Monday, May 17, 2010

5/17 - 11:30pm CDT - We Saw a Funnel Cloud in Texas Today!

About an hour after we left Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, storms began to form from the mountains of West Texas to Roswell, New Mexico. We intercepted the strongest of these supercells just north of Kermit, Texas and began to follow it as it progressed northward. As we stopped on the side of the road to watch it, a small funnel dipped down from the updraft base a few miles away and sent us scrambling for our cameras (it wasn't a terribly impressive storm so nobody had their cameras ready!). The funnel lasted for only a few seconds, so by the time I had scraped my leg up badly on the thorny Texas brush trying to get my camera out of the SUV, it had disappeared. It was definitely a funnel because it was very smooth and had obvious rotation. That was about all the action we saw today because the numerous supercells around the region began to merge into a line after contaminating each others' inflows with cold outflow air.

Today was good because we got to at least see a storm (and a funnel!), but tomorrow should be better because the storms will have a fighting chance at being tornadic. A low in New Mexico will slide north slightly tomorrow, which will trigger southwest winds in East New Mexico and easterly winds south of Lubbock, Texas. 500mb diffluence over West Texas will cause air to rise from the surface and a fast jet at the upper levels will begin to creep into the area tomorrow evening. Something we did not have on our side today was good shear, but tomorrow will be much improved with bulk shear values over 60 kt. Energy Helicity Indicies (EHI) of over 1 near Lubbock won't hurt either, so I think things will come together tomorrow for a better chance of some good supercells. The SPC has issued a 30% Slight risk area for tomorrow, so it seems they're seeing the setup come together like we are.

1 comment:

David Kirk said...

Hello from Kermit, Texas!