Day 16 - New Mexican Vaughn Storm

02 June 2013

We woke in the West Texas Inn motel in Midland. It had been a really nice place to stay if a little expensive at $90, but breakfast was included. We made sure to get up in time this time to get our money’s worth. We couldn’t believe the variety on offer - either Frosties or, toast but no butter! To be honest though, a bowl of Frosties with cold milk is actually quite a luxury for us in the morning, so we were very happy!

Our plan was to head to the Texas / New Mexico border for a slight risk that covered most of southwest Texas and south central New Mexico. However, there were few towns around this area and even fewer roads, so our choice of town to wait in was quite limited. We arrived in Pecos in Texas, but there was no park so we moved on further north to Carlsbad in New Mexico where we found some grassy patches near a river. It’s hard to find grass in a desert so we decided to hang here for a bit. After some lunch, we noticed storms firing a bit further north so headed on up that way. By a bit further, we were looking at about 200 miles!

Driving through Roswell was funny. We didn’t spot any aliens but had it been dark, I may have been fooled by one of the many green alien statues they have dotted around or the alien eyes they paint on each of the round street lamps!

After a 2 hour drive or so from Carlsbad, we managed to intercept the storm in Vaughn. It actually held more structure than we’d first anticipated and had some fairly strong outflow winds. We got a couple of shots and tracked with it for a while, before deciding to drive straight through it as preference was to be the other side, to carry on our journey. The storm was definitely weakening but the lightning was prolific enough to scare a little, especially when there are not many other objects taller than you in the area.

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On reaching the leading edge of the dwindling storm, we noticed the amount of dust it had kicked up. There appeared to be quite a little dust storm ahead of us. We drove through and out of this and got a photo for posterity.

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All in all, it was quite a successful chase in the end. A 350 mile drive got us to quite a good storm on an otherwise quiet day. Plus we got to watch about 500 tumbleweeds race across the fields in the outflow gusts from the storm. They had previously all been piled up on the fence lines from the prevailing winds. Tumbleweeds are amazing. If you hold one up in the air you’ll be surprised just how sensitive to the wind they are – it’s quite hard to hold one up even in a light breeze. Oh and we bought some yummy cashew nuts from a gas station. Now for the 200 mile drive back into Texas to set ourselves up for the next day.

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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Sun June 2013

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Sun June 2013

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