Weather Adventure

I saw a storm in 2020!

Hold the phones, let’s break the news, I finally saw a storm in 2020 on purpose!

While I doubted myself the whole way because moisture was just so bad, I still made the trek on Sunday to NE New Mexico for some proper social isolation and storm photography.

This was my initial view as storms were trying to build over the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Springer, NM.

Initially the sky was quite murky and my doubts came racing back. With storms, sometimes you question/wonder why you just drove three hours on such a marginal looking day and that was me at this moment.

Real storm bases began to finally come into view, which was encouraging.

Finally after an hour of sitting and watching a murky mess with an occasional lightning strike take shape over the mountains, a storm began to move off of the higher terrain and towards me.

Indeed, I was finally in business!

I readjusted to Springer and then south towards Wagon Mound to keep pace with the strengthening storm in the evening. The outflow winds were extremely cold due to the low dewpoints, which made me happy I had dressed for this!

Also the winds kicked up quite a bit of dust on the outflows front edge.

At this point the storm was clearly outflow dominant as it moved south and east, still approaching me somewhat rapidly.
I repositioned further south with the storm beginning to overtake me just north of Wagon Mound.

With the storm approaching Wagon Mound and sunset approaching quickly, I made a strategic decision to let the storm overtake me so I could sample the hail core (if there was any) and then shoot the backside of the storm as it moved off into the night.

The storm moving overhead just east of Wagon Mound.

Unfortunately for me, the core was pretty mild with only very small hail sampled.

Worse, the storm itself didn’t have a clear view on its backside, so I moved south to try to salvage the day as the cold front generated by the storm kept pace with me. Still, I managed one final scene at sunset.

A look at the underbelly of the advancing cold front from the parent storm as it moved south near Las Vegas, NM.

All in all, not a bad first storm photography day of 2020. Tactically everything was on point and I learned quite a bit on some shooting strategy with multiple cameras. So a successful first day for sure!

By Raychel Sanner

I'm a trans photographer and filmmaker based in New Mexico. I love adventure and travel and exploring my state. I chase down incredible storms and skies. I advocate for good mental health and for my trans siblings.

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