Today started out busy. I originally targeted southeastern Colorado, but some logistics led us to a later start. As cells began to fire, I wanted to get east in New Mexico towards Tucumcari.
When we got in the car and started checking over everything, a Tornado Warning showed up- King George County, VA. I lived there for a few years, and my parents still do. Scarier still was the areas of impact, which included Jersey, VA, a small town (post office) where my parents live. I gave them a call, and they said it was windy, but no tornado in sight.
I took several radar images, including the base reflectivity:
… the storm relative velocity:
…and a vertical scan of the storm. Notice the 50,000 ft overshooting top.
We took I-40 east, and then turned southeast on US-84 out of Santa Rosa following what appeared to be a small outflow boundary on radar. It wasn’t strong, but it was the only hope of seeing anything close before nightfall.
As we approached, we saw that it was not an outflow boundary (though several others were present on radar), but rather upslope flow over a small mountain range- conditions were just right to cause condensation above the mountains and thus show up on radar.
Also notice the low cloud top. This should have been my first indication that something wasn’t right:
We headed towards Lubbock, but stopped in Clovis, NM instead. While sitting at a truck stop, I received a call from my parents. Apparently, a tornado touched down and blew a tree into my uncle’s house. Thankfully, my aunt and uncle were alright, but the house is badly damaged. What an unfortunate night, and our thoughts are with them.
Tomorrow- I think my first stop will be to pick up a device that reads SD cards, as I left mine at home (and can’t pull any of the photos from today). After that, we will likely drift south towards Lovington, NM following the Slight Risk that the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has placed.
For now, good night, and I’ll post again tomorrow.