storms fired over the mountains they remained anchored to this spot. We befriended the dog and gave him water and he waited with us. After a few hours we decided to call it a day and do the return 5 hour trip up to Amarillo. Before leaving though we popped into the town of Pecos to get some dog food for Mutley. But by the time we'd got back he'd gone, becoming as elusive as the storms. We put the dog food down for him in the hope he'd smell it. In hindsight, we should have kept some of it in the car to thwart the overpowering stench of the stinky Texan oil fields we are currently enduring on our way back north.

All is hopeful though as bigger storms are forecast for tomorrow. And there is still a dinner of beans to come so life’s not all that bad.

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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Sun May 2016

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Sun May 2016

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