High Plains Tours Storm Chase Day #3: Slight Risk 5/11/22

For the next six weeks, my attention is fully dedicated to severe weather and storm chasing. I am currently chasing storms with High Plains Tours.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued an Slight Risk for the West Texas today.

Associated with the Slight Risk is a 2% tornado threat ring. While there is a higher risk over Wisconsin, it is out of play for us.

To summarize the SPC:  Strong diurnal heating near the dryline and upslope flow will be the main drivers for severe weather today. Unlike yesterday, the shear is expected to be a little better. Supercells are possible, with strong winds and large hail as the primary threats. Storms will weaken quickly after dark, as they are driven almost entirely by diurnal heating.

The visible satellite imagery shows mostly sunny skies, with a few, light clouds to the east. There is evidence of shear over the eastern edge of New Mexico.

The surface observations show weak, southeasterly breezes, advecting a little moisture into West Texas, though the low-level flow is quite variable in the threat area. The skies are clear and sunny over the threat area, with a few clouds further east.

The dryline (black line) is not quite as sharp as yesterday, and a little farther west. The warm front (red) is a little more subtle. The winds are changing from southeast to southwest just behind this front. The temperature change is not strong.

The surface pressure chart shows no strong pressure systems or gradients so far this morning. The RAP shows this trend is expected to continue for at least the next six hours.

The Nested NAM simulated reflectivity shows thunderstorms firing around 19 Z, with storms clustering over eastern NM and southwestern TX. There’s a few short-lived cells in southwestern NM that remain discrete for a few minutes before merging with the line.

High temperatures will rise into the lower 90s F near the NM/TX border, reaching nearly 100 F along the east-west border and through southwest Texas.

The Nested NAM shows a more diffuse dryline. The moisture in eastern New Mexico is a little low, but not enough to eliminate the severe weather threat.

The Nested NAM CAPE/CINH plot is showing CAPE is peaking at around 3200 J/kg, with a weakening capping inversion along the west central NM border around 21 Z.

The helicity is tolerable, with a local maxima somewhere near Clovis, NM or even farther north.

The Nested NAM shows that the supercell parameter peaks a little farther north than the CAPE maxima.

The Nested NAM shows that the SigTor parameter will remain low throughout the event.

I think we are going to Hobbs and will regroup there. I am thinking our target are will be the triangle between:

1.  Tatum, NM
2.  Hobbs, NM
3.  Morton, TX

While the shear is a little better today, we still don’t have much help from the Lifted Condensation Level (LCL) heights. We have moisture, but the dryline is not as sharp as yesterday’s. There is diurnal heating, but I don’t think the temperatures are quite as hot as yesterday, at least in the area I am targeting. The surface winds aren’t as strong as yesterday, but perhaps that will improve later this morning.

That said, we don’t have all the variables today, but we do have different variables. The game will still be to play the dryline and the upslope flow. I am tempted to go farther north, perhaps to Clovis, and we still may do that, but for now, we will reevaluate in Hobbs.

Storm Prediction Center
College of Dupage – SATRAD


About highplainschasing

This blog is about my tales in storm chasing. My name is Seth Price and I am an instrumentation instructor at New Mexico Tech. My amateur radio call sign is N3MRA.
This entry was posted in Possible Chase Opportunity, Practicing Concepts, Predictions, Satellite Imagery, Severe Weather and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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