March 17th, 2008 West Texas Supercells

March 17th, 2008: Simon Brewer and Anna Morrell intercepted 2 supercells near Abilene, TX. This wasn't the best chase day; the upper-level support was too far west of the 'warm sector' and a thick cirrus canopy prevented significant surface heating and associated instability. First cell fired along the dryline WSW of Abilene and produced a brief tornado in Nolan County west of Abilene. I intercepted this cell west of Anson, TX, but it rapidly dissipated. Later in the afternoon another cell 'fired' off the dryline south of Abilene in Runnels County. The pics on the right show this cell with nice inflow bands.

The cell south of Abilene didn't last long and either moved into a region of low instability or the 'CAP' was too strong. It dissapated southwest of Baird, TX. Another cell quickly fired near Abilene and was quickly tornado warned, but the cold front quickly undercut this storm. The pics on the right show the storm near Abilene (actually northeast of Abilene) with large windmill turbines in the foreground. The cell was clearly elevated behind the cold front, so I kept taking lightning pics.

It was still daylight, so I couldn't leave the camera shutter open too long, so used a high apeture to slow down the shutter speed and fired-off almost 50 nearly-continuous shots to get these 2 lightning pics. Those 3 lightning strikes occured simultaneously in the pic on the left! The pic on the right shows some weak updrafts behind the cold front with windmill turbines in the foreground and the sunset in the background. Not a bad day; got a great lightning pic.


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