This page provides highlights from the chase seasons so far - selected highlights from the 2011 through 2019 chase seasons.

Below the chase highlights is a listing of vacation highlights ... what we do when we're waiting for severe weather, or those inevitable days when it's just sunny.

During each season, daily chase accounts are posted on Facebook at StormGroup Chasers.

The Gallery tabs, pages 1 to 19, have selected photos from the seasons from 2018 back to 2011.

Looking forward to the 2020 season!  Cheers, Peter

Experience an actual tour

2019 Chase Season Highlights

2019 was an active chasing season, with the exception of a relatively quiet week on Tour 2 – overall, 2019 is shaping up to be one of the more active tornado years on record for the United States.

We chased spectacular severe thunderstorms on 41 days out of the 51 days chasing on the Plains.  We witnessed multiple vortices, funnels and landspouts, with 7 tornadoes observed in the 2019 chase season. However, it’s “not all about the tornadoes” as the season’s highlight had to be sighting and racing ahead of a massive haboob/dusty gust front through Texas on June 5th.

Overall we travelled 20,855 miles over 7 weeks chasing in 2019 <now totalling over 180,000 miles over 9 years for SGC>, visited 7 states, stayed overnight in 24 different cities, dined in some delicious American restaurants and diners, enjoyed some great tourist sights, and had another fabulous vacation/road trip on the Plains.

Here are some highlights from the daily chasing accounts for 2019 from our Facebook page – StormGroup Chasers.

Day 1 – May 4th

Target area between Vega & Hereford, TX within a larger 2% tornado risk area <later upgraded to 5% by the SPC> ... skies cleared as we crossed into Texas, with convection soon visible on radar over the New Mexico mountains ... headed up from Vega, TX towards one promising storm, rumbles of thunder opening our chase season ... soon realised that a storm intensifying to the SW with 48,000 echo tops was dominating our first storm, which was losing height, despite still looking severe on radar ... made the decision to head back down to Vega, and then west on I40 to Adrian, TX to get close to the new storm, which was showing TVS markers up to 8 ... obvious rotation couplet in the base velocity scan just to our north, and we sighted a ragged, white rotating wall cloud ... the storm soon evolved into a fabulous mesocyclone structure, lots of lightning flickering across the updrafts and anvil, with reports of brief funnels, hidden from us by rain wrapping around the main circulation, but we did sight one brief white funnel, as we drove back east on I40 to keep ahead of the storm, which was tornado-warned several times, sounding the alarms in our devices ... stopped several times to marvel at the spectacle, and as the setting sun dropped below the base to our west, the rain under the base to our north was illuminated with a beautiful orange tint - a stunning sight ... the storm started surging rapidly southeast, so dropped south from Vega, then escaped east to Canyon, TX just in front of the storm, with intense, frequent lightning to our left side ... north to Amarillo for a late dinner and our hotel for the night - treated to a brilliant lightning display in front of the vehicle - looping arcs of lightning, spider lightning upwards into the cloud bases, and brilliant CGs ... great day, and a wonderful way to kick off the 2019 season with our new mascot, Pimmsy.

Tour 1 – My 5th

First tornado for the 2019 season ... early morning assessment of the parameters indicated an area just east & southeast of Lubbock where storms should eventually track ... the EHI values & forecast soundings in this area seemed to favour a tornado risk ... later in the morning SPC revised their outlook, upgrading the tornado risk to 5% over our nominal target area, forecasting scattered supercells to develop off the dryline ... by 2pm the first puffs of clouds were visible on satellite to the west of Lubbock, and as we drove west to investigate, vigorous convection was visible on the horizon ... a stronger storm developed to the south of the initial storm, developing a stout vertical updraft, and a billowing back-sheared anvil ... watched from just west of Ropesville as the storm continued to strengthen, then headed east towards US87 south of Woodrow, storm splitting into two cells, with the southern one becoming a right-mover ... as we headed east, a CG lightning strike hit an open field not 100 yards to our south, kicking up dust where it struck, with near instantaneous booming thunder ... frequent, brilliant CG lightning behind us as we neared US87 … as we headed south, the storm just exploded in intensity, as it tracked SE into moister SE winds ... headed west from Buenos to get closer to the updraft base, stopped to watch an impressive developing wall cloud, inflow dust whipping across the landscape from the southeast, obscuring our road south as it streamed by, and inflow dust from the north being sucked up into the base of the wall cloud ... a dusty tornado soon dropped from the wall cloud, about 8-10 miles to our west, but was soon obscured by walls of dust circling around the tornado ... headed south towards US380, getting renewed glimpses of the wall cloud and the tornado ... at the intersection with US380, finally got a good view and photos of a big dusty wedge tornado about 3-4 miles to our west, as it crossed US380 in front of us ... impressive structure, frequent lightning, with the sun dropping in the west lighting up mammatus under the anvil ... headed south, getting in front of the storm, which was being continually tornado-warned, with TVS markers reaching 152 knots ... classic supercell/mesocyclone structures and inflow features were visible ...

Tour 1 - May 7th

Initial target was Dumas, TX where morning parameters seemed to line up the best for tornadoes ... off in foggy conditions ... into Texas, heading for Dumas as a tornado watch was issued for our target area ... a particularly intense storm, with 2 1/2” hail blocked out path south to Amarillo, so headed west to Channing, TX, then south to Vega, TX ... a rotating storm, with a pronounced inflow notch developed west of Vega - drove west to target the storm, but surging cold air soon undercut the storm ... took a break east of Amarillo to reassess our day, SPC still confident on intense supercells/tornadoes in the late afternoon ... a very intense storm, south of Tulia, TX, developed quickly, was soon tornado-warned, then multiple tornado reports filed ... decided to drop south into warmer, moister & clearer air to target this storm as it moved NE ... took scenic US407 through Palo Duro Canyon, then west about 10 miles through Vigo Park to confront the storm, an intense inflow notch and rotation visible on radar ... great to finally see a clearly sculptured storm, with all the attendant features of a mature supercell - but nothing prepared us for the dramatic sight that developed right in front of us ... a massive rotating wall cloud, with a huge rotating rain/hail wrapped tornado, and a striking jet inflow feature into the tornado, nick-named an “armadillo jet” for its intense ribbed features ... the tornadic circulation soon surged towards our position <along with dozens of other chasers>, so began an episode of “storm fleeing” east back to the main road, in a cavalcade of chase vehicles ... positioned south until the hail core/tornadic circulation crossed the road, then took US407 north again to Claude, through flash flooding in the Palo Duro Canyon, and large rock debris on the road in places, lots of CG lightning flashing to our right ...

Tour 1 – May 9th

Targeted an area NW of Victoria, TX ... SPC had a slight risk of severe weather over the area, with a 2% tornado risk, albeit low level winds were light, meaning tornado risk was mitigated, however forecasted soundings in this area for late afternoon/evening had sufficient conditions for possible tornadoes ... sightseeing in Victoria, TX then northwest up US87 about 3:30pm to our target area, but atmosphere still capped, with 700mb temps near 11C ... as we headed into Cuero, TX a few promising cumulus started to appear to the north ... a little dot, blue, then green, then yellow, appeared on the radar just west of Gonzales ... headed up just north of Gonzales, on top of a hill by the town water tower, under updraft base - radar getting orange now, with hail & lightning, some good nearby CGs now  ... retreated a safer location little south of town, to see a decent lowering under the base ... storm soon intensified, became rain-wrapped, and we were buffeted by heavy rain & strong gusty outflow winds ... into gas station south of Gonzales again, as hail started to fall, sheltered under awning, but only 1/2” hail at this location ... trailed storm up US183 again, through Gonzales, then SE down US90A ... blinding rain at times, some hail, gingerly feeling our way just behind the storm, big white VIL radar image just to our east ... crossed where the hail core had fallen on US90A - large hail up to 2” on the side of the road ... storm started to weaken as new storms formed on a line to the south ... into Shiner, TX <home of the “Bock”>, then south on SR95/77A through Yoakum, TX to target another intense storm ... decided on driving “in the storm” experience, so north through Concrete & Hochheim, TX in blinding rain, frequent lightning and some hail, with the storm really intensifying just to our east with 2” hail ...

Tour 2 – May 13th

Targeted a slight severe risk area between a line from Fort Stockton to Ozona, TX, south to the Mexican border ... better dewpoints than yesterday, with slightly better upper level winds nearer the border, and the HRRR showed storms breaking out again near the Fort Davis Mountains by 1pm, and progressively migrating eastwards, coupled with a 2% tornado risk in a corridor along the border ... west on I-10 about noon, and as we drove further west past Ozona, a linear complex of storms was breaking out west of Fort Stockton, quickly becoming messy, unorganised and outflow dominant, with a large cloud shield, evident on satellite, screening the land below from decent heating ... after lunch, decided to head south into clearer, sunnier and ultimately warmer conditions <got to 80F at one point> to target possible discrete storms ahead of the line, or coming off the southern end into better air ... as we headed down SR349, through Sheffield, TX, towards Dryden, TX, a cell blew up between US90 and the Mexican ... updraft and anvil looked impressive, and we soon had lightning and thunder as we approached Dryden, as the organising, discrete storm crossed north over US90, just west of Dryden ... the echo top was at 40,000ft, and soon displayed a 2” hail marker, getting severe-warned, with a solid white VIL core ... turned around and tracked the storm north, stopping several times to observe, but as we re-approached Sheffield, the line of storms from the west caught up to our storm, cold air undercutting the updraft, and killing the storm ... decided to head east to Ozona to get in front of the line, then head north ... just north of Ozona, a cold gust front hit us from the west, dramatic arcus cloud rolling towards us, and dropping the temperatures from 78F to 58F in a very short time ... held up at the intersection of US190 and SR163, 1/2 way between Ozona and Barnhart, TX to let the strongest storm in the line roll over us ... some heavy rain, with some good lightning strikes & rolling thunder, one nearby CG captured by Kevin in an impressive video grab …

Tour 2 – May 15th

Targeted an area between Alpine, TX and Fort Davis, TX where the Midland forecaster & the HRRR indicated some storms might break out in late afternoon ... skies filled with puffy cumulus as we headed through Johnson City, TX, and towards Fredericksburg, TX ... on to I-10 headed NW about noon, through Junction, TX, then stopping at Sutton County Park in Sonora, TX for a picnic lunch ... pleasant sunny day, with temps nearing 80F … about 4pm, a decent convective tower going up well to the SSW ... about 4:45pm, noticed on radar that the storm had intensified, with lightning, hail and a 41,000ft echo top ... set off down US-385 in pursuit of very impressive updraft towers to the south of Marathon, TX ... as we were about 1/2 way down, the first storm started to wane, but it was evident that convective towers were continuing to build to the NW, along a quasi-dryline, with dewpoints to the west at Alpine in the low 30s, while dewpoints to the east at Sanderson, TX were in the low 60s ... all this while, a massive boiling updraft was visible to the SE across the border in Mexico, with an echo top of 55,000ft ... stopped just short of Marathon to watch the developing new storm just south of Marathon - 41,000ft echo top, 1/4” hail and lightning - as we stood there observing this classic little dryline storm, a CG lightning bolt struck to our south, with deep rolling thunder ... hungry, we spotted a small pizza place named Big Bend Pizza, on US90 just before Marathon - delicious hand-made crispy pizzas, easily the best I’ve had on the Plains …

Tour 3 – May 20th

A great chasing day - one wedge tornado, multiple tornado-warned storms, nearly 2” partially melted hail, fabulous lightning, great storm structures … headed down I-27 to where SPC had upgraded their Moderate Risk Outlook to a High Risk, with a hatched 45% tornado risk area … about 1:15pm, a tornado watch had been issued over us, and the atmosphere starting to bubble ... as we drove east a storm initiated to the south, rapidly intensified, reaching 50,000ft, then was severe-warned ... we stopped south the Glenn, TX, reporting a ragged rotating wall cloud - the storm was tornado-warned shortly thereafter ... tracked the storm north to Childress, TX through Paducah, TX - stopped multiple times to observe all sorts of interesting storm structures, multiple tornado warnings, large hail & CG lightning, but a storm further to the east produced a brief rope funnel ... decided to drop south into much warmer temps/higher dewpoints & catch the forecasted second wave of storms coming from the west ... as storms to the west intensified, and were tornado-warned, we headed west towards Dickens, TX to get right under a tornado-warned storm heading ENE - impressive sight, with nearby CG lightning, but base rain-wrapped ... retreated to Guthrie to get a better view, tornado sirens went off, a tornado was reported going through Dickens, and then we sighted a wedge tornado, backlit by lightning ... advancing hail core meant a quick retreat SE until it passed, then south again on US83 to track additional tornado-warned storms heading our way ... finally headed to Anson, TX then west on I-20 from Abilene to watch a great lightning display on tornado-warned storms moving by to our north - strong inflow winds buffeting us, with a storm just to our west at 61,000ft, with a 3 1/2” hail marker ... arrived at our hotel about 11pm, with a new line of severe-warned storms coming from the southwest ... still under a tornado watch until 4am, the line arrived about 2am, with torrential rain, gusty winds, lots of lightning, but in a somewhat weakened state, mitigating the tornado risk ...

Tour 3 – May 22nd

Target was a 10% tornado risk, with a specific initial target of Bartlesville, OK, in the SW end of the 10% area, upgraded later in the morning by the SPC to 15% ... cells started initiating well to the SSW near Seminole, OK ... tornado watch issued over us by the SPC ... headed through Tulsa, OK to target developing storms ... south on US75 through Okmulgee, OK, but before we could get there the first storm was tornado-warned, and tornado reports on brief touchdowns were filed ... decided to target a developing storm to the south of the tornado-warned storm, and this storm soon intensified, hitting a 52,000ft echo top, taking over from the first storm, and was quickly tornado-warned, with clear rotation on the base velocity ... drove west on I-40, right through the notch between the rotating wall cloud and the main storm - hit by hail, but visibility was clear to make the punch through the notch ... wheeled around at the next exit near Okemah, OK, and confronted the rotation crossing the I-40, and developing right to our immediate left as we headed back east ... strong RFD winds buffeted the vehicle as we headed east ... trees kept obscuring our view, then we finally got a clear view of the first cone tornado on the ground, headed NE ... it soon lifted, leaving a strongly rotating wall cloud, with scud rising at a rapid rate into the updraft base along the sides of the wall cloud ... turned north on US75 from Henryetta, OK, to sight a new tornado, which quickly lifted, with the continuing rotation wrapping up over our heads, as we stopped on US75 north of Schulter, OK, to observe ... then began a stair-stepping chase path NE as we struggled to maintain contact with the storm heading NE at 30 knots ... south of Haskell, OK, we stopped to admire the mesocyclonic structure from a distance - feathery mid-level meso circular clouds overhead, laminar sculpting, a beautiful spaceship structure forming ... all during this part of the chase, we had multiple huge dramatic rotating wall clouds, some hugging the ground ... headed northwest through Tulsa, towards another tornado-warned storm passing over the Broken Arrow Expressway ... approaching Tulsa, sighted another “armadillo-like” inflow jet/beaver tail <like the Vigo Park tornado on Tour 1> roaring into the wall cloud/updraft base just before Tulsa ... stopped near Tulsa International Airport to observe a gorgeous boiling updraft and back-shearing anvil, developing to the SW of the tornado-warned storm, the updraft so powerful that it was forming a ring cloud structure as it punched upwards into the anvil ...

Tour 3 – May 24th

Targeted a small area of enhanced risk near Lubbock, TX within a larger swath of 5% tornado risk ... headed through Lubbock about 2pm in heavy rain, through a small gap between storms, “heading for the light” ... got on the south side of the storms near Posey, TX to observe some weak wall cloud features, then the storm went violently outflow, with very turbulent clouds overhead, and showing some modest rotations in the clouds overhead - was very dramatic looking back at the storms from a couple of stops down US84 ... a tornado watch had been issued over us, and the SPC commentary indicated that the best storms/supercells would develop in a couple of hours to later in the evening, and that the initial storms would dissipate ... decided to have a decent meal, to prepare for several hours chasing supercells NE back to Childress, so headed back through a narrow gap between two intense white VIL cores, narrowly skirting one to our SW - torrential rain & large hail thumping on the vehicle, probably up to 3/4” at times ... decided to head south into warmer, clearer air, and target the forecasted dryline initiation of supercells ... dropped south on US87, through the cold outflow boundary, and temperatures rapidly rose to 87F, with gusty and dusty southeasterly winds ... the ongoing elevated storms to the north started to look more robust, so decided to make the 2 1/2 hour journey to our hotel in Childress, driving up to, and through, the ongoing line of storms training from Lubbock into SW Oklahoma ... heading up SR207 towards Ralls, TX, started to encounter heavy flooding, big lakes of standing and running water on the roads, and substantial debris - mud, rocks and plants - washed off the neighbouring farms onto the roads ... several farm buildings completely surrounded by water ... into Ralls and east on US82 to Crosbyton, major flooding, vehicles off the road, and emergency vehicles flashing ... lightning was flashing in the distance as we left Paducah, heading north to Childress, as we were about to drive through an active line of storms to get to our hotel ... entertaining drive, with torrential rain at times, gusty winds, and especially the nearly blinding flashes of light from lightning arcing over the vehicle, and brilliant CG strikes visible through the heavy rain, some strikes very near to the vehicle ... some “portico chasing” at the hotel as a second more severe storm rolled through, with some nearby CG strikes, and that wonderful deep booming thunder that rumbles through your chest … 

Tour 3 – May 27th

Targeted a 5% tornado risk from the western Nebraska Panhandle into eastern Wyoming ... relying on easterly upslope flow to do “interesting things” in the target area ... as I was deciding to target a severe-warned storm near Cheyenne, WY, another storm a little north of the Cheyenne storm and SW of La Grange, WY was tornado-warned ... off west on SR88 to target this storm, through La Grange, then south on US85/CR213 to Burns, WY ... dramatic cloud shapes to the west, but no visible rotations ... dropped further south to head east on I-80 to target a tornado-warned storm that had been moving NE through Colorado all afternoon, with reports of brief needle tornadoes, rotating wall clouds and landspouts ... as we left our original storms, they went strongly outflow, forcing a dramatic “whales-mouth” outflow shelf over our path east, but we had no idea how dramatic things would get further east on I-80 ... as we closed in on the tornado-warned storm, it intensified, showing some of the most intense radar signatures I’ve seen - 3” hail markers, a huge intense VIL core, with strong rotation, straddling I-80 as it moved east, like it was on a set of rails ... a solid black wall in front of us, there were increasing amounts of hail on the roadside as we approached the intersection of I-80 & I-76 ... stopped at the Flying J in Big Springs to find large hailstones, deep drifts of hail, tree debris and numerous vehicles with intense hail damage ... the size of the holes in the rear window of one car, confirmed reports ahead of tennis-ball sized hail ... continued east on I-80, carefully approaching the storm, roads getting covered with large hail, traffic crawling along, dozens & dozens of vehicles in the oncoming lanes smashed with hail, trees completely stripped of leaves/broken branches, a feed lot with hundreds of poor animals standing motionless, very likely injured ... torrential rain as we closed in on the VIL core, with small hail at times, then through into the clear as we neared North Platte, continuous lightning flashing all around us ... during a good dinner at the Whisky Creek Wood Fire Grill in North Platte, the somewhat diminished southern part of the storm arrived, with torrential rain, continuous lightning and 1/4” to 1/2” hail ... as we left the restaurant, turning left on the US83 overbridge on I-80, an enormous CG flashed over the vehicle, with instantaneous cannon-shot thunder - very close! ... 

Tour 4 – May 31st

Targeted a 5% tornado risk area outlined by the SPC in the early morning update ... storms started firing near the Davis Mountains, so headed south to Balmorhea to watch development, and consider targets ... one storm SE of Fort Davis, TX looked promising, so headed east on I-10, then south on Hovey Rd to US-67 ... severe-warned, good rotation on base velocity, we let it move towards our position as it developed a solid wall cloud, with some modest rotation ... relocated a little south to let it pass by, more chasers showing up now ... headed east to Marathon, TX as initially thought to chase this first storm as it continued to move SE, but a new storm blew up, with an echo top of 62,000ft, heading straight north from SSW of Alpine, TX ... this aberrant motion would continue for the rest of the chase day, as it split off various left-movers, right past Pecos, TX ... spectacular mammatus underneath the new storm’s anvil as we watched in Marathon, then headed back west towards the intersection of US-67 & US-90 to watch it approach, but as it ran into the Davis Mountains, it appeared to get disorganised, in effect splitting into two cells, one moving ESE, and one continuing north, neither especially strong ... headed to Fort Stockton, TX for dinner, and during dinner the northward moving storm intensified, and was severe-warned, heading towards Pecos, TX ... decided to target this storm NW up US-285, about 8:30pm ... storm getting really intense, with strong rotation, and a 4” hail marker at one point ... as we closed in on the storm, and the skies darkened, started seeing frequent lightning behind the rain ... we stopped just south of Pecos to watch a great display of anvil crawler lightning overhead, CGs off to the northwest, and looping bolts of lightning across the skies ... headed NW of Pecos on US-285, as the storm continued to left-split, heavier rain now as we approached the core, with frequent CGs nearby, and cloud-to-cloud lightning right across our field of view and over the vehicle ... decided to break off about 1/2 way to Arno, after another stop to watch, as we drove back towards Pecos, another spectacular long track set of lightning bolts racing over the vehicle, ending with another brilliant CG ...

Tour 4 – June 1st

Great dramatic day, chasing a single briefly tornado-warned, but then multiple-times severe-warned storm, through all phases of its life cycle from potentially tornadic sculpted mesocyclone, to being undercut by an outflow boundary surging from the east, then ingesting multiple storm cells, reorganising into another severe-warned storm, then going outflow-dominant, producing the most dramatic arcus and sculpted laminar elevated  inflow clouds, as the storm surged SE towards us - a fabulous chase day ... targeted the northern Texas Panhandle within a broad slight risk and 2% tornado risk forecast from the SPC - parameters seemed to line up in our target area, with the HRRR showing storms breaking out by 4pm, allowing us enough time to make the drive … stopped for a picnic lunch in City Park in Muleshoe, TX, skies starting to bubble, with a storm firing up near Texline, TX, moving SSE at 8kts ... soon severe-warned, with rotation, it was persistent and isolated, so set course for Dalhart, TX to intercept - a 2 hour drive up US-385 ... arrived in Harley, TX to the storm, now just 15 miles to the northwest ... headed 6 miles west on F-M 998 to get in the storm’s path ... a developing mesocyclone structure, with a wall cloud, it moved directly towards us, and was soon tornado-warned ... beautiful fields of wildflowers, occasional flashes of lightning, grumbling thunder, sculptured cloud forms, darkening skies ... a new intense storm blew up just to our south, with large hail, and was getting ingested into the main storm moving SE, putting us in a “squeeze play” ... fled east on US-87 to get out of the way, stopping again to watch ... storm now moving more ESE, suddenly got undercut by a surging outflow boundary from the east, from earlier morning storms, ending our storm’s tornado chances ... starting to go outflow now, we repositioned again east of Dumas, TX to watch all sorts of beautifully sculptured inflow cloud forms start to form over the cold outflow ... back south down US-287 to get ahead of the dusty outflow boundary roaring through Dumas ... stopped briefly near Four Way, TX, then for a longer time near Chunky, TX as the now outflow-dominant storm put on a truly dramatic show of sculptured shapes surging towards us, with now frequent lightning ... waited until it was almost upon us again, then headed south towards Amarillo, strong southeasterly winds going quiet ahead of the cold gusty outflow as we neared Amarillo ... east on SR335 Loop, just ahead of the looming black mass to our west, then NE up US-60 into heavy rain, and constant lightning lighting up the rain curtains, with CGs, and lightning looping overhead, occasionally visible through the heavy rain ...

Tour 4 – June 5th

Targeted an area from the New Mexico border to north & south of Lubbock, within what was originally a much larger marginal risk area ... our target area was upgraded by the SPC in the morning update to a smaller slight severe risk, with a 2% tornado risk, with the various forecast sources talking about potential large hail & dusty downburst winds ...  a promising storm was firing near Elida, NM, so set off to target the storm, through some pretty remote countryside over Ponderosa Rd between US-380 and US-70 ... arrived in Elida as the storm really intensified over Dora, NM - headed east on SR-114 to target ... the storm dropped its intense VIL core, but moving SE as a still strong storm, so we dropped south on SR-206 to try to get in front ... in Causey, NM, we ran into where the hail core had been, hail drifts on the sides of the road, hail stacked up on the windward walls of buildings, and lining the roofs ... continued south and east on SR-114 to try to get to Morton, TX and then through to Levelland, TX, but storm really intensified over Levelland, so we dropped south on F-M 303 through Sundown, TX  ... now just trying to outrun a developing dusty outflow boundary, a wall of brown dust developing in front of us, racing SE at 70 mph ... winds started buffeting the vehicle from behind, even though we were racing south at 75mph, tumbleweeds rolling by, dust blowing off the fields in whorls ... through Brownfield, TX, finally just through the outflow boundary, then raced east on US-380 hoping to get good views back to the storm ... as we raced east, a full-blown, dramatic haboob formed just to our north, billowing & surging SE behind us - we’d race ahead, stop for a couple of minutes to take photos and marvel at the sight, then race off east again as the huge wall of billowing dust threatened to envelop us ... through West Point and Tahoka, TX - a “dust storm warning” was issued over the alerts on our phones - first time I’ve heard that ... continued the “cat & mouse” with the haboob, seeing some stunning scenes, with lots of photos, panos and videos ... finally into Post, TX for a needed break, and to let the haboob roll over us at a gas station, residents saying “they’d never seen anything like it” ...

Tour 4 – June 6th

Targeted a relatively weak setup with an enhanced risk area, largely for winds of 70 mph, with a line of storms forecast to progress through Victoria by evening ... nominal target for initiation was the Hill Country east of Kerrville, TX by 2-3pm ... a line of minor convective instability to the south near Junction, TX, but more importantly a severe-warned storm had fired east of Kerrville, TX ... decided to just drop SE of San Antonio on our path to Victoria, and await the storms passage through San Antonio ... horrendous traffic & road conditions through San Antonio, confirmed the place as my least favourite place to drive during chasing season ... heading east on US-87, ended up north of Nixon, TX on SR-80 with lots of time to watch boiling updrafts, spreading anvils and the storm, previously north of San Antonio, approach our position and go violently outflow with all sorts of sculptured cloud shapes ... as the wind shift was “right on our doorstep”, stopped back down to US-87, to be assaulted by 60-70mph outflow winds, dust & debris blowing everywhere, dust streamers blowing off adjacent fields and across the road in front of us, with a menacing black shelf cloud over us ... eventually outran the outflow, and the shelf cloud, only to have multiple storms break out on all sides of us ... stopped at a gas station near Cuero, TX to let the storms roll over us - strong gusty winds whipping heavy rain across the forecourt, but not much lightning or thunder, and no hail ... drove down US-87 back through the line of storms in heavy rain & some lightning, and emerged north of Victoria into the clear, with several impressive CGs on a more severe storm just to the south of Victoria - “any day with storms is a good day” …

Tour 5 – June 11th

Targeted a north/south slight risk corridor in Kansas, with Dodge City, KS as the initial staging point, allowing the option of moving north or south in the risk area ... HRRR showing storms again towards Greensburg by 7pm ... time to position for initiation, as cumulus started appearing in a wind shift line just NW of Dodge City ... stopped on US-50 NE of Dodge City and watched a developing line of turkey towers test the cap, and soon one small storm formed to our north ... this became the supercell we would chase for 6 hours straight, tracking it all the way down to our hotel in Enid ... headed up to Kinsley, KS right underneath the developing storm ... headed south on US-183 to get a better perspective on the storm, which was now intensifying rapidly, with dramatic boiling updrafts and a billowing anvil ... severe thunderstorm watch now issued over us, and into Oklahoma ... stopped SE of Wilmore, KS about 8:30pm to observe a developing wall cloud, which started to rotate strongly, with rapidly rising scud into the base - as the wall cloud moved close to our position, a funnel tried to form - was a perfect position to see one drop right in front of us ... a small 2% tornado area had been issued at 8pm, right over us, reflecting the marginal conditions for a tornado ... had to “cut & run” east to dodge an intense hail core threatening to cut off our path east to Medicine Lodge, KS ... heavy rain as we sped east on US-160 at speed, but only sporadic bumps of hail ... heading south from Medicine Lodge, as darkness increased, we were treated to a brilliant display of lightning of all types - CGs everywhere, lightning looping across the sky, anvil crawlers and spider lightning, and sky-filling flashes comprised of every kind of lightning bolts in combination, such that the vehicle and landscape filled with light – amazing ... the lightning barrage continued all the way as we stair-stepped south towards Enid, staying just clear of the intense storm moving ever more rapidly to the SE, constantly throwing up new updrafts, then ingesting them into the main storm ...

Tour 5 – June 13th

Targeted a small area in NE New Mexico, within a larger area of slight risk extending all the way down eastern New Mexico ... parameters including bulk shear seemed maximised later in the day in this area, with the HRRR pretty confident from run-to-run in forecasting initiation in the Capulin Volcano area, with a storm complex rolling through Amarillo in the late evening ... into Capulin Volcano National Monument about 2:30pm, and up the crater summit road for some gorgeous views, an initial weak storm going up over the Raton Mesa ... walked around the crater rim, up to 8,182 feet elevation, then down for a late picnic lunch at the foot of the volcano ... a swing through Folsom, NM as storms were starting to develop off the mountains to our west ... a stronger storm had fired SE of Springer, NM and this would eventually fire the storms we’d chase for the next 5 hours into Amarillo ... dropped south on SR-402 to observe from under the anvil, the storm briefly weakening, then new updrafts triggered by outflow from the original storm exploded to 55,000 ft, and the chase was on ... west on SR-420 SW of Amistad, NM to get closer to the base, lightning getting more frequent ... power lines overhead crackling with some nearby CG strikes ... retreated, then south towards Nara Visa, NM to get better visibility, storm now severe-warned, and base/updraft structure getting better organised, mesocyclone structure evolving ... rising scud into the base, then a wall cloud started rotating, and periodic rotating scud rose into the wall cloud, as the storm was tornado-warned, with a clear couplet on base velocity ... decided to cut east on F-M 767 to Channing, TX, as new storms under the anvil intensified to our east ... treated to a CG barrage as we went northwest on US-54, then east on F-M 767, with some VERY close strikes, and booming thunder ... brief stop to watch the lightning to our west in the near darkness, then into Channing, TX about 8:40pm ... our storm, nearing Nara Visa, had re-intensified with 3” hail & rotation markers, although it wasn’t tornado-warned again ... south to Vega, TX to allow the developing storm complex to get closer, then west on I-40 to Landergin, TX watch the lightning show in the dark, really frequent lightning flashing across our whole field of view looking north ... the most active cells were to the east now, so off east on I-40 to to catch up and drive by the storms - a 35 minute drive, during which there had to be literally 100s of CG lightning bolts to our left - VERY electrified ...

Tour 5 – June 15th

A spectacular chasing day on a great tornado-warned storm with dramatic structure ... targeted an area around Enid where the parameters seemed maximised, where HRRR initiated storms consistently run-to-run, and within a larger 2% tornado risk/slight severe risk issued by the SPC ... forecast CAPE value in excess of 5,000 <revised on subsequent SPC mesoanalysis to 6,500!> ... into Enid about 4:45pm, the boundary lurking just to the south, with cumulus bubbling across the area ... a couple of storms southwest near Canton, OK really intensified, and the chase was on ... west & south through Canton, to target the southernmost storm, racing several other chasers who made the decision to drop south about the same time, a rotating wall cloud report coming in ... radar image developing a distinct hook as we drove south of Eagle City, very black to our right, with frequent intense lightning ... tornado-warning issued on the storm, stopped near Fay, OK, pronounced inflow notch on radar, observed a really robust wall cloud, a dramatic lowering near the ground, and a “tornado report” from the chasers next to us, viewed on a long lens <subsequent photo posted reveals a probable brief skinny rope tornado> ... getting darker now, only visibility under the base/ground-hugging wall cloud was with frequent lightning back-lighting the structure ... CGs getting really close, and storm starting to move more southwards, threatening to cut off our escape to the west & south, time “to flee” ... drove through Custer City, OK with the tornado sirens blaring <always dramatic>, gusty winds starting to buffet the vehicle, and heavy rain falling ... considered there was still a close margin for safety, so ran for the turn south on US-183, a new rotation forming just to our northwest, deep inflow notch just to our north ... turned south and quickly out of the rain/winds, intense lightning all around us ... now the chase turned into storm fleeing, as a line of storms from the southwest undercut our storm, and the whole complex went violently outflow … 

Tour 6 – June 17th

Targeted an area west of Vega, TX into New Mexico that seemed best favoured for strong to severe storms ... a 2% tornado risk was issued further north in Colorado, but both the parameters and various forecasters’ commentary seemed to minimise this risk, and most of that area was out of reach from OK City today ... as we headed to Amarillo after lunch, a storm had fired near Logan, NM, so headed through Amarillo to Vega, TX ... the first storm soon fizzled, but a second storm fired up a little further west, moving NE into the “no roads” area SE of Nara Visa, NM ... headed north on US-385 from Vega about 4pm to reposition, then west on F-M 767 from Channing, TX ... some new storms fired NW of Nara Visa, and these became our target storms ... stopped a couple of times SW of Nara Visa to watch the developing storms, and take some “pretty cloudscapes” photos ... drove through some rain & small hail to Logan, then NW to get under the strongest storm ... more “stormy day” photos, getting quite black to our north, with increasing lightning ... storm complex started to go outflow, hitting us with gusty crosswinds, and temps dropping 20F ... ran SW to Logan again. back into SSE winds, and warmer temps ... storms starting to develop all sorts of sculptured shapes, as they started to move SE ... down SR-469 from Logan, then east on SR-392 to a truck stop on I-40 north of Endee, in and out of the gust front, then arriving at the truck stop as it was blowing through again, dust & debris everywhere, and a now very dramatic set of storm clouds looming over the truck stop, many people standing outside marvelling at the sight ... east on I-40 to Landergin, TX, back into the warmer air & SSE winds, at a good viewing spot to watch the storm approach ... beautiful & dramatic sculptured shapes, frequent lightning and eventually the gust front rolled over us again - waited for the lightning show, but storms weakening now, so headed to Amarillo for a fast food dinner, and into our hotel about 10:45pm ... an enjoyable & photogenic chase day in what were marginal conditions for really severe storms ...

Tour 6 – June 19th

Targeted an area south and east of Gainesville, TX in a 5% tornado risk area, nominal target Bonham, TX ... tornado risk was upgraded later to 10% by the SPC ... parameters for severe storms looked impressive along an outflow boundary just south of the Red River, with an approaching wave from the west, impacting on storms initiating earlier on surface CAPE values in excess of 6,000 <a layer SPC mesoanalysis 6 hr forecast showed 7,500 CAPE!> ... approaching Whitesboro, TX convective clouds were bubbling away, and a tornado watch was issued over us ... a storm initiated to our southeast, evidenced by an anvil appearing in a gap in the low-level cumulus, the radar soon confirmed the storm initiation, and the chase was on ... stopped briefly a couple of times to admire the developing storm, explosive updrafts boiling upwards into the anvil, as the developing storm ingested the hot, humid air, fuelling rapid intensification ... as we passed through Anna, TX the storm developed a hook echo, with rotation markers ... nearing Blue Ridge, TX the rotation continued to intensify, with wall clouds being reported ... visibility limited for us under the base due to the HP nature of the storm, impressive structure though, and fascinating cloud shapes as RFD cut around the storm ... as we headed east through Farmersville, TX the storm had a pronounced hook, heading straight for Greenville, TX, and the storm was tornado-warned shortly thereafter ... coming into Greenville we started to see building damage, debris on the road, the roof on a Whataburger peeled back ... numerous emergency vehicles converging on the scene ... cut south through some back roads to get away from the traffic chaos, then south on SR-34 to Cash, TX, then east to Lone Oak, TX, then SE on  US-69 ... storm motion SSE along US-69 ... tried to position in Quitman, TX in front of the storm’s path, but motion changed to more easterly, so drove NE up SR-37 towards Winnsboro, TX ... brief break in Winnsboro, then up to Mount Vernon, to position in a car wash, in front of the now non-tornadic storm <albeit still strong with a 3” hail marker> to let the storm roll over us ... dramatic, turbulent clouds overhead, some great nearby CG lightning, but hail noisy on the roof of the car wash ... we were soon joined in the shelter of the car wash bays by local police/emergency vehicles ... waited for the storm to slip south of I-30, then headed to Mount Pleasant in heavy rain … now seeing news reports of extensive damage from a possible tornado in Greenville ... a hasty after dinner exit from Applebee’s, as a new severe-warned storm threatened ... into the vehicle in heavy rain and lashing winds, for the hour drive up US-271 to our hotel in Paris, heavy rain along the way, with intense lightning arcing across and striking near the vehicle ...

Tour 6 – June 21st

Fabulous day chasing a tornado-warned storm in NE Colorado, with a possible tornado sighted <dust swirls under a rotating wall cloud> ... targeted the western end of a 2% tornado risk in NE Colorado, nominal target of Kiowa, based on local forecasters comments, a narrow band of severe parameters SE of Denver, and the HRRR breaking out storms near Kiowa between 1 and 2 pm MDT … a small storm fired SW of Castle Rock, CO so headed west on US-86 about 1:30pm MDT towards Kiowa to await development ... arriving about 2:15pm MDT, we watched from just east of Kiowa as storm rapidly intensified, developing a robust wall cloud, and an inflow notch on radar ... inflow winds started ramping up, and a rotating wall cloud started to develop ... up the hill to the Kiowa water tower for a better view, storm getting a major hook on radar, fabulous structure to the storm, a menacing wall cloud surging toward us ... clear rotation of the wall cloud, and periodic swirls of dust on the ground ... storm was tornado-warned … decided to decamp towards Limon, stopping again on US-86 northwest of Ramah, CO about 2:25pm MDT ... beautiful structure to the storm, really dramatic shapes, and a reorganising wall cloud ... dropping south from Limon on SR-71 - dust streaming across the road at times, reducing visibility to nil ... stopped a couple of times west of Hugo, CO to marvel at the sight as the storm raced towards us at 37kts ... dust being sucked up into the updraft base, both inflow and RFD dust ... so ran east to Aroya, CO where we had a breather as our storm started to weaken ... as we headed east to Cheyanne Falls, CO, the skies started to fill with convective cumulus parallel cloud streets ... into the Gap Bar & Grill in Cheyenne Wells, with another storm starting to strengthen to our west ... came out of restaurant to find huge updrafts soaring into an billowing new anvil right overhead ... GRLevel3 radar showed a rapidly intensifying storm headed right for us, with hail reports up to 1 1/2” size just down the road west of us ... time to take the vehicle to shelter ... drove under the awning at D-Brands station ... could see a wall of dust, and close on its heels, heavy precipitation just to the west, with lightning flashing across the oncoming storm ... soon screaming winds enveloped the station in dust and debris, followed closely by heavy hail - 1/4” to 1/2” size - being whipped across the forecourt, bouncing off the vehicle despite the shelter - what a sight, and the noise!! - thankfully the hail didn’t get much bigger <postscript - discovered minor hail damage on the hood of the vehicle> ... looked like winter outside after the storm passed, temps down to 55F ... back to the Gap to find hail piled around the entrances to the restaurant ... headed east after dinner, periodic hail dumps reducing the road to only vehicle tracks in the layers of hail, lightning flashing across the impressive updrafts and anvil to our east, softly lit by the last light from the sun over the horizon ...

Tour 6 – June 23rd

Targeted SE Oklahoma, NE Texas ahead of a cold outflow boundary sagging southeastwards … during the morning the SPC and other models/parameters realigned to a target near Wichita Falls, TX and along the immediate vicinity of the Red River ... SPC then issued a 5% tornado risk in the target area ... changed course to head down I-44, stopping in Wichita Falls about 2pm for lunch ... temps in the low 90s, with near mid-70s dewpoints meant a juicy atmosphere, surface-based CAPE forecast to reach 6,500, and already convective towers going up all around us ... a storm soon went up almost right over us, so headed NE up SR-79, stopping about 2:45pm southwest of Petrolia, TX to track just underneath the base/anvil edge ... dropped south to Dean, TX for some photo perspective, then back north to get closer to the frequent CG lightning ... dropped south on US-281 on some new severe-warned storms coming from the southwest ... stopped a couple of times to observe the storms starting to go outflow with turbulent clouds overhead, north of Scotland, TX, then south to Windthorst, TX about 4:30pm, where were treated to a spectacular shelf cloud/whales mouth feature rolling overhead ... west on SR-25 to Archer City, TX to get closer to some more new storms, parked under an awning & watched frequent, nearby CG lightning ... headed further west on SR-25, between two hail cores, CG lightning bracketing the vehicle ... stopped a little west to let the southern hail core pass northeast, watching yet more brilliant CGs strike across the landscape to the east ... back into Archer City for a break, heavy rain and some hail on the way ... emerged from the gas station into blustery winds, lashing rain across the forecourt, frequent nearby CG lightning ... waited for winds to subside a little, made a dash for the vehicle, jumping over water running across the path ... as I jumped the water, a CG struck with simultaneous booming thunder, VERY nearby - a dramatic send off for the 2019 season!! ... beautiful mammatus clouds underneath the anvils spreading all the way past Oklahoma City ...

2019 Sightseeing Highlights

Despite being a very active chase season – severe thunderstorms on 41 of the 51 days chasing out on the Plains - we managed to experience numerous tourist attractions while waiting/travelling to severe weather targets:

  • Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art - Roswell, NM
  • Art Displays - Lucas, KS
  • Bach Festival Recital - Victoria, TX
  • Baker Hotel - Mineral Wells, TX
  • Big Bend National Park - TX
  • Big Texan - Amarillo, TX
  • Boot Hill Museum - Dodge City, KS
  • Bottomless Lakes State Park - Roswell, NM
  • Buddy Holly Center - Lubbock, TX
  • Capulin Volcano National Monument - Capulin NM
  • Caverns of Sonora - Sonora, TX
  • Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center - Enid, CO
  • Classic Car Show - Wichita Falls, TX
  • Conoco Gas Station - Shamrock, TX
  • Cosmosphere & Space Museum - Hutchinson, KS
  • Dinosaur Tracks Exhibit - Clayton Lake State Park, NM
  • Dorothy's House/Yellow Brick Road - Liberal, KS
  • Eiffel Tower - Paris, TX
  • Five Points Museum of Comtemporary Art - Victoria, TX
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Skyscraper - Bartlesville, OK
  • Garden of Eden - Eden, TX
  • Ghost Town/Museum - Folsom, NM
  • Giant Van Gogh - Goodland, KS
  • Golden Spike Tower/Bailey Marshalling Yards - North Platte, NE
  • Historic Downtown District - San Angelo, TX
  • Historic Downtown District - Trinidad, CO
  • Historic Homes Tour - Victoria, TX
  • Hotel Eklund - Clayton, NM
  • International UFO Museum & Research Center - Roswell, NM
  • Jack Sisemore RV Museum - Amarillo, TX
  • Jack Sisemore RV Museum - Amarillo, TX
  • Keystone Gallery - Monument Rocks, KS
  • Monument Rocks - KS
  • National Weather Center - Norman, OK
  • Paisano Pete - Fort Stockton, TX
  • Palo Duro Canyon - TX
  • Phillips Petroleum Museum - Bartlesville, OK
  • Point of Rocks - Elkhart, KS
  • Prairie Dog Town - Lubbock, TX
  • Rosebud Fountain & Grill - Victoria, TX
  • Route 66 Buildings - McLean, TX
  • Route 66 Buildings - Nara Visa, NM
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument - Scotts Bluff, NE
  • Silent Wings Museum - Lubbock, TX
  • Stonehenge <replica> - Odessa, TX
  • Twister Movie Museum - Wakita, KS
  • West 6th Street - Austin, TX
  • Wheatland School - Wheatland, NM
  • Windmill Museum - Shattuck, OK
  • World's Littlest Skyscraper - Wichita Falls, TX