28 May 2009


5/28/09:  Western TX
Knew we didn’t have to travel far today to see storms, so we made the best of the expensive hotel rooms by staying until check-out time.  As we left the hotel in Alpine, we could see convection once again firing on the mountains nearby, but we set our sights further north toward Midland-Odessa TX.  Once we got there, we had some uncertainty about where to head to see the best storms (meanwhile, the storm near Alpine was growing in intensity and starting to move off the mountains).  Storms were firing to the SE, but they were having a hard time getting going; meanwhile, storms were also firing in NM, including a severe-warned storm.  But nothing looked very organized, with the better lapse rates to the N/W and better moisture to the S/E.  Opted to head toward the north stuff mainly because we wanted to end up in that direction, anyway, for a return to the central Plains on Friday.  (Meanwhile, the storm was now over Alpine producing nickel hail and drifting slowly SE… ahh, irony.)  Headed NW out of Odessa to a location about halfway between Andrews TX and Kermit TX, about 20 miles east of the NM/TX border.  Watched an updraft for a while, then decided to drive through the core to see if we could at least find fat rain drops (suffice to say that we weren’t impressed).  Were pleasantly surprised to find pea size hail in there on the first pass, but it was gone by the second pass.  By this time, it was past 7pm and convection was not becoming any more impressive, so we opted to bag it and head north to get a hotel.  Ate at the Sonic in Plainview TX (Jenn’s first Sonic experience!), and pushed ourselves to Guymon OK for the night.  Stayed at a gem of a Best Western along Hwy 54 – this time, the hotel really was worth the money!  Definitely the place to go in the Panhandle area – more reasonable rates than Dumas TX but much nicer than Amarillo hotels that we’ve seen.  Short night, since we think we need to head to Nebraska tomorrow.