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Chase May 18 2001

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Route:Amarillo (TX) - Vega (TX) - Clayton (NM) - Des Moines (NM)
Chasepartner(s):Herman Harperink, Harald Edens and Floris Bijlsma


CHASE LOG:
Today, the weather forecast again looked very promising; a watch was even given out for possible supercell-storms, namely to the very NW of the Texas Panhandle and the NE of New Mexico. We drove just to the south flank of the supercell, which was so close by now that we could clearly identify it as an LP-storm (Low Precipitation, a relatively rare type of supercell). To our east, the anvil extended out, with anticrepuscular rays from the sun shooting over the edge and into the eastern horizon. There was hardly any precipitation, save for some virga hanging down from the anvil downwind. We stopped over to take some pictures. To our west, we saw the main updraft, a weird-looking structure like a giant wall-cloud which was the only thing of this storm which was close to ground - the remainder of the cloud base was absent.
The sun set, shooting up nice orange solar rays from behind a mountain range, painting some virga close to us orange-red. Small hail fell and mammatus hang down from the storm's anvil. By now, more shadowing caused the anvil and the updraft to have a more clearly defined structure, and the updraft was slowly rotating around.
We photographed and videotaped lightning and the storm itself, but as twilight set in, the cell fell apart abruptly. The updraft tower got smaller, slanted, and fell apart while the entire thing started moving off by the upper level winds, after having been stationary for a long time. Lightning activity ceased as well.


PICTURES:


VIDEO STILLS:


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© 2001 Bernard Hulshof