My Storm Chase Log - Friday, May 19, 2023 - If It Could Have Gone Wrong - It Did.

4:24 PM MDT.
Friday, May 19, 2023.
Low Precipitation Supercell Thunderstorm.
Located About 5 Miles Northwest Of Lake Arthur, NM.

If It Could Have Gone Wrong - It Did.

Chase day, finally. So far it's been rather quiet as far as severe thunderstorms are concerned here in the Pecos Valley of Southeastern New Mexico. Today offered a change and off I went. I left Carlsbad and made a brief stop at Atoka Grocery (my brother and sister-in-law own it) south of Artesia for lunch. Then headed north to the junction of State Hwy 13 and US Hwy 285. I gave Jim Tucker the Chaves County Skywarn Coordinator a call and asked him to chase with me. He wasn't able to tag along with me but did take off on his own later in the afternoon.

I ended up driving west on State Hwy 13 to about halfway to the junction of US Hwy 82 west of Hope. A couple of t-storms were pulsing up and down near the Flying H Ranch and were moving to the northeast. They developed and died so I backtracked to the junction of Old Y O Crossing road and headed north. I ended up taking a couple of ranch roads west to check out new storms popping to my southwest and west.

Jim and I had a couple of phone conservations about the storms and he decided to hang around Roswell since a new storm was developing southwest of town or about 30 miles to my west. Meanwhile my attention is drawn to a new tower going up some 20 miles to my southwest. Right on cue the Cannon Air Force Base Doppler Radar goes down. I swear I don't know which fails the most, the Cannon Radar or the Guadalupe Pass ASOS. Never mind I'm northeast of the storm with a great view of it so I sit and watch.

I'm sitting on the side of a caliche road (Chaves County Rd #112) about 13 miles west-southwest of Dexter having a grand ol time watching my storm to the southwest of me slowly getting better organized. Time to break out my GoPro Hero 11 Black camera. I ended up getting some really cool time-lapse videos of my rotating Low Precipitation Supercell thunderstorms to my southwest and "Jim's" storm to my west. Both initially were tracking off to the northeast but then made that right hand turn to the east, then southeast. 

Time to break out my MIOPS Lightning Strike Trigger for my Nikon D5600 Camera. As hard as I tried I could not get the thing to work for me last year so time to try again. Failure number two right along with the Cannon Radar. I had a couple of nice cloud to ground strikes within ten miles of me but...the stupid trigger once again failed to capture them. I'm surprised why? I'm beginning to think I wasted a couple hundred bucks for nothing on this stupid thing. Hey I'm stubborn and a glutton for punishment so I recently purchased online the MIOPS "Bolt" trigger..it show arrive soon. Man I'm really hoping that thing works. 

This is why I don't live stream when I'm chasing. In the past when I've tried it I spent more time trying to find a spot with a good internet connection, and messing with the electronics, than I do watching the storms. Maybe I'm jinkxed but I swear electronics are not my friends sometimes when I chase. 

Another phone conservation with Jim and he heads south of Roswell to keep an eye on the storm west of him...which produced a brief wall cloud. Now I've backtracked south to the junction of Old Y O Crossing road and State Hwy 13. Thus the cover photo. Time to get back to US Hwy 285 and head south...quickly. I'm north of the storm and I want to be south of it before it crosses US hwy 285 west of Lake Arthur in southern Chaves County. 

5:08 PM MDT.
 Friday, May 19, 2023.
North Of Artesia In Cottonwood.
Junction Of Funk Rd & US Hwy 285.

5:19 PM MDT.
Friday, May 19, 2023.
Junction Of Jackson Rd & US Hwy 285.
Southern Chaves County North Of Artesia.

5:21 PM MDT.
Friday, May 19, 2023.
Junction Of Jackson Rd & US Hwy 285.
Southern Chaves County North Of Artesia.

5:32 PM MDT.
Friday, May 19, 2023.
Hail Shaft As Storm Moves East.
 Cottonwood North Of Artesia - Looking East.
Near The Junction Of North 26th St  & US Hwy 285.

Nope I don't make it. I had to pull over because of the blinding blowing dust that was cutting the visibility down to near on US Hwy 285, five miles west of Lake Arthur. I measured a dry microburst with sustained winds of 46 gusting to 62 mph. To my right the hail core approaches and I know I'm fixing to get caught with my pants down. 

Failure number three. I submit my Spotter Network report online and it tells me "an error has occurred." I go through this several times. Back on the highway racing south to try and outrun the approaching hail core...stupid move on my part because I drive right into it as I continue south. And I noticed that my Spotter Network hail reports had an error...not listing the report as "hail" even though I selected it. 

Me and a bunch of other folks got caught in the hail core. People are pulling over left and right, ducking under nearby elm trees on the side of the highway. Not me I'm already getting hit with quarter to golf ball size hail so I'm trying to get south and out of it. I won't tell you the speed in which I was escaping but it wasn't legal, and I had people passing me like I was standing still. The hail piled up and covered the ground at the junction of Jackson road and US Hwy 285. Leaves were stripped of the elm trees and there was vehicle damage from the hail. How bad did I get hit...I'll look tomorrow. The hail core was at least a couple of miles wide and stretched from west to east for at least five miles if not more. 

Failure number four. My dashboard mount for my GoPro Hero 11 Black camera breaks. And while shooting the time-lapse on the Lake Arthur storm, the camera overheats and shuts down. Oy vey I can't win for losing!

South through Artesia and on to Lakewood and Seven Rivers where a storm is trying but just can't grow up big and tall. I head southwest down White Pine Rd for a few miles, turn around, and give up. It's not going to go severe so I head south to Carlsbad. The Lake Arthur storm continues to hold together and tracks east towards Hobbs. I try and get ahead of it on the Hobbs Hwy northeast of Carlsbad but can't. I make it to 20 miles west of Hobbs where dime to quarter size hail is still covering the ground. 

It's getting dark so I head southwest on the Hobbs Hwy towards Carlsbad and film some cool nighttime lightning shots with my dash mounted GoPro camera. 9 PM and I back in Carlsbad and starving. Church street grill is closed so I head to Burger King. I wait in line for thirty minutes only to find out that their internet has failed so they can't take payment on my order. Ok as much as I hate to admit it I ended up at Taco Bell. Yuck! 

Home at a little after 10 PM. I unload my camera gear and take it inside. I used up my SD card so I changed it out at the junction of Hwy 176 and US Hwy 82 (Hobbs Hwy) so I could get some nighttime lightning video.  

Failure number five.I get home, put my SD card into my camera bag as I'm getting out of the truck, and guess what. It's nowhere to be found when I get in the house. Holy crap please don't tell me I just lost all of my video that I spent half of the day shooting. looks like I did just that. Did I drop it on the ground somewhere? Who knows. I'll search for it later today (it's now 3:50 AM Saturday morning) when I have better light. I think I may have dropped it out of my camera back underneath our carport but I'm not sure. At this point all I have to say is #*(()*&&#E^#(~!. 

But hey I still love storm chasing so goodnight, I'm exhausted. 

There Are None So Blind As Those Who "Will - Not" To See...107.

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