Dusty Mama

15 May 2018

Starting the day from a prison-like room in Cheyenne Wells we were pleased to note that the prison no longer smelt so intensely of pot noodles. It was a good start to the day.

We had been expecting to head west for the deserts but the weather had other things in mind. A decent setup had presented itself across the border in New Mexico. So we set off in good time in the hope of reaching the southern part of the forecast area where the parameters looked better for some rotating stormage.

It was the sort of setup that keeps tempting you further and by the time we intercepted it had taken us about two thirds of the way down New Mexico. Here the road networks aren’t great but the landscapes are good and the rising terrain helps get the storms going. At Tucumcari we had our first proper encounter with the day’s weather and it had some nice structure, if not turning particularly. 

Storm Over Mountain

Not "the", but definitely "a" black mailbox.


Bo And Storm

Bo In The Road

We followed the storm on its east / south-easterly track until we hit the far more chase-friendly road network of the Texas panhandle. Here the number of roads quadruples and the speed limit goes up 20mph - that might not sound like a lot but if you’re limited to 55mph and a storm is moving at 35mph then you’re only catching up at 20mph. The speed limit then going up 20mph essentially doubles your storm relative speed. Combine that with more roads giving you better options and you can be looking at the difference between a successful chase and a fail.

The other thing that Texas introduces is lots of red sand. As the storm dug in over the panhandle we followed it into the red sandy lands and it started whipping up a dust storm. It was pretty interesting to watch - you get some interesting insights into how the storm’s air flows are interacting with the ground. Some of these effects can be quite dramatic, leading people to report tornados and the like, but it was mostly just dusty mayhem.

After a little while right on the best corner of the storm we decided to let it carry on without us, and took some time to enjoy its wider structure in the sunset. It was a fantastic display of mammatus with the sunset and light reflecting off the red land below making for some vibrant and beautiful colours in the strange undulating clouds above.


Bo Sunset Mamma

Rogue Mamma

Bo Mamma


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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Tue May 2018

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Tue May 2018

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