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Hope & Carlsbad, NM Supercell T-Storms 5-29-2016.


Blog Updated @ 8:07 AM MDT Monday, May 30, 2016.


We Are 4.5 Miles South Of Hope, NM In Eddy County Looking NW At 2:17 PM MDT. We Notice That A Blue-Green Tent is Showing Up In The Storm As It Begins Producing Hail...Possibly Large.
The Storm Started Out Moving To The Northeast But Quickly Turned To The Southeast Making It A Right Mover Or Right Moving Supercell Thunderstorm.


This Is A GR2Analyst Radar Snapshot Of The Storm At 2:17 PM MDT. Using The Midland NWS Dual Pol Radar. Maximum Radar Reflectivity Is 69 DBZ At This Time. 


Meanwhile To Our Southeast This LP Supercell Thunderstorm Was Getting Its Act Together West Of Carlsbad At 2:17 PM MDT. This Storm Was Moving Generally To The East Towards Carlsbad. Note The White Streak Coming Out Of The Middle Of The Storm...A Hail Shaft Has Developed.


Heading South Out Of Hope On Armstrong Road We Turned Back To The East On Rockin R Red Rd (Eddy County Rd #21). And I Snapped This Shot At 2:49 PM MDT. 


Radar Shows A Healthy Storm With Somewhat Of A Classic "Bird" Shape - Indicating Good Inflow At The Low And Mid Levels And Good Ventilation At The Upper Levels. The Storm Is Still Moving To The Southeast At This Time. 


At 3:11 PM MDT When I Shot This Photo The Storm Is Fully Developed. A Hail Shaft Is Visible To Our South On The Western End Of The Storm.

At 3:13 PM MDT Midland NWS Radar Indicates That This LP Supercell Thunderstorm May Be Getting Close To Becoming Severe. Hail Just A Little Over An Inch Is Being Indicated By The Radar 5 Miles West Of The Junction Of US Hwy 285 And State Hwy 137 (Queens Highway). 


Twin Funnel Clouds (You Won't See This Very Often) Pop Out Of The Backside Of A Small Wall Cloud West 2 Miles West Of Us At 3:35 PM MDT. I Took This Photo When They Where The Most Developed And Did Not Drop Down Any Closer To The Ground Than This. Mid Level Funnels. 

My Spotter Report Submitted To The Midland National Weather Service Office-

(5/29/2016 3:41:52 PM) nwsbot: MAF: NOT CONFIRMED/NOT FOR MEDIA RELEASE -- from Wendell Malone (via spotternetwork.org) @ 21:39 UTC -- (S) Funnel -- -- Event is 11 miles NW of SEVEN RIVERS, NM (Eddy county) [32.688/-104.578]-- A small mid level funnel cloud was observed for two minutes which dissipated at 3:39 PM MDT 2 miles to my west. (SN#23750).


Looking At The Midland NWS Radar Snapshot At 3:37 PM MDT We See That Our Storm Has Continued Moving To The Southeast But Has Moved About As Far South As It Is Going To Go. The Storm West Of Carlsbad Has Fallen Apart And It Was The Outflow Winds From Its Collapse (Which Where Gusting Up To 40-50 MPH From The Southeast) That Fed Our Storm And Caused It To Rotate Thus The Twin Funnel Clouds. Notice Also That The Outflow Winds From Our Storm Has Kicked Up Another Storm Over Lake Arthur Which Would Become Severe And Warned On.


Same Storms At The Same Time But Looking At Them With The Cannon AFB Radar At 3:34 PM MDT. Cannon Indicates That Hail Possibly Up To 2" In Diameter Is Falling From Our Storm.


A Few Minutes Later At 3:44 PM MDT Another Funnel Cloud Forms Rapidly In Front Of Us About Two Miles North Of Our Position. I Tried Shooting Video Of It With My Busted Lens And That Didn't Work. So I Wasted Time And A Good Shot Doing That. I Switched Lens And Got This One Photo Before The Funnel Cloud Dissipated. It Formed Out Of A Small Wall Cloud And Lasted A Couple Of Minutes. 

My Spotter Report Submitted To The Midland National Weather Service Office-

(5/29/2016 3:47:47 PM) nwsbot: MAF: NOT CONFIRMED/NOT FOR MEDIA RELEASE -- from Wendell Malone (via spotternetwork.org) @ 21:45 UTC -- (S) Funnel -- -- Event is 9 miles W of DAYTON, NM (Eddy county) [32.709/-104.544]-- Second funnel cloud formed 3 miles to my north and lasted two mts before dissipating. Brief rotating wall cloud coming and going. (SN#23752).


Midland NWS Radar Shows That Our Storm Is Quickly Collapsing On Us At 3:42 PM MDT As Its Inflow Is Being Cutoff From The Storms Near Carlsbad To The South. As Our Storm Dies Its Outflow Winds Hep The Storm Over Lake Arthur To The Northeast Blow Up And Become Severe.

(4:15 - 4:30 PM MDT.)


NWS Midland Radar Snapshot Of The Storm That Produced Quarter To Golf Ball Size Hail In Carlsbad And Otis As Its Rolling Into Town At 4:14 PM MDT Sunday Afternoon.



Courtesy Of Chris Atwood In Carlsbad.

My Time Lapse Video Of Our Chase.


The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!

25th Anniversary Of The Carlsbad, NM (May 31, 1991) Tornado Coming Up.


Blog Updated @ 3:11 PM MDT.

Click On The Photos & Newspaper Articles To Enlarge Them.


On May 31, 1991 at 8:39 PM MDT a then rated (F-2 Tornado touched down 2.1 miles southeast of the Carlsbad Airport (as the crow flies) just southwest of the end of Wagonwheel Rd. A day and time that many local residents will never forget. Newspaper articles at the time reported conflicting reports (understandably so) concerning the damage, injuries, and the time of the tornado. To many residents this was a shock...not something that we are used to seeing or dealing with. 

The tornado touched down right at dusk. Cass Hernandez who was the Carlsbad Airport Security Guard at the time observed the tornado 2 miles southeast of the Airport as power flashes occurred from the tornado destroying power lines and transformers. It was eerie looking contrasted with the darkness and power flashes but there was no mistaking what was happening.


The Tornado's path is circled in red on the map above and is a rough estimate.

My Account Of The Tornado That I Submitted To The "American Weather Observer."





Local Newspaper Accounts Of The Tornado.

Carlsbad Current Argus - June 2, 1991.




El Paso Times - June 2, 1991.





Carlsbad Current Argus - June 3, 1991.





Note that the worst damage from the tornado occurred on the less populated north side of Wagonwheel Rd. We found debris from the tornado scattered out in a circular path up to three miles from Wagonwheel Rd. Including a Bible and insulation from homes that we picked up off Runway 03/21 at the Carlsbad Airport. 

I accompanied Mr. Don Bateman the OIC of the Roswell, New Mexico National Weather Service Office at the time during his damage survey the morning after the tornado. I took all of the photos posted on this blog, made copies of them and gave them to Don who then submitted them to the Albuquerque National Weather Service Office. 

Don and I measured the width and length of the tornado which was exactly 285 yards wide and a mile long. The tornado lifted shortly after it destroyed a garage full of vehicles at the corner of Harkness and Old Cavern Highway. The time that the tornado was on the ground was only minutes according to witnesses. 

We counted thirteen mobile homes that were completely destroyed and fifty seven other homes, barns, sheds, and out buildings that were damaged by the tornado. I called in one of my weather observers to come work for me at the Carlsbad Airport Flight Service Station Weather Office and arrived on scene that night at 10:00 PM MDT. I was told that there were twenty one people injured, ten of which were transported to the Carlsbad Medical Center. Thankfully nobody died in this event. 


Artesia Daily Press - June 2, 1991.




Note the home in the background escaped serious damage.


This double wide mobile home was demolished yet the power poles and lines in the back of it survived the tornado's wrath. Note how the tornado bent the steel frame of the home.


Looking north on Old Cavern Highway. Note that the power poles on the left had already been replaced that next morning when I shot this photo. Notice the refrigerator (I think that's what it was anyway) next to the mailbox on the right hand side and the debris in the power lines. 


Again looking down down Old Cavern Highway.


This photo has always fascinated me. Notice the small tree in front of what is left of a mobile home. A few leaves were strippped off but its mostly intact. As were the homes in the background. Tornadoes do weird things.


South side of Wagonwheel Rd. This shed took a direct hit while minimal damage occurred to the mobile home both south and north of it. 


What looks to be metal roofing is wrapped around a metal pole. Note the tree and debris in the background contrasted with the home not damaged.


Looking southwest on Wagonwheel Rd. What is left of a mobile home was blown south across the street and into this yard. Only the air conditioner suffered damage on the mobile home in the background, and these trees and fencing too were left standing.


Looking northwest from the southern end of Wagonwheel Rd near where the tornado first touched down to the left of the photo. 


A mobile home once stood here. Gone with the wind/tornado.


Please note that the edits on some of my photos were done years later when I used them on previous blogs. I shot all of these photos with my Cannon AE-1 35 MM Camera. Mobile homes and vehicles are the worst places you can be during a tornado.


This mobile home was completely destroyed - yet across the street minimal damage.


These folks were lucky if you can call it that. Minimal damage to their roof while other double wide mobile homes were destroyed nearby.

Can This Happen Again?

Yes and its not a matter of if it will happen but when. Are you ready...do you have a plan for you and your loved ones during severe weather? If not now is the time to get one. Tornadoes are not rare in New Mexico. On average about ten tornadoes a year touch down in the state with most of them occurring over the eastern one third of the state on the eastern plains. It has been estimated that on average six of these occur in southeastern New Mexico each year. Some years have none and then every so often we see a "swarm" of them like in 1991 when 31 touchdowns were recorded.


Roughly every ten years according to the Albuquerque National Weather Service Office and the Storm Prediction Center New Mexico experiences a strong tornado (EF2 or stronger). Shortly after sunset on March 23, 2007 an (EF-2) tornado cut a path of destruction through the southeastern side of Clovis. This tornado was on the ground for 8.02 miles and was 350 yards wide. It caused $16.5 million dollars in damages. Over five hundred homes were damaged, 33 people were injured, and two fatalities were noted. We are due folks.

Other Blogs I've Posted:

Could It Happen Here?


Limited Tornado History In SE NM 1950-2011.




The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!

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