05.18.10

Chase #8

Posted in Storm Chasing at 11:09 am by Rebekah

Jeff and I are off to Amarillo today, in the hopes of seeing some supercells, lightning, hail, and possibly tornadoes.

The SPC issued a moderate risk today for the Texas Panhandle.  It looks to be a pretty classic dryline setup, with an elongated surface low forming in southeast Colorado / east New Mexico later today with a dryline extending south along the Texas / New Mexico border and a warm front lifting up through north Texas.

Dewpoints will be in the low to mid-60s in the Texas Panhandle with plenty of moisture convergence along the dryline.  Southeasterly surface winds of 10 to 15 knots veering to west-southwesterly 500mb winds of 30 to 40 knots will provide ample vertical wind shear for rotating storms.  I would like to see stronger upper-level winds, to improve speed shear, but perhaps the low-level jet will strengthen near evening and increase the shear.

Upper-level support will not be as strong as on Wednesday (I do plan on chasing tomorrow, too, as it looks even better, and will be closer to home)–but it certainly will be much better than forecast by the models last week.  A trough is approaching the Four Corners region and both the NAM and the GFS hint at subtle shortwaves that may increase lift in the Texas Panhandle.

Instability also leaves something to be desired.  Based on the NAM and the GFS, it looks like CAPE may reach 1500 to 2000 J/kg in the panhandle.  Mid-level lapse rates, however, appear to be more than sufficient for large hail, especially considering the general lack of a strong cap.

Our hopes are not too high today for seeing a tornado, though I would not completely discount the possibility.  I would tend to expect more LP to classic supercells with some nice structure and possibly large hail.  It’s also great scenery out in the Texas Panhandle, so I’m sure we’ll have a good day regardless of what the weather does.  =)

We’re currently just past Weatherford, Oklahoma, heading west on I-40 (Jeff’s driving to the target area, and I’ll take over from there…just so I don’t have to drive the entire day when it’s such a long way…).

We probably won’t be able to stream much today, as AT&T’s service isn’t very good in the panhandle.  My cell phone signal booster will be arriving later today, so I can use that tomorrow, but it wouldn’t do any good anyway where there isn’t a signal to begin with.

Preliminary target: Amarillo, Texas, and perhaps some points west of there, from Dalhart to Dimmitt.

NWS Amarillo Forecast

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