Tuesday 8th May 2018
This day marked the first chase of the trip. We had plenty of ground to cover after leaving Oklahoma City first thing in the morning, and we would end up in Valentine Nebraska in the early evening. The conditions were not conducive to tornadic supercells, however decent wind shear and adequate instability would pave the way for some high based thunderstorms capable of producing frequent lightning and high winds.
This is exactly what greeted us, while it wasn't anything spectacular, it sure was a fun chase and well worth the 10 hour drive getting there.
Thursday 10th May 2018
On May 10th 2018 we ended up playing in western Nebraska. Nice instability and wind shear would allow isolated supercells to develop during the late afternoon. The only concern today would be moisture. Storm activity was expected to be high based, limiting any tornadic potential during the afternoon.
After hours of waiting, finally, a significant high based supercell develop dropping based ball sized hail! This storm was nicely structured and produced a spectacular cloud to ground lightning show that raged on into the evening hours.
Friday, May 11th 2018
This was a day where we were not expecting too much to happen. A large scrub fire develop to the south of Armarillo, Texas and generated a large pyrocumulus cloud. This continued to grow and right before our eyes, it developed in a fully fledged supercell!
We witnessed a barrage of close cloud to ground lightning strikes that went on to produce further grass fires across the region. This storm tracked all the way to the Oklahoma border before slowly dying.
Certainly an event that you don't get to witness too often!
Sunday, 13th May 2018
If May 2018 could be summed up into one day, it would be this day. Strong instability and ample moisture was in place, however wind shear would be lacking for today. There wasn't one potential chase day where we could get it all come together in May 2018 sadly.
However this day ended up producing a beautiful left moving LP supercell and a beastly HP off to our west in the late afternoon. The HP to the west was so strong it was literally sucking the life out of the cell ahead of it, causing a huge inflow tail to flow between the two storms.
The colours and lightning from the HP storm to the west was quite amazing, it slowly began to die as it headed towards the Oklahoma border.
Tuesday, 22nd May 2018
New Mexico was the target on this day, and it didn't disappoint! Adequate shear, moisture and instability would be in place for a few supercells to develop over the higher terrain across central New Mexico before moving east.
We intercepted 3 different supercells, all with nice structure, lightning and some impressive hail! Sadly, the tornado threat would be basically no existent once again. That didn't stop us for having a wonderful day, the storms even followed us back to Roswell where we stayed the night. It provided a nice light show into the evening hours.
Wednesday, 23rd May 2018
May 23rd, 2018 will be a day that I will always remember. We stayed in Roswell once again the night before and decided to play the same region as on the 22nd, the mountains to the west.
With dew points in the mid 60's (F) across the region, a very unstable atmosphere would exist during the late afternoon, however weak to moderate shear would limit any tornadic potential, or at least so we thought. By late afternoon, a powerful classic supercell had developed over the top of the mountains, we had a perfect vantage point thanks to a dirt road on top of a hill. We were already shell shocked by the incredible structure that this storm possessed! Soon after it began to get "the look" to it, and as we were discussing the possibility that we may see a tornado, a tornado warning was issued. Within 60 seconds a large cone descended to the ground, much to the rousing applause of our guests! This tornado lasted around 23 minutes and was a sight to behold on my last chase day of 2018.
Up until this moment, I was resigned with the fact that for the first time in my US chase history, I would go home tornado-less. The world works in mysterious ways! What a day!!!