Friday, 24 May 2013

A memorable chase, but not for the right reasons!

We started the day in Childress and hung around until early afternoon. We started to head west towards Estelline and then dropped south towards Turkey. A storm had fired to the south-west of that area. There were reports of occasional weak spin-ups underneath the storm so we moved into a position to look at the updraught. We'd dropped south to Matador, and then west/south to near Dougherty.

However, the dry conditions in this part of the Panhandle made the inflow, and outflow, very dusty indeed. It was very hard to see much of the updraught base for much of the time due to the dust.

We continued to drop southwards to keep ahead of the storm - plenty of very local whirls were occurring along the leading edge of the outflow which looked pretty cool as they spun the dust up. A new wall cloud attempted to organise close to us. We carried on to the south.

We reached highway 82 east of Crosbyton and paused briefly just off the road to watch the dust again, facing south. After a few minutes the wind started to pick up and 'jets' of dust started to race past from the north. Suddenly a wall of black enshrouded the car and the wind increased to probably 70-80mph. This lofted stones from the edge of the road and threw them into the back of our car, smashing the back window and two side windows (one by the back door and the one by the boot on the driver's side). A stone came into the car with such force it chipped the inside of the front windscreen. Luckily we were both uninjured, although pretty shook up!

We had to get away from the storm so took quite a protracted run to the south and then west to Post, Texas. As we pulled up at the McDonald's (somewhere to have a pee!) the manageress came out and asked us if we were OK, and gave us a sack to put some of the glass in. Then a chap appeared who owned the business next door and said he could cover up the broken windows with some kind of sticky plastic stuff (a vinyl type thing) - we accepted his kind offer and drove the car into his workshop. He did a sterling job and wouldn't accept any cash, despite my best efforts to pay him - what a star!

I called the rental car company and they arranged a new car for us at Lubbock, which we picked up. We're now in the Sleep Inn, having had dinner at Applebee's.

The dust storm about to envelop us - note the extreme darkness in the wing mirror.

Just 3 seconds later, and we're engulfed.

The Go Pro's view of the departing wall of dust which had just blasted us...maybe a microburst? Whatever it was, it was powerful.

The car in the chap's workshop who patched it up for us. Fat Cat Graphix is the name of the business.


  1. OMG. Be careful!
    Mum and Dad

  2. Bloddy hell matey! My stomach flipped over and I'm thousands of miles away! Please take care of yourselves. G, W & B