Chasecation 2016 Day 7 (5/28): Abilene, TX LP Supercell

Longest road trip of my chasecation! Map of the day’s activities, locations in text circled or labeled:


Started the day off in freaking Hays, KS after some cold-core activity the day before. I was planning to take the day off and just hang out in KS. However, the night before, a bunch of CAM’s fired off storms near DFW during the afternoon, despite serious height rises. This development, coupled with the prospect of storms on 5/29, spurred me to take the 8-hr drive from I-70 to I-20.

(A side note: on this day was Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the OKC Thunder, in OKC. The Thunder were up 3-2 and, having blown out Golden State at home twice already, were poised to win the series. At my stop in OKC for food/gas, I was amused by the plethora of Thunder decorations and merchandise.)

Upon reaching Wichita Falls, TX, I was discouraged by the lack of agitated cumulus development in north TX. Further south closer to the Abilene-San Angelo area, a few supercells were in progress. So I decided to go further south. I hit Seymour for another stop, seeing that a few TCU finally got going to my east. But after a few minutes, the continued struggles of the TCU made it clear: the height rises would win. I continued south.

The convective picture looked quite different when I got to Anson, TX. The original supercell south of Abilene had died, but replaced by a couple of new candidates. A large storm raged WAY south near Junction, TX. And a bunch of new cells appeared to my west near Snyder, TX. I waited for awhile, watching the clouds and the outflow boundaries put on a display around me:

Commitment at this point proved difficult — all the storms around me (west and south) pulsed up and down. Ultimately I decided on the closest region — Abilene, calculating I could reach there by sundown. Even en route, I could see a new updraft take hold. It had a meager appearance on reflectivity, indicative of its LP nature.

I managed to get under the base on the south siede of Abilene at sundown. The updraft was absolutely gorgeous and strongly rotating. However, the ragged base indicated that it was outflow dominant. Still, gorgeous, and got a few shots off, with lightning.

At this point I repositioned to get a better view of the updraft, but it looked like it had croaked. And I was getting eaten up by mosquitoes.


Note here the clouds in the background — the storms out to the west got their act together. After dark, they would congeal into an MCS and rock Abilene with a fantastic light show.

Also in Abilene, I watched at Golden State completed a comeback win against the OKC Thunder at OKC in Game 6! I kind of felt sorry for the people I had met at OKC with their OKC gear just hours earlier, but I was pumped for GS!


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