May 23, 2014


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Santa Rosa, NM
Kit Carson, CO 7:03 AM 5/23/2014
Vaughn, NM 7:16 PM 5/23/2014
Encino, NM
0 mph
RFD Clear Slot, Rain Foot


Upslope chase in New Mexico. Targeted eastern NM for afternoon supercells, but intercepted southwest of Santa Rosa catchign storms coming off high terrain near I-25. Noted classic supercell with photogenic structure south of Encino. Followed north noting pronounced rain foot, RFD clear slot, and hail. Storms gusted out into clusters so stayed in Vaughn for the night.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl. Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon t2i, Canon EFS 10-22, Canon EF 50mm, Sony HDR-xr500v..




Our third day out chasing upslope storms in the high plains. The easterlies, moisture, and upper level flow looked to be drifting south which meant we were heading to New Mexico.
We awoke in Kit Carson where we had spent the night from our Colorado chase the previous day with Brad Goddard. Skies were cloudy put pretty in the early morning light. The three of us snaked our way down through Campo Colorado, and then into the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles.

Santa Rosa Cumulus
2 miles ENE of Santa Rosa, NM
3:01 PM
We decided to play the north end of the target, as the cap looked like it might be weaker where the 700 mb temperatures were cooler to the north. We took 40 west into New Mexico, Brindley's first time in the state. We decided to hang out in Santa Rosa and await initation, while time lapsing some cumulus drifting overhead.

15 miles NNE of Corona, NM
4:29 PM
Storms started to pop off the higher terrain, one quickly gaining a severe warning. We headed southwest out of Santa Rosa for the intercept, driving through Vaughn and then to Duran, and finally onto a gravel ranch road that snaked through some tall hills. We perched ourselves atop the hill where we had an amazing view to the west as the storm was going up: a classic upslope supercell.

The storm had gained a tornado warning, but we didn't see too much activity underneath from our vantage point other than some rising scud.

We shot time lapse until the storm moved off to the north through a valley and we lost contrast. We headed north on some deserted roads to keep up with it.

Encino Pano
1 miles NNW of Encino, NM
5:22 PM
Coming up to the town of Encino, a train separated Goddard from us as we got stuck waiting for it to cross. We stopped just north of town, immediately down stream of the storm and watched it move overheard. A panoramic shot showing the updraft base and distinct bands of precipitation:

Rain Foot
Encino, NM
5:32 PM
There was a very dramatic rain foot just to our west as the storm moved overhead and a good looking updraft base. We got some marginally severe hail as it clipped us before we moved a little south to get out of the precipitation.

RFD Clear Slot
Encino, NM
5:41 PM
As the updraft base moved overhead, a rear flanking downdraft started to cut a characteristic notch into the clouds. The north end of the horseshoe base even started to curl. It was the beginning stages of tornadogenesis. The storm was a few parameters short and cycles of putting down a tornado, however, and this is about where the storm peaked. It was quite dramatic seeing the classic supercell structure passing overhead though.

Americana Motel
1 miles ESE of Vaughn, NM
7:01 PM
We moved east as more storms started to fire. They were quickly gusting out and forming a large cold pool by late afternoon, which is typical of upslope setups. The chase was over in terms of tornado and photogenic supercell potential, so we decided to stop nearby for the night. We found a cute motel with a lot of character in the town of Vaughn. The town was littered with motels and restaurants, but about 80% of them had been shut down or boarded up. It looked like a town that had once been a big stop on Route 66, until it was bypassed by I-40 to the north. The quirky, friendly motel owner told us a bunch of stories before we got to our rooms, which featured green and orange shag carpet and black and white checkered tile.

Lightning Shoot
1 miles ESE of Vaughn, NM
9:28 PM
After dinner at the 50's style diner next door, we headed out to the field behind the motel to shoot some lightning from the approaching storm complex, with tumbleweeds flying past in the gusty winds. I snagged one to take home as a souvenir.

9:44 PM

9:52 PM

9:56 PM

9:59 PM


This was a well rounded chase, and what we're after when we go for upslope setups: supercell structure, pretty skies, some lightning, a little action. Tornado activity was pretty minimal across the upslope target except for a brief spout or spinup near Roswell. We were happy with our supercell catch though and had a great time hanging out in Vaughn and shooting lightning.

Lessons Learned

Follow On The Web!
Storm Chasers Giving Back!

Webpage, graphics, photos, and videos © Skip Talbot or respective owner 2018. Skip's Webzone