May 30, 2016


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Clovis, NM
Springfield, IL 12:42 PM 5/29/2016
Hobbs, NM 6:07 PM 5/30/2016
Lovington, NM
0 mph
Orphan Anvil


First day in 20 day run with three teams running research lead by Anton Seimon and John Allen. Super marginal high elevation play in extreme eastern NM that served more as a "meet-up" day. Caught dying storm west of Lovington and called the chase.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl, John Allen, Rose Allen. Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon t2i, Canon EFS 10-22, Canon EF 50mm, Sony FDR-AX100.




Team Duck's Forecast:

"Day 1 Morning Synopsis: Cold pool is playing havoc with today’s convective potential. Observed temperature differentials in LBB either side of the boundary last night suggested a change of 10-15C across the boundary. The MCS continued to propagate SE overnight and has left boundary layer carnage in its wake. This leads to a complex surface hand analysis this morning, with an OFB trailing north of the Edwards Plateau westwards into the Rio Grande/Big Bend, with a meso low analyzed over central TX. Further west, upslope flow seems to have persisted in SE NM, with dew points stable in the ~55 range, and toward the Big Bend a rather sharp gradient to 70s. The dryline is comparatively diffuse at this stage, though the sharpest gradients seem to be in west TX and NM. With moisture advection NW through the day and a surging dryline, the preferred target would seem to be southeastern NM, where moderate dews over the high terrain should lead to initiation. Shear through the domain is weaker on the northern side, particularly at the 500mb level, though anvil level flow is still good. The insolation of the OFB air may not be sufficient to see appreciable CAPE through the environment, but at least moderate values of 1500-2500 J/kg are expected, increasing with southward extent as mid-level LAPSE rates remain steep over the region. Given the modest ML shear and relatively small hodographs, expectation is for transient or shorter-lived supercell structures close to initiation, before gradual upscale growth similar to yesterday. There is a chance that we see semi-discrete supercells in the SE NM/West TX region associated with storms moving into higher dew points and perhaps moist SE flow from the region south of the OFB.

CAMs paint two very different pictures, reflecting uncertainty regarding ongoing cold pool strength from the onward moving MCS, and maintenance of the OFB and associated influence on dew points. NAM is more bullish on convection developing in eastern NM as discrete storms, potentially taking on hybrid structures, or organizing with southern extent. This contrasts with ‘MCS’ HRRR - which paints initially discrete storms and transient SCs developing along the high terrain of eastern NM and growing upscale as they progress eastward (side note - HRRR has a heavy tendency to say MCS - including last week’s Dodge City tornadoes).

Based on this, there are probably two potential targets. The first in SE NM/Western TX, the second hoping for an initiation over the Caprock vicinity, though given the influence of the OFB this seems to be questionable. "
Day 1 of 2016 National Geographic tornado research operations led by Anton Seimon and John Allen.

Goofing around during the morning forecast in El Reno, OK

Twistex Memorial
5 miles SE of El Reno, OK
8:51 AM
Stopping at the Twistex Memorial on the way out.

Hand Analysis
7 miles WSW of Lovington, NM
4:09 PM
We met up with John and Rose just in time to see the storm die west of Lovington, NM. It was so non-photogenic nobody actually managed to take any photos of it. We called the chase and headed for dinner in Hobbs.
Team Duck's Summary:

"We began the day in Lubbock TX with a cooler overcast morning clearing to spotty clouding and 70ºF by 11am. Satellite observations revealed high cloud and cumulus covering much of west Texas and far southeast NM along with stratocumulus over the Red River Valley and east of the Caprock as of 16z. Analysed dew points of 60-62ºF in southeastern NM along with a dryline bulge beginning to push towards west TX suggested a focus for initiation in northern west TX or southeastern NM. The SPC suggested a marginal risk for severe thunderstorms with a 5% hail risk for the target area.

The dryline set up west of Roswell NM with an apparent bulge toward the southeast of the state. CAPE at 12:30pm CDT was increasing and was analysed via satellite and RUC proxy soundings at 2000j/kg with higher values extending south into the Big Bend region. We adjusted our target to Hobbs NM to await further initiation. Cells in west TX were not looking good at around 2pm CDT - developing in clusters rather than discrete items. Cells further north looked more desirable, and instability was continuing to build toward the east. HRRR continued to show a trend for discrete supercells for the Roswell NM area heading eastward towards the Hobbs vicinity.

Cells continued to move northeastward. At around 3pm CDT, satellite data suggested stronger updrafts on the southern storms tracking northeast toward Hobbs. Frustratingly, there was a considerable radar hole in southeast NM, with two radars appearing to poorly detect precipitation, making it more difficult to estimate progression of storms from the area south of Roswell. We dropped south from Maljamar to position for the Hope NM severe warned storm. Unfortunately the storm really never got going (left moving storm in a non-conducive environment), and lost its base shortly thereafter. While another cell formed to its northeast within range, again this storm exhibited left moving characteristics, and after rendezvousing with Skip and Jenn, we called the chase to head for Hobbs for an awesome Mexican dinner."


About as lackluster as you can get for a chase, but this was more about getting everyone together for an extended chase operation led by Anton Seimon and John Allen.

Lessons Learned

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