June 2, 2006 - Supercell Thunderstorms over Northeastern New Mexico

by Sam Barricklow

This day began in Raton, New Mexico.

The forecast inidicated that supercells would be possible over this area. Storms developed first over the mountains, and then extended eastward into the high plains of northeastern New Mexico during the afternoon. The result was some of the best photography of this year's chase. No photogenic tornadoes, but some excellent storm structure and HD time-lapse!


This high based supercell thunderstorm developed just southwest of Raton, New Mexico.
Later in the afternoon, storms developed along the ridge that runs from Raton to north of Clayton, New Mexico.
This high based storm located near Des Moines, New Mexico, produced an interesting cascade of rain and hail up to marble size.
Late in the afternoon, another storm developed in Colorado, north of Clayton. This storm became a powerful supercell, and moved slowly southeast during the late afternoon and evening, eventually dissipating around midnight just northwest of Amarillo. The storm produced a series of mesocyclones. (Looking northeast here and in the subsequent photos.)
Note the inflow spoke shaped clouds. Although at the time, I thought that these inflow cloudbands were focused on a cyclonic updraft, the time-lapse shows that they were flowing into an area of anti-cyclonic rotation. The area of cyclonic rotation was farther north, and was mostly shielded from view by rain curtains. However, under northwesterly flow aloft, the cyclonically rotating updraft is often on the northwestern side of the precipitation area.
The storm became more linear for a while, but developed a forward flank updraft as it moved just east of Clayton around sunset.
Looking northwest at curtains of rain and small hail. After sunset, the storm became more electrically active, but produced mainly in-cloud lightning.


Copyright 2006 - Samuel D. Barricklow - All Rights Reserved

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Last revised: November 28, 2008