2018 Severe Weather Season

Observations of Severe Storms and Interesting Weather Phenomena

April 20, 2018 New Mexico Chases - I head out twice, once early in the morning up into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in seach of thundersnow, and then later a severe storm chase to the eastern plains of New Mexico. No thunder with the snow in the mountains, but on the way to the plains I did get a thunderstorm with some snow and graupel mixed with rain southeast of Las Vegas, NM, then a series of strong though non-severe storms near San Jon, NM. An unusual feature of these storms was their brown color, even orange at times, due to the huge amount of dust in the air after 24 hours of strong winds ahead of the storm.

Four Days of Severe Storm Observatoion on the High Plains

From April 29 through May 2, I was on the high plains observing, photographing, and videoing severe storms in NM, TX, OK, and KS. I was very fortunate to see supercells each and every one of those days! Here are links to my reports for each of those days:

April 29, 2018 Eastern NM and Western TX Panhandle Chase - As I pursue a couple slow-moving high-based supercells from far eastern NM into the far western TX Panhandle, I see a possible funnel cloud, two wildfires started by lightning, a close-up view of a gustnado, and more. The stronger storm dropped widespread hail up to 2" in diameter around Clovis, NM northeastward toward Bovina, TX. A great start to my four-day trip! Report includes photos, video, and a map showing my route to observe the storms.

April 30, 2018 Texas Panhandle Chase - I observe three rather photogenic storms in the eastern Texas Panhandle: A tall, skinny LP-ish storm, a supercell that drops 1.5 hail on Estelline, TX, and a storm that offers up some pretty structure near Shamrock, TX. Not bad for a day when some models were sugesting storms might not develop at all due to capping. Includes photos and a map showing my route to observe the storms.

May 1, 2018 Central Kansas Chase - I observe a powerfui supercell as it gets multiple tornado warnings and drops up to 4-inch hail in the Otis and Susank, KS areas. Along the way it produces cloud-base rotation, several large lowerings extending well toward the ground including a huge rotating wall cloud around the time of the largest hail, and some funnel clouds. I also observed another more LP-ish storm later. Report includes photos, two video clips, and a map showing my route to observe the storms.

May 2, 2018 Southern Kansas, OK Panhandle, and Northern Oklahoma Chase - I first obserbe a severe squall line in southwest Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, then later a supercell that I tracked from Oakwood to near Enid, OK. At one point it produced a wall cloud and possible funnel cloud that were moving straight at me - I had to get out of the way! Also a pretty rainbow at the end of the chase near El Reno. Report includes photos, a video clip, and two maps showing the routes I used to observe these storms.

May 21, 2018 Central New Mexico Chase - After an unfruitful wait for storms farther southeast, I get on a supercell that moves over Claunch, near the center of New Mexico, northeastward through Corona and beyond. In its early stages, the storm produces a series of wall clouds and one or two possible funnels, and lofts dust high into the air (probably not a tornado, more likely outflow-related, either a dust plume or gustnado). Near Corona, I observe 2 inches of hail over route 54 and side roads. Includes photos, video captures, and a map showing the storm's track and my route.

May 23 Eastern New Mexico (and a little bit of Texas) Chase - I intercept a series of storms, most significantly a supercell that moved from south of Logan to NW of Nara Visa, NM between about 3:15 and 6:30, then a cluster of storms including an embedded HP supercell that took a similar track between 6:30 and 9:00 p.m. The earlier storm produced a large, apparently rotating lowering and a possible funnel. I was too far away, but did get some pictures thanks to zoom lenses. The second storm produced several interesting features including a wall cloud, a couple rainfeet, a lowering extending most of the way to the ground, and very frequent lightning. Both storms produced severe hail. Report includes photos, video captures, video of the second of these storms, and maps showing the tracks of these storms and my routes to observe them.

June 3 New Mexico Chase - From Belen, NM eastward through and beyond Willard, NM, I am on a supercell that offers up a rotating wall cloud and a few brief funnels, the most intense dust storm I have ever experienced, and my closest-ever encounter with a strong gustnado, as well as several other gustnadoes. The storm also produced a swath of large hail, and eventually a tornado, which I unfortunately missed as a result of not getting gas when I could. Despite this and despite messing up the video on the closest/strongest gustnado, this was still one of my best chases of 2018. Report includes photos, videos of the wall cloud and funnels, the early stages of the dust storm, and one of the two gustnadoes that occurred within 100-200 yards of my location.

Two Days of Severe Storm Observatoion in Colorado and New Mexico

I headed out in late June for a couple days of storm observation on the eastern plains and the Raton Mesa area of Colorado and New Mexico, and was fortunate to see interesting things both days.

June 23 Colorado Chase - After storms failed to really get going near the Raton Mesa, I headed northeast and managed to twice observe the hard-to-see phenomenon of a bow-head mesocyclone north of Lamar, CO. Report includes photos and details of my observations of this and of other storms.

June 24 Colorado/New Mexico (Raton Mesa Area) Chase - I observe a series of storms in far southern Colorado and far northern New Mexico near the Raton Mesa, including a pretty LP supercell, a very impressive classic supercell, a dramatic funnel look-alike, a dramatic hand-off of energy from one storm to another, a ground-hugging wall cloud, an impressive shelf cloud, and a pretty storm after dark with a nearly-full moon. A real field day for storm photography! Report includes details of my observations, two dozen (really!) photos, and a radar loop showing storm interactions and a discussion thereof.

July Monsoon Highlights - Photos and descriptions of storms associated with the North American Monsoon in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado during the month of July. Though usually not severe, these storms can produce torrential rain and flash flooding, and are often quite photogenic, including spectacular lightning displays. Though the monsoon was a bit slow at times, July 2018 still offered up some excellent photo ops.

Mendicino Sunset, August 7 - Wildfires in California offer up a spectacular sunset in Pagosa Springs, CO.

Mid-August Santa Fe Area Monsoon Storms - The monsoon was fairly quiet in much of northern New Mexico and Southern Colrado in the first half of August, but things picked up a little during the week of August 12-18, with photogenic storms on several days and even a few severe thunderstorm warnings near Santa Fe. This report includes photos or video from several days during this week.

August 23 Lightning, Pagosa Springs, CO - With this year's less-than-spectacular Southwestern Monsoon, good daytime lightning pictures have been hard to come by. But on this day, I got one I am prety happy with!

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This page last updated August 24, 2018.