Andy Cole's Stormchase blog

Back on the plains in 2019 to share in nature's spectacle

Day 6 – The mother of all downpours

This day we chased back down in Texas south of Midland, and was characterised not by what we saw but by what we experienced.

We again arrived at the storm of the day as it formed, nice and early and found good position to its east. This time visibility was good and we were able to get close to a few wall clouds that looked like they might drop a ‘tube’ for us, alas it was not to be – the upper atmosphere support just wasn’t there today.

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We tracked the storm for a while until it started to merge with others as part of a big cluster. Somewhere in that cluster a brief touchdown was reported, but we had to dash south for fuel and the opportunity never arose to see it.

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We once again got ahead of the main storm, witnessing the most amazing hail curtain, stretched across the sky, deep blue in colour. Photo’s of hail always look like they have been touched up in photoshop. its hard to believe how bright the blue or green glow of large hail appears in a thunderstorm. The pictures below are raw, straight out of the camera with absolutely no processing.

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As we abandoned the storm, we lost radar and as a result accidentally drove straight into the core of another, sat completely stationary. The wind rain and hail was so hard we had to stop. After marveling in the horizontal hail for a while we realised that this was not going to move, and as a flash flood warning rang out from our phones we realised we had to push on through it.

After a couple of false starts following roads that all seemed to lead to lower, saturated ground, we decided to crawl east, watching nervously around us for water rising in the nearby farmland.

The rain core was actually pretty small, but stationary, and we emerged back into clear air fairly quickly.

We decided to hang our hats in Junction, Texas amidst another flash flood warning. We didn’t care though and went to sleep, knackered.

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