WKU Storm Chase Day 6

Our morning began with a forecast discussion in Shamrock, TX. We knew that our travel distance wouldn’t be as long, so we were able to have a relaxed morning.

Atmospheric Setup

When we went to bed on Thursday night the SPC had a slight risk area extending from Texas to the Great Lakes. During our forecast discussion on Friday morning, our main focus was on the dry line that extended southwest to northeast across the south central part of the panhandle. An upper level low was located over Montana and North Dakota, which was a bit of a change from the atmospheric setup that we had been dealing with earlier in the week. That upper low had continuously gyrated over the western US but has now moved on and is making way for the next wave to come through. The 500mb winds had backed off quite a bit but a large ridge over the Gulf states coupled with the negatively tilted trough over the northern US sandwiched the pressure gradient and caused a jet streak over the central Plains.

500mb Heights and Winds map

At the end of our forecast discussion, we decided that the best environment would be on the south side of the dry line. We felt that this area was where moisture convergence, CAPE, and low level lapse rates were the most conducive for severe storms. Our goal was to stay along that boundary and follow any storms that fired along it. Later in the afternoon the SPC upgraded an area within the south central part of the Texas panhandle to an enhanced risk.

SPC Day 1 Outlook with an enhanced risk over the south central part of the Texas panhandle.

The Chase

We began our drive from Shamrock, TX and started heading toward Lubbock, TX. Visibility was slightly better as we chased our first storm between Floydada and Crosbyton, TX. This storm had visible rotation and created the most beautiful sight as we drove past a canyon and could see the base of it.

Rotating cell between Floydada and Crosbyton, TX.

We moved southeast and positioned ourselves to the west of Dickens, TX. We encountered quite a bit of hail from this storm and then moved back into Crosbyton, TX to wait for the next cell to move through. While in Crosbyton, we encountered major flooding. The roads were covered, ditches were turned into moving waterways, and the fields had standing water with ripples going across them. Grass was not visible on much of the land and runoff soil led the water that was coming off the fields and onto the road. We concluded our chase day in Crosbyton and decided to head toward Amarillo for the night in order to be closer to our target for Saturday’s chase.

Conclusion of the Day

On our drive back to Amarillo at the end of the day, we got to see beautiful mammatus clouds in Plainview, TX.

Mammatus in Plainview, TX.

We checked into our hotel in Amarillo and then walked across the parking lot to have dinner at Bubba’s 33. While waiting for our table we got to watch a beautiful sunset. As usual, dinner was filled with good food, good company, and plenty of laughs. Check back tomorrow for another update. Thanks for following along with us!

Sunset outside of Bubba’s 33 in Amarillo, TX.
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