Green Sky Chaser

14 June 2010 Chase Log


Target Area: Ralls/Matador, Texas

Chase Area: Crowell/Aspermont/Spur, Texas

Observations: two shelf clouds, one or two supercells, squall line, hail, lightning, an incredible sunset with mammatus clouds, and a green sky

Distance: 765 miles

Time: 15 hours, 40 minutes

Chase Team: Jeff Makowski and myself

SPC Convective Outlook: Slight Risk (Click to see SPC products, data, and storm reports)

Chase Setup: A mid-level trough ran from New Mexico to the Northern Plains. A surface low was located near the southern New Mexico / Texas border, while a dryline stretched south from the low into southwest Texas and a stationary front ran northeastward through the southern Texas Panhandle. Ahead of the dryline, surface winds were from the southeast, temperatures were in the 90s, and dewpoints were in the 60s. MLCAPE was between 1000 and 2000 J kg-1 in west Texas and the southeast Texas Panhandle. Effective SRH was highest, at 150 to 300 m2 s-2, from near Lubbock to southern Oklahoma; 0 to 6 km bulk shear in this area was between 40 and 50 knots.

Blog Entries:

Chase #15 (before)

Chase #15 Evaluation and Chase #16 (after)

Chase Log: We set off for the area just east of Lubbock, Texas, hoping to catch any supercells forming along the stationary front. Just south of Crowell, we got on a tornado-warned supercell. However, this storm did not stay discrete for long and we soon had a line of storms that formed a big bow echo.

In Guthrie, we decided to stop at a gas station as another supercell within the line was about to overtake us. As I stood outside taking photos of a large, beautiful shelf cloud, someone ran across the street to tell Jeff and I that there was a basement under the courthouse (just across from us), if we needed to take shelter. However, the storm was only warned for quarter-size hail at this point, so we were not too concerned.

The worst of the storm slid just past us, and all we got at our location was pea-size hail. We tried to follow the line northeastward, in order to look for larger hail, but we didn't see anything on the ground.

As the southern part of the line started to wrap up in a bookend vortex, we decided to go southwestward a bit and see if we could get some hail in that part of the storm. We just barely made it to shelter in Jayton when we began to get buffeted by strong winds, heavy rain, and pea-size hail. We also saw another nice shelf cloud ahead of the line.

As it was now fairly late in the day, we decided to head back. Just south of Spur, we saw an incredible display of mammatus clouds. We stopped in town for dinner at a Dairy Queen, where I had to keep running outside and photographing the sunset against the mammatus clouds.

On the way back, we saw a great lightning show. We also briefly stopped in Matador at Bob's Oil Well, a historic well with an interesting history.