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Chase May 9 2001

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Route:Amarillo (TX) - Tucumcari (NM) - Logan (NM) - Amarillo (TX)
Chasepartner(s):Herman Harperink, Harald Edens and Floris Bijlsma


CHASE LOG:
No severe weather was forecast for our area; we'd need to drive all the way up to E-Nebraska and with the moderate chances given for severe weather in that area, we decided that that was too far away. Instead, we hoped to find some thunderstorms closer to our home base. Over the past days, several storms would form over the mountain ridges to the NE of New Mexico. We left Amarillo around noon and drove over I-40 westwards to the border of New Mexico. Not much later, we spotted the first few anvils of storms forming over the mountains. Way to go! The scenery became more beautiful, as well; more elevations, desert flora and red rocks. We drove there with a blue sky overhead, on our way to an area showing vigorously growing cumulus clouds and icy anvils. We stopped over a few times to take some photos of the landscape.
Eventually, the storm moved over us with a turbulent cloud base, an occasional CG lightning and some small hail. We went off and drove for a while to get to the side of the storm. Due to the very high cloud base, the fallstreaks and the multistroked CG lightning discharges, this storm was a fantastic sight. By now, we saw the storm embed itself into a line with other storms and the lightning detector had a count of more than 100 per minute.
As soon after we crossed the border with Texas, we got to see a brilliant rainbow - the contrast and color intensity was about maximal... fantastic!
The lightning had moved off to the east and we even had to go past our home base in Amarillo to catch up with the storm and get to see the lightning again. The lightning activity had increased to nearly 200 per minute!
We drove on to the SE and found ourselves a new country road. The first few hundred yards of driving on that road went fine. Then, we turned left... or better put, the front of our van turned left. The rain had soaked the dusty trail and had transformed it into a slippery pool of mud. About half a mile of driving and sliding the tires got grip again and we could get back on the highway. We tried to make a few more photos but the storms had moved too far into the distance at that time.


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© 2001 Bernard Hulshof