Artesia, NM Mothership Supercell Thunderstorm. 9-17-2016.

Blog Updated 9-19-2016 @ 6:31 PM MDT.

Diane & I Chase A Monster Of A Supercell!

 Saturday, Sept 17, 2016. 
Courtesy Of Diane J. Malone.

My Wife (Diane) And I Took Old Yo Crossing Rd. South Out Of Roswell And Finally Got Out In Front Of This Monster Of A Supercell Thunderstorm On St. Hwy 13. She Took This Photo Near Mile Marker 11. Pretty Much Describes Rural Southeastern New Mexico.


3:09 PM MDT: This Beast Had Multiple Wall Clouds That At Times Showed Slow Rotation And At Other Times Was Spinning Like A Top. This Was A Ground Hugger At Times As Well. Initially When This Storm Developed South Of Picacho It Was Showing A Northeastward Movement On Radar. That Didn't Last Long As It Intensified And Started Heading East Then Made A Right Turn (Right Mover) And Took Off To The Southeast. At Times Moving Southeastward At 15-20 MPH Then It Would Accelerating To 40 MPH. 


3:47 PM MDT: We Are About 1 Mile West Of Hope In Western Eddy County On US Hwy 82. A Clear Slot Developed As The Rear Flank Downdraft (RFD) Was Attempting To Wrap Around The Backside Of This Wall Cloud. For A few Minutes We Thought Maybe A Tornado Was Fixing To Form But It Didn't.



4:10 PM MDT: We Are 3 Miles West Of The Artesia Airport On Us Hwy 82. I Just Could Not Believe That This Persistent Rotating Wall Cloud Did Not Produce A Tornado! Check Out The Tail Cloud On The Right Hand Side Of It. Notice Too The Blue Green Colors On The Left. We Knew That Artesia Was Fixing To Get Bombed By Big Hail..,And They Did. 


4:16 PM MDT: Looking West From The Junction Of The Artesia Airport Rd And US Hwy 82. Again The Incredible Colors With This Beast. Lance Goodrich The Artesia Airport Manager Reported Later Saturday Evening That They Sustained A Lot Of Vehicle And Hangar Damage From Baseball Size Hail. Our Ground Hugging Wall Cloud Is Rotating Like Crazy.


Looking North At A New Tail Cloud Developing Right Over The Top Of The Artesia Airport. 


4:26 PM MDT: This Beast Accelerated In Its Forward Movement To The Southeast And As We Entered Western Artesia On West Main Just East Of The Airport We Started Getting Bombed With Golf Ball Size Hail. My Wife Is Checking Facebook And My Text Messages And She's Telling Me That Multiple Reports Of Baseballs In Cottonwood And North Artesia Are Coming In. 

Now I'm Seriously Worried About Artesia And Us. This Monster Overtook Us Before We Could Get Far Enough South Of It On South 13th St. To Stay In Front Of It. I Pull Over To Make Another Phone Call On South 26th On The Edge Of Town .There Were Multiple Calls To The Midland National Weather Service Office With Our Reports On The Storm As Well As Those We Were Getting From The Public. Again Thank You To All Of You Who Sent Me Your Reports, Photos, And Videos.

 I Look Up And We Are Sitting Under This Rapidly Rotating Wall Cloud (Photo Above). Time To Panic And I Did. This Was Not Where I Wanted To Be And Now I Have Just Scared The Crap Out Of  Us. 43 Years Of Storm Chasing In Southeastern New Mexico And Trust Me I know Better Than To Let This Happen To Us. I Know We Got Lucky. I Was Upset And So Was My Wife..Probably More So Than I...With Me For Getting Too Close. 

(4:27 PM MDT).


Here Is The Cannon AFB Radar Screenshot I Captured One Minute After I Took The Photo Above. Look At The Notch In The Base Reflectivity Mode (0.5). This Storm Was Sooo Close To Producing A Tornado It Was Unreal. The Storm Relative Velocity Values (SRV) Were -70 Knots And +61 Knots. So At The Lowest Elevation Of The Radar Beam (15,000' MSL) The Storm Had 81 MPH Winds Moving Away From The Radar And 70 MPH Winds Moving Towards The Radar.That's  Impressive Rotation But Apparently The Storm Just Never Tightened Up Enough To Spit Out A Tornado. At Least None That I Am Aware Of. Was Estimating The Hail Size At The Time To Be 1.5" In Diameter Or Ping Pong Ball Size.

(4:27 PM MDT). 


Here Is The Same Storm At The Same Time Looking At It Via The Midland National Weather Service Doppler Radar. Again The Storm Is Notched But Also Appears On The Verge Of Splitting? The Storm Relative Velocity Values (SRV) Were -101 Knots And +96 Knots. So At The Lowest Elevation Of The Radar Beam (17,500' MSL) The Storm Had 116 MPH Winds Moving Away From The Radar And 110 MPH Winds Moving Towards The Radar. So The Rotation Appeared Stronger On The Midland Radar.

 My Wife And I Never Did See A Tornado From This Storm. We Counted 3 Brief Funnel Clouds That Never Touched Down. We Chased This Storm From Southwest Of Roswell, Or Northwest Of Hope, On St. Hwy 13 East To Hope, And Into Artesia, And Then South To Lakewood. It Did At Least On Radar Become Tornadic Until Later In Lea County. We Don't Know What It Did From East Of Lakewood Southeast To Jal Since We Did Not Continue To Chase It Down There.


4:42 PM MDT: After Racing South Down South 13th St. We Finally Got Ahead Of The Storm Again And Headed South Down US Hwy 285. Lots And Lots Of Hail Reporting Coming In Via Facebook, Twitter, And My Text Messages. Also Getting Reports Of Skylight, Vehicle Windshields, And Home Windows Being Broken By The Hail. We pull Over Again At The Lakewood Turn Off And Watch This Thing Spin Up A Couple Of Funnel Clouds...Although They Never Touched Down. 


4:55 PM MDT: Diane Captures This Shot Of A Funnel Cloud Oscillating Up And Down For A Few Minutes. 


5:02 PM MDT: Check Out The Hail Core As The Storm Crosses The Pecos River Northeast Of Lakewood. Its Still Moving To The Southeast.


5:17 PM MDT: Diane Zooms In On The Hail Shaft. We Are Still At The Lakewood Turnoff. Id Bet That There Was At Least Baseballs If Not Bigger In That Hail Shaft.


7:00 PM MDT: I Debated Whether Or Not To Continue Chasing That Supercell As It Headed Towards The WIPP Site And Eventually On To Jal In Southeastern Lea County. I Chose Not Too Because I Didn't Think I Would Be Abel To Get Ahead Of By The Time We Could Get TO St Hwy 128. Our Storm Proceeded To Clobber Jal Also With Lots Of Hail Damage. NWS Midland Upgraded The Severe Thunderstorm Warning To A Tornado Warning Soon After It Moved East Of Carlsbad.

Anyway We Headed South Down US Hwy 62/180 To Whites City Where We Ran Into Some Pea Size Hail. We Pushed South To About 4 Miles North Of The NM/TX State Line Where I Shot The Photo Above Looking Back To The North. NWS Midland Issued A Severe Thunderstorm Warning On It But There Was No Way I Was Going To Core Punch It...Id Had Enough Excitement For A day. 


7:24 PM MDT: We Are At The Junction Of Bounds Rd And Black River Village Rd South Of Carlsbad Looking Back To The South At Our Storm As It Moved East Of Whites City. Given The Lateness Of The Season This May Be Our Last Chase This Year...But By All Means The Best One Of The Year And In The Best One In Several Years For Sure. 

Artesia Residents Take Some Incredible Photos Of The Storm.


Jennifer Coats Captured This Awesome Shot Of The Mothership As It Was Moving Southeastward Towards Artesia. I Don't Have The Words To Adequately Describe This Photo- Congrats Jennifer!


Sarah Layne Savage Shot This One As The Beast Was Bearing Down On Artesia. The Storm Structure Or Banding In This Photo Is Known As "Stacked Plates". A Clear Visual Indication That This Supercell Thunderstorm Had Lots Of Strong Rotation In It. 


Darla Vernon Took This Photo. Just Another Incredible Shot Of The Storm Structure.


Doozie Saenz Shot This One From What Looks Like To Be The Wal Mart Parking Lot In Artesia On The West Side Of Town. She Was Looking West. Notice The Ground Scraping Wall Cloud On The Front Of The Storm. And The Banding In The Tower! There Is That Blue-Green Color Too Indicating A Massive Hail Core. 

Artesia Residents Take Some Incredible Hail Photos.


We Passed Chaves County Storm Chaser Corey King On St. hwy 13 At Mile Marker #25. I'm Not Sure But I Think That This Is Where He May Have Gotten Bombed By The Large Hail. At Least That's Where His Spotter Position On Radar Scope Was When The Hail Core Rolled Over Hwy 13. Sorry We Didn't Stop And Chat Corey But I Was Trying To Stay Ahead Of This Beast.

Courtesy of Julie Carroll Pinson.

Courtesy Of Lydia Davis.

Courtesy Of Tammy Blancet Anderson.



Artesia Airport Manager Lance Goodrich Took These Three Photos At The Airport. He Reported Extensive Damages To Vehicles And Hangars. 

Courtesy Of karen Reyes. 

Courtesy Of Jennifer Coats.

Courtesy Of Stayce Smith. 

Courtesy Of Stayce Smith.



Artesia Resident Captures The Mothership & Wall Cloud On Video.



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