May 31, 2006: Colorado and New Mexico Storms

chase images and log by William T. Hark, M.D.

May 31 was a marginal day but there was still a possibility of storms in the eastern Colorado, and northeastern New Mexico. Jason and I started in Amarillo, TX. After a steak breakfast at the Big Texan, we were about to leave when we heard a faint mewing. It was cold, windy and rainy and the mewing faded with gusts of wind. We looked around and found a kitten hiding behind the front wheel of Jason's car. It was shaking and had singed whiskers. The cat was obviously very cold and scared. It was only a few months old and was probably near the engine for warmth. We stopped by Walmart for some cat supplies including a carrier. Luckily for the cat, Jason and his wife do cat rescue. Jason named her "meso."

After the cat was prepared with a carrier, some food, water and litter, we headed north to Boise City OK and met up with Charles Edwards of Cloud 9 Tours. Storms were already firing in Colorado. There was persistent development around Trinidad with some smaller storms to the southeast. We headed west on 160, initially targeting the storm moving east from Trinidad. Unfortunately, it became more outflow dominant. By then, one of several storms in northeastern New Mexico was becoming stronger. We dropped south on 389 through the town of Branson. Near the Capulin Volcano, we encountered minor flooding and hail. We headed southeast on 64 toward Clayton, New Mexico. The storm, now to our north, was all outflow. There was no chance of tornadic development. The scenery was still pretty, and Jason and I stopped to photograph the gustfront. Charles and his group stopped in Clayton for the evening. Jason and I followed the storm northeast along 412 back to Boise City, Oklahoma. There was some pretty lightning but nothing special. At one point, there was a suspicious lowering but as we got closer, it was obviously scud and an outflow feature. Jason decided to stay in Guymon before heading home. I checked some data in Guymon and decided there was not a decent possibility of tornadic development for the remainder of my vacation. I decided to drive back to Oklahoma City that night and was a able to catch a flight back to Virginia the next day. Thus, my chase vacation ended early. There's always next year.


The only tornadoes sighted on this trip

All images video stills except as indicated

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