|Route:||Amarillo (TX) - Childress (TX) - Crosbyton (TX) - Post (TX) - Lubbock (TX) - Plainview (TX)|
|Chasepartner(s):||Herman Harperink, Harald Edens and Floris Bijlsma|
|After hanging out in South-Central Texas for two days, there should be some opportunities for some serious severe weather near Amarillo. The weather charts looked good and the Storm Prediction Center indicated fair chances for severe weather to the southeast Texas Panhandle. We gassed up the car and drove on to SW of Childress, making our way to the fast-growing thunderstorm ahead of us. Then, our Boltek lightning detector started beeping, and we knew we were on our way to something good. Driving over a scenic road with lots of curves and hills, we closed in on the storm. The storm looked fairly well-organized, with a flanking line and an anvil showing nice mammatus. However, the cloud base was very high, as well as that of the flanking line. Not much precipitation was visible, either, but the lightning detector did indicate more and more flashes of lightning.
We stopped over a few times to take photos and we desperately tried to locate a suitable frequency for our NOAA radio. It sounded its alarm a few times, but all it could produce would be white noise - quite frustrating! We frequently saw nicely branched CG lightning, a nice rainbow, fallstreaks of hail and a dust storm near the outflow boundary of the storm. It looked very much like the storm suddenly transformed into HP (high-precipitation). As the flanking line of the storm looked rather fruitless, we decided to head to the direction of the storm's downdraft. Eventually we entered the precipitation zone, and to our left and right we saw cloud fragments move and rotate into the inflow area. It wasn't that spectacular, but we did see some rotation going on.
We stopped over to watch the storm and forgot about the hail. The sun was low over the western horizon at that time, and a gorgious spectacle was about to happen overhead. Enormous mammatus lowered from beneath the anvil, coloring yellow, orange and red due to the setting sun. mammatus bulges cut the sunlight grazing the underside of the anvil, showing rays of light converging to the storm's main updraft (to the point opposite to the sun). This was decorated by some distant CG lightning. We took lots of photos.
At 9pm the sunset colors disappeared...and the thunder was getting too far away to keep up with. But - our lightning detector spotted a new storm to our north. Just to the south of Plainview we got off I-27N, as the lightning was getting close enough for photography.
Lots of CGs and crawlers shot across the sky and made us yell and scream. NOAA gave a severe-storm warning for this storm... we were at the right place! One thing that was less comfortable were the countless mosquitos going crazy on our hands, faces, legs... we slammed our faces quite a few times...
The storm closed in on us fast, with an ominous black shelf cloud being backlit by lightning. The first raindrops got on the cameras, and we took shelter in our car while the storm passed over. Dense dust clouds raged by, and we did some videotaping. Dust, rain and wind hammered our car, but we had way too much fun enjoying the lightning to really notice.
It became dry pretty quickly, so we could continue our photography outside of the van. Lots and lots of crawler lightnings shot across the sky, very easy to photograph. Half an hour later, most of the lightning had moved off into the distance too much for good photography, and we decided to get out of there and head back to Amarillo.
|DISCLAIMER: All photographs/movies/information on this site are copyrighted by Bernard Hulshof and may not be used for anything other than personal viewing. If you would like to use any of the photographs/movies/information from this site for other use, you must contact me and obtain written permission.|
© 2001 Bernard Hulshof