This was a four state chase day that involved a beautiful supercell which tracked from north of Clayton, New Mexico – southeastward to near Cactus, Texas.
We started the day in Garden City, Kansas and had the option of running all the way back to central and southern Oklahoma where there was a fairly high risk of supercell storms. An easier play for us was upslope flow that was forecast to develop over northeast New Mexico. We took the easy play and ended up seeing what likely was the storm of the day in the Plains.
We drove west out of Boise City and crossed a few miles into New Mexico, watching our target storm develop over the higher terrain to our west. Outside of having to work a bit to stay ahead of the storm, the chase decisions became easy for the rest of the evening. The storm tracked southeast across the Rita Blanca National Grassland – north of Dalhart – and we ended up letting it go to our east near Cactus.
We ended the day by shooting lightning from weak storms that followed in the path of the main supercell.
We started the day in Goodland and drove just across the border into Colorado where we watched high based storms struggle between Burlington and Idalia. Eventually, a nice storm evolved from the mess and started driving its way toward Goodland.
While still high-based, the storm organized into an intense supercell by the time it crossed into Kansas. It was moving quickly and kept us racing ahead of it. It was reported that the storm was producing baseball size hail driven by 80 mph winds. We did not want to get caught!
The storm was rotating strong enough that the potential for a tornado existed despite the high-base nature. There were a couple of times south of Brewster where it appeared that weak tornadoes were occurring. These cases ended up just being our perspective of dirt that was being lifted by the strong surface winds.
As the storm approached Oakley, a well developed mesocyclone produced a weak tornado just southwest of the city. The tornado had very little in the way of cloud condensation, but was visible by a large bowl of rotating dirt. Some power poles were blown down and a couple of metal buildings were destroyed.
The Oakley event was short-lived and the storm became elongated, becoming primarily a high wind producer as it moved southeast toward Ness City.
Just a travel day to Goodland, Kansas. It was a moonless night, so we timed our travel to end up at Monument Rocks in Kansas for the rise of the Milky Way. It was a beautiful – though somewhat cool – night. We ended up spending about three hours there.