New Mexico is not a state that normally comes to mind when you think of spring severe weather. However, thunderstorms rolling across the high desert of the eastern part of the state can be quite impressive. With warm, moist air from the south clashing with cold air from the north, storms in the area are capable of generating large amounts of hail and become very electrified.
Such was the case with this storm in June 2015 near Tucumcari. With a surprisingly green desert below and a supercell thunderstorm above, the scene was dramatic. The heavy rain and hail at the storm’s core are seen in the distance while a bolt of lightning pops from the storm’s leading edge. As my son and I watched this storm, we could not help but be awed at the power and the beauty.
Severe thunderstorms can be intimidating enough during broad daylight. Let the sun set and the 75mph winds, tennis ball size hail, and tornado warnings can be downright scary for those in the storm’s path.
Normally you wouldn’t see much of the storm – or perhaps a brief glimpse. However in this case, the lightning was letting loose with multiple flashes per second. Enough in fact that in a 3 second exposure, virtually the entire structure of this massive supercell thunderstorm is seen.
Watching it was like staring at a strobe light and some of my fellow storm chasers even remarked that it made them feel disoriented. Notice how the storm absolutely dwarfs the grain elevator below. Taken near Springfield, Colorado on June 11, 2015.
Out storm chasing this week and found myself in the Land of Enchantment. This storm cell dropped 4+ inches of hail near Springer, New Mexico a couple of hours before this picture was taken yesterday evening. This was taken as the storm passed near Tucumcari and Interstate 40. It was quite electrified as it approached allowing me to grab some nice images of the bolts it was throwing down.