New Mexico LP Supercell (?brief landspout): May 25, 2005

I had very low expectations for the day. Upper level support was poor along with low dewpoints and only a small area of predicted backing in the winds. A cold front was moving south into New Mexico from Colorado. My initial target was in the Capulin area of New Mexico, but I revised it southward as the front moved south. Jason Persoff (1V) and I ate a quick breakfast in Lamar and headed west and south. I saw more chasers than residents while driving through Lamar. We headed south on 109, then used some back roads to get to the Capulin area. This is beautiful terrain with mesas, scrub and abundant wildflowers.(2V) The volcano vanished into the clouds. South of Clayton, we broke into sunshine and warmer temperatures. We were past the front but still in northwesterly winds. To the west, storms were forming along the mountains in a north south line. Road options were difficult, but I wanted to target the most southerly storm. With the poor outlook, we drove leisurely with many stops to photograph wildflowers and landscapes. At 4:20 PM MDT, we found some especially pretty flowers north of Nara Visa. We dropped south on 402 and checked data in Logan. The storms to the west were not impressive and the northerly ones were being undercut by the approaching front. I almost considered ending the chase bit figured the southernmost storm would at least be photogenic. We headed toward Tucumcari, then west on 54. The most southern storm began to look more organized on the Baron Threatnet and was beginning to turn right. The large storm was north of Santa Rosa in an area with no roads. At 5:45PM, we could see the crisp updraft. Another smaller storm was developing to our west. The base of the larger storm became visible. Rotation was indicated on the Baron system. A small storm (3V) directly to our west was exploding. We noticed a dark column (4V) under the rainfree base at 5:45PM. This feature was persistent for a couple of minutes before vanishing. It was in the correct place for a tornado. When it vanished, it was not replaced by multiple columns nor did it expand which would indicate rain columns. We were too far to confirm rotation. The northern and larger storm was also organizing and producing lightning (5V) . A clear slot was visible. Rotation was increasing as shown on the Baron system. We pulled off 54 at the Cuervo exit and watched the LPish storm to our west and the larger storm to the northwest. A wall cloud developed at 6:14PM while the Baron was showing 113 mph shear. There was inflow with gusts to approximately 30 mph. Unfortunately, the storm to our west (and south of the larger storm) was growing and cutting off the larger one. The wall cloud soon vanished. The storm to the west had a "stack of plates" appearance with midlevel inflow jets. (Image 1 (6P), Image 2 (7P),Image 3 (8V). The inflow increased (9V) but the storms were becoming part of a larger amalgamation of cores north and over the road. The storm that was originally to our west, was now moving southeast near 85. Behind it to the north were multiple cores. There were also a couple of storms in an east west orientation near Tucumcari. We drove west, then southeast on 85. At one point, we were between several hail cores (10V) . The edges of the storms towered above us. Eventually, we were hit the hail and wind as we passed along the western core of the southernmost storm. The structure was beautiful and we stopped for lighting and other images. In Fort Sumner, I watched debris and tumble weeds (11V) blow through town. Jason decided to wait and take lightning images (12V) while I continued east on 60. I ended the day in Clovis, New Mexico. Video was submitted to The Weather Channel but not used.

(1V) (2V) (3V) (4V)
(5V) (6P) (7P) (8V)
(9V) (10V) (11V) (12V)


(V -- Video Still. P -- Scanned from slide, Fuji Velvia 100)

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