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Chase May 24 2001

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Route:Amarillo (TX) - Lubbock (TX) - Sweetwater (TX) - Austin (TX) - Fredericksburg (TX) - Taylor (TX)
Chasepartner(s):Herman Harperink, Harald Edens and Floris Bijlsma


CHASE LOG:
We got up early in the morning at 6am, and checked the weather charts and maps once more to verify the consistency of the forecast. Those hadn't changed that much, and 50 minutes later we were on the road to south-central Texas. Near Austin, some convection was going on in the form of cumulus, which was being flattened out due to the strong "cap" inversion layer. Not much later, we spotted the first few cumulus poke through the inversion layer, only to dissipate quickly due to the dry air above the inversion. Fifty miles west of Austin, an anvil formed; the lightning detector indicated a few strikes per minute in that direction. We made our way to that newly formed cell, and as we closed in on the storm, we came under the anvil and stopped to make a few photos of very beautiful mammatus.
We reached the edge of the precipitation zone and waited at the town of Harper for the storm to pass over. Amazing CGs, CCs and crawler lightning frequently lit up the sky. The rain continued, then became a drizzle, and we got out of the car to take photos and video. The sun was low over the western horizon, and illuminated the storm's anvil and towers from aside and underneath, setting some very beautiful mammatus on fire with bright orange and yellow colors.
Directly over our heads, the clouds formed chaotic structures, coloring brownish yellow; blue cumulus to the horizon to the left of the sunset, and some extended cloud rays reaching from the sun, overhead, and into the storm, with a piece of rainbow visible as well, decorated with purple crawlers and CGs. We shot one roll of film after the other, until the storm had moved too far away for satisfactory lightning. We got in the car and started the chase.
The storm moved east at a pace of about 15 mph, which was slow enough and quite easy to chase, except for the countless curves and dips and slightly wrong directions in the roads. Crawler lightning frequently lit up the storms anvil with mammatus. Still, we could frequently stop over and get a good view to the storm, to shoot more lightning photos. At 3am, we had enough and lodged at a motel in Taylor.


PICTURES:


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© 2001 Bernard Hulshof