“Chasing” in the Boston Metro area

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As is often the case during July and August in MA, severe storms were in the forecast on August 7.  By 4 pm, towering cu (cumulonimbus) clouds were already forming and thunderstorms were popping in various areas of eastern Massachusetts, southeastern NH, Maine and RI. On days like this, we are typically glued to the radar (computer, phone aps or even tv) to see if there’s anything near us that we should “chase.”  Trees, traffic, and hills are the bane of a chaser’s chase.

Normally, chasing in this end of the world means hanging out in our nearby park to watch the clouds develop, then watching the storms from the back porch.  Other vantage points include the top of a nearby parking garage from where we have seen a funnel cloud, the parking lot of a local church (high ground with a bit of visibility) from where whe have seen circulation with debris, with no confirmed tornado, Rt. 2 when we encountered a microburst while driving, and last night’s “chase” on Rt. 95/128.

Well, we weren’t really chasing – we were going to a dinner meeting!  Since Ian was driving, I got to actually try to see the beautiful developing storms as we crawled along at 5-20 mph.  At dinner, we were treated to a double rainbow out the window.  On the way home, we got glimpses, through the trees, of a gorgeous sunset highlighting the elevated remnants of a storm.

 

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Classic Chase Day

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Woke up in Midland, TX and headed west to get out of the clouds.  Leisurely drive with stop at the Odessa Meteor Crater Museum, and on to Kermit, TX, which was my target for initiation.  We hung out and watched roadrunners, including one with a lizard in it’s mouth.  Photos not following – they are fast!  Spent most of the day on a back road in Kermit and at the convenience store for bio breaks.  Watched clouds try to develop, watched them fail.  About 5 miles out of Kermit, we came across buggy racing on sand dunes.  We had a blast watching this for awhile.

sand racing near Kermit TX copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suddenly, we spotted a storm that had developed on the dry line about 75 miles away and the chase was on.What a beautiful LP supercell that we watched for quite some time about 28 miles SW of Hobbs, NM.

Backlit supercell

Backlit supercell

 

Classic day of chasing – hurry up and wait, then a gorgeous, peaceful storm with beautiful backlighting and lightning.  Exhausted, late night, back to Midland.

We Got Whacked!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

We started the day in Amarillo, TX and we headed South through Plainview and kept going. We intercepted our first storm near Barnhart, TX and watched a storm and a possible tornado, later confirmed as a reported tornado.  We continued on past Big Lake, TX and watched a beautiful storm with an amazingly green hail core before we headed away to avoid being pummelled.  Some students from University of Mississippi and the University of North Dakota drove into the storm and the hail core.

Hail core

Hail core

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storms began exploding everywhere and we got cut off on our way to San Angelo and got whacked by heavy rain and a bit of hail on our way to Midland, TX.  En route, we had the fortune to see an amazingly bright double rainbow and when we arrived in Midland, we greeted by fireworks at the ballpark next to our hotel.  I gratefully drank a large beer with dinner and fell into bed.

Double rainbow

Double rainbow

The Big Texan

We left Guymon, OK and discovered that K-Bobs was now a China Buffet. This was baaaaddddd!  I was obsessed with Tucumcari, NM today – because I love saying Tucumcari.  Our real target wasn’t that far from Tucumcari but I insisted to my chase partners that we needed to go to Tucumcari just so I could keep saying Tucumcari.  They were about ready to throw me out of the car after about the 100th Tucumcari.  We ended up at the Ute Lake outside of Tucumcari where the most we chased was lizards.

 

Annoyed Lizard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After annoying a lot of lizards, we headed to Amarillo to the Big Texan to discover Peggy Hamner Willenberg, Chris Kridler, Scott McPartland, Dave Lewison, Mark Robinson, and the Canadian Weather Network, which is filming a tv series, was taking up 2 tables.  Mark was trying to eat the 72 ounce steak (for tv) and failing.  This is what chasers do in Amarillo when there are no storms!

 

Chaser Women

Chaser Women

Chaser Convergence

Chaser Convergence

 

Do It for Canada, Mark

Do It for Canada, Mark

Byers, Colorado

Rain Wrapped Tornado Near Byers, Colorado?

Rain Wrapped Tornado Near Byers, Colorado?

Yesterday’s chase was pretty intense with an amazing HP supercell and chaser convergence like I have never seen before. We started just south of DIA and watched the cell develop. We stayed with it all evening and saw glimpses of what were reported as rain wrapped tornadoes. As further discreet cells developed further south, we were in position to continue heading east on Rt. 36 without getting nailed by anything more than small hail We were treated to a few funnels and delightful light show into Colby, KS.

Edge of Storm

Edge of Storm

More Structure

More Structure

Storm Structure

Storm Structure

Chaser Convergence

Chaser Convergence

Last Chance – Again! May 20, 2014

Started in North Platte, NE after forecasting. My morning target was Brush, CO. (I like to pinpoint just for the fun of it). Heading west, we watched the storms developing and putting down hail in Denver. Eight miles west of Last Chance, CO, the storm organized into a beautifully photogenic supercell. This storm produced a number of funnels. Nearing sunset, we headed north and after emerged from the rain to be treated to several rainbows, including a double rainbow. Then, just a few minutes before the sun set, the collapsing storm produced a jaw dropping mammatus display.

Near Last Chance, CO Supercell

Near Last Chance, CO Supercell

Mammatus near sunset

Mammatus near sunset

Mammatus Crown

Mammatus Crown