Slightly Toiley Boiley Birthday

30 May 2016

Today’s storms wouldn’t would not be the biggest setup for my annual birthday storm chase but we caught some convective action and a very unusual velocity couplet.

The night before had concluded with some surprise stormy weather of its own. As we celebrated the onset of my birthday with a few beers in the outside terrace of the motel bar (an unusual feature) we were forced to move inside when a dust storm blew through – caused by some storms a long way to our north pushing out a wave of cold air. It was enough to cause quite the commotion, if only for a minute or so, as dust blew up, trees bent over and anything light and unattached was blown around. On moving inside the bar maid and her fiancé endeavoured help me celebrate my birthday by giving me lots of shots – though oddly never joining in for one or offering Cammie one, there was probably some sort of bar culture element I was missing here – I was probably meant to bring cakes or something. Never mind, it made for an entertaining evening.

The day began with a traditional, if 2 years running counts as that, and I hope it does, first breakfast of hot chocolate cake and ice cream. Then, to top that off, one of this year’s many epic gifts was a “Boiley” – the apparently unhappy but nevertheless excellent microwave egg cooker.


So after a second breakfast of boiled eggs, for the first time since home, we were well set for the day’s storms.

The setup was a marginal one but it looked to us like the far southeast corner of New Mexico held the best chances of spawning some decent storms. We headed for Carlsbad as our first target and took stock. It seemed some storms were firing up off the mountains. These have something of a habit of breaking up as they up-anchor from the mountains so the trick can be to try and identify the ones that are retaining their strength as they head east. Our first target didn’t keep itself going, but the second one managed better. We caught it up on some small roads serving oil fields out to the northeast of Carlsbad.

Birthday storm 1

Birthday storm 2

We tracked with it for a few miles while it produced some decent CG lightning bolts with attended ground shaking rumbles. It was good fun to watch, though relatively short lived as it petered out after an hour or so. We headed to Hobbs where, if we were really lucky some new convection in the area might be in reach, otherwise we knew of a couple of good places to stay there. As it turned out the new convection that popped up was about 2 hours away to our east and probably too far to sensibly try and get to. So we checked into a past favourite motel where the lovely host insisted on baking us some cookies as it was my birthday. Top hospitality to be sure.

After some exercise to return from being car-seat-shaped I was treated to a top birthday dinner, and finally, after looking for good velocity couplets all day (where radar, typically by means of a bright green pixel next to a bright red pixel, shows that there is rotation in a storm), one found its way to me, and a great dinner was had, furthering yet still our repertoire of microwave cooking skills…

Birthday room

Birthday Meal


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

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

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Mon May 2016

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