Wednesday, May 8, 2013 — Northwest TX


I've run out of ways to describe the embarrassing setups in this miserable season.

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After taking the worst final of my life in the morning, I needed a good chase. Too bad it's still 2013. Meager moisture and lackluster deep-layer shear combined to limit the ceiling of potential on this day to marginal levels. I departed around 1:30pm and routed myself through LAW-LTS, then SW to Quanah. By the time I got there, several supercells had exploded along the dryline in W TX. The nearest was located just W of CDS, and as luck would have it, appeared the most robust for the time being. However, it was also nearly stationary, so I had some catching up to do.

When I finally made it through traffic in CDS and emerged W of town, the supercell had structure fairly typical for moisture-starved environments, but was developing a decent wall cloud nonetheless. I continued on to Estelline, recording about 15 minutes of video intended for time-lapse along the way.

The supercell -- which had been raging for at least 90 minutes -- fell victim to capping not long after my arrival. Unfortunately, radar suggested this to be a synoptic-scale problem, with most of the other dryline storms trending rapidly down. However, cells farther S were reinvigorated after 20-30 minutes, sending everyone on the CDS storm hauling in that direction. As I approached this next cell down the line from the backside, near Paducah, the updraft was quite photogenic.

About 2 SE Paducah, I found melted hailstones measuring up to 2" in diameter. After some photography, I pressed E using backroads. While the storm provided lots of photo ops, it quickly became apparent that it would be nothing more than that, as CINH began increasing for good.

As I started to plot my route home, I came upon Wes photographing an abandoned house SE of Paducah, so I stopped and chatted. We found very sporadic hailstones still measuring 2-2.5" at least a half-hour after falling, presumably in the RFD (the track of the main core was N of this location). After catching up and showing off our latest gear, we headed back to CDS to scrounge for whatever food remained available (Subway, in my case), then parted ways. I made it home around 1am.