After the forecasting bust the day before, and this my last planned day out, I was hoping to recoup some sloppy decisions and be more focused. I overnighted at a rest stop south of Hale Center, Texas. I got moving in time to reach an outflow boundary near Pyote. I’d chased the area three days earlier, so I already had some vantages in mind. By 19Z, I was at my first hilltop overlook watching as storms began to fire and take on supercell characteristics.
Structure looked decent for a while, but then started to dwindle, while another stronger cell was blowing up further northwest. I bailed on my location and headed north of Barstow to intercept it as at moved southeast. It quickly grew into a huge HP with constant lightning raining down in advance. I wasn’t able to stop for long to get shots and had to stay inside the car for safety the whole time. I wasn’t able to manage any photos of what would have otherwise been some spectacular strikes and instead had to settle for watching scud fingers rise into the base in advance of the onrushing core.
I finally got a bit out ahead of it near Coyanosa and as I was looking for a vantage, I saw another snake in the road. I backed up and prepared to move it off to safer pastures. That’s when I saw it was a Diamondback Rattlesnake. I grabbed a few shots and then went to get the snake hook to goad off into the brush. But it decided that the safest spot would be underneath the car. That quickly got stressful, because it was downright determined to get underneath the car, rattling the entire time. Each time I yanked it away from the car, it faced me down for a second and then hustled back to the shadow of the car. I finally managed to hustle it off into the weeds and made mental note to park much further from unidentified snakes next time.
That lost me more time than I wanted, but there wasn’t much more to see. The storm was still an HP mess and I was pretty much resigned to ending the chase trip with a couple messy days. I started my drive home and parked for the night west of Carlsbad, figuring to continue home the next morning.