May 23, 2013 - Texas Panhandle - Haboob Dust Storm
A massive dust storm, known as a Haboob, engulfs part of the Texas panhandle thanks to a powerful supercell thunderstorm. Zero visibility was common around the storm making travel very dangerous.
Texas Dust Storm Causes Zero Visibility
We left Amarillo, Texas around 9:00 am and our target would be west of the Childress, Texas area. The morning synoptic surface conditions had a dry-line across the New Mexico, Texas border, while a westward moving outflow boundary would be the focal point for severe thunderstorm development. Storm motions were expected to be very slow movers, but adequate instability and enough wind shear would favor supercells.
The guys decided to find a park and grill before our chase endured. The outflow boundary moved west of us and figured storms would initiate near Amarillo or further south. The first storm of the day initiated along this boundary, 50 miles southwest of Childress, Texas and quickly became tornado warned. We hit the road and decided to pursue the storm.
The storm became a supercell rather quickly that featured a pronounced hook echo on radar. We wound up on the east side of the high precipitation supercell and our plan was to drive around it to view the updraft region. The storm began to slowly shift due south and realized in the distance that dust was being picked up. The inflow became stronger as we got closer and dust was persistent causing visibility to 1/4 of a mile. Conditions had become so bad, we lost sight of the road and drove into a ditch. We waited five minutes hoping the dust storm would subside, but we needed to get out of the ditch, and back on a paved road that was 2 miles to our south. Thankfully, we made it out, but still endured limited visibility. We drove west through Crosbyton and Rallis and the dust storm continued to obscure our view of the supercell. It was there next to us the whole time; but we couldn't make out any storm features. There were reports of tornadoes in the area, but they were weak and brief.
There was no point chasing this storm any longer, and we drove back to Amarillo, Texas to find another storm north of the city. We continued to follow it, but it reached its demise near Lake Meredith. The chase was over; our trip was over. We drove to view what water was left of Lake Meredith and headed back to Amarillo, Texas to call it a night.
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