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Thursday, June 2, 2016

5/31 Marfa, TX shelf cloud

Alpine, TX
Marfa, TX
Near Alpine, TX
We began today in Alpine, TX, and we were in great position for the day's festivities.  Models showed storms developing to the west and moving east due to upper level winds.  Because of this, we decided to give the guests another grocery store run.  While they were shopping for more goodies, we took the vans to get vacuumed.  After we picked up the guests, we stopped at a local diner for lunch, which was called Reata's.  When lunch was over, we did a quick gas station stop to top off the vans and give the group an opportunity for a pit stop.  Storms are unpredictable, so pit stops might not happen once we get on a good storm.  We drove east out of town for 5 miles before finding a nice picnic area to wait for storm initiation.  There was a decent looking cell to our north that was trying to get its act together.  It's cloud tops kept increasing and decreasing, and it remained relatively stationary.  After lingering for a while, we decided to investigate this cell.  It gave us a decent wall cloud for a bit with a pronounced RFD cut.  For those of you who are not familiar with weather terminology, an RFD cut is a good sign that the storm is healthy and could possibly produce a tornado.  It occurs when rain-cooled air is pulled from the storm to the ground and helps initiate tornado development.  Unfortunately, this storm started producing outflow, which meant the storm was beginning to die.  We began working our way west towards Marfa, TX, because there was a storm in that vicinity that was showing promising signs.  Its base was pronounced and it was showing signs of rotation.  As we got closer, we were able to stop and watch it.  Like the previous cell, it started becoming outflowy and it gave us a photogenic shelf cloud.  We ended up in Alpine, TX for the night after driving 226 miles.
Marfa, TX