Today started out looking like an easy chase day, but ended 681 miles later. The NWS and SPC had bullseyed Childress, TX for severe storms, and that’s where we had spent the night. We lazily slid out of bed, went to Walmart and made our predictions. We decided to head southwest towards the town of Matador, TX. Along the way, storms began to fire, and the road to Matador was closed. We detoured back to the main highway and headed west towards Matador. The storms were moving incredibly slow (5 mph), but they were moving south or southeast. Storms were forming along an outflow boundary, and we decided to keep up with it.
We thought the inflow side would be on the southwest, but the storm appeared to be completely outflow dominated. It was moving incredibly slow and we swept from the southeast side all the way around to the west side, finding no inflow, just tons of blowing outflow dust.
We continued southwest along the boundary. We wanted to take US-84 out of Snyder to track a little southeast ahead of the cluster of storms that had now developed. There were several tornado warnings issued, and we could see hints of rotation on the storm relative velocity radar images. We cut between two cells, but the storms were picking up speed. Instead of moving 5-10 mph, they were now approaching 40 mph. We got caught between cells as they morphed into a linear segment.
We started down US-84, only to get caught in heavy precipitation (rain and very small hail), all driven by high speed outflow winds. We had to pull over because we had zero visibility. Also, so many people were stopped under the overpasses, the roads were pretty much impassable. The wind rocked us hard (estimating 50-60mph winds). We had to wait for the line to pass over us; the most intense part of the storm had formed behind us, but it was so intense ahead of us that we could not continue forward. We waited it out.
Once the line passed, there were no discrete storms left to chase. Our path to the south was blocked, and every mile we inched south was one we would have to travel north tomorrow. As we turned around and headed north, I snapped a photo of the backside of one of the storms in the line. Even on the backside, you can see the outflow driving the precipitation.
Near Plainview, I also took a few photos of the storms developing behind the line. These were weaker, but we enjoyed the lightning show on our way north.
We ended the night in Lamar, CO, attempting to get into position for tomorrow.
Starting Odometer: 282820
Ending Odometer: 283971