Northeast New Mexico Supercells

June 11 , 2005

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This day began in Amarillo, Texas. I chased with Patti today, and met Al Moller in New Mexico later during the afternoon. Surface maps and the RUC suggested that upslope flow into the high terrain of northeastern New Mexico, underneath adequate wind shear aloft, would support supercell thunderstorms. The limiting factor appeared to be surface moisture, which was somewhat limited.

We drove to Clayton, New Mexico where we had an excellent lunch at the Eklund Hotel in downtown Clayton. After lunch, we drove to Capulin Mountain to watch storms develop to our west near Raton, and southwest near Springer.

This was an interesting day in New Mexico, but we missed several tornadoes that occurred near Happy, Texas, and a large tornado that developed near South Plains, Texas around sunset. This tornado was reported to have been over 1/2 mile wide, and supposedly stayed on the ground for the better part of an hour!

. Photo of the Eklund Hotel, which was recently renovated. If you ever pass through Clayton on the way to somewhere else, be sure to stop. They don't serve breakfast, but they do serve lunch and supper.
Looking north down the long driveway that leads to one of the many ranches in northeastern New Mexico.

After arriving at Capulin Mountain, an inactive cinder cone volcano, we decided to take a few photos. This is the loo with a view!


Looking west toward a developing cumulonimbus, with white mountain lupin in the foreground.

Another photo of the view across the countryside, with the developing CB in the distance.

This white lupin was at the side of the road on the volcano.
This photo was shot with a graduated neutral density filter in front of the lens to darken the sky, relative to the ground.
Here is a telephoto shot of the developing CB.


Looking west-southwest at a small supercell. Here we jump forward in time several hours to a small supercell that developed southwest of Clayton, on the highway to Springer, New Mexico.

Note the occluded flank in the distance and the updraft base overhead. Both the distant flank and the base overhead were rotating. This photo was shot looking generally toward the west.

We drove underneath the RFD clearslot and stopped. A hail roar could be heard to the north. Occasional cloud to ground lightning was occurring just north of the road. The storm produced frequent in-cloud lightning, adding rolling thunder to the more muted hail roar coming from the precipitation area.

We let the storm move east of our location as we watched a new storm approach from the direction of Springer. The storm had weakened considerably.
We drove back to the east of the storm, after it had again regained some strength, although it never again approached the strength that it had achieved when we first intercepted the storm.

Here is a shot of the next storm that was approaching from the direction of Springer.

Later, an explosion of convection occurred to our east, between Texline and Dalhart. Note the overturning of the convection near the updraft summit. Updraft rates were extreme with this storm.

Copyright 2005 - Samuel D. Barricklow - All rights reserved.

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Last revised: January 11, 2007