1998 Sugar Land F2

Discussion in 'Advanced weather & chasing' started by T. Mosley, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. T. Mosley

    T. Mosley EF0

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    On February 16, 1998, a small tornado developed just west of Houston's Southwest Freeway (Hwy. 59S) at about 5:30 PM - well into rush hour.

    During that time of day, the traffic is bumper to bumper going south on 59. Sugar Land is a suburb of Houston, about 15 miles to the southwest, and it is here that the tornado developed and set down. There could have been hundreds of casualties due to the traffic conditions, but, miraculously, the tornado skipped over the freeway and set down in the parking lot of First Colony Mall, just east of the freeway. It was about 100 yards wide and plowed into the corner of the Dillard's store there, punching an impressively large hole in the building. Numerous cars were damaged, but there were no injuries or worse.

    I work about 1/2 mile from that mall and saw the funnel lift back up from the encounter with Dillard's. I chased the storm east, but was defeated by the traffic after about 7 miles. However, the rear side of the storm was alive with electrical activity - indeed, I have never seen anything like that before or since. It was a constant arcing of lightning all over the backside, which was a very dark, bulging dome. It looked quite like a fishnet made of lightning, and it was actively flickering all over the backside for as long as I could see the storm, which moved rapidly off to the east.

    I have never seen anything even close to an electrical display like that on the tornadic storms that I have observed - has anyone else?
     
  2. Hey! I saw that tornado...it was my first on film:D

    I was stuck in college class, didnt' even have a car, but I was in a good spot. I saw a double rainbow with the twister in the center of it. Then an amazing third rainbow line shooting straight up as the tornado came close to the inner bow. The lightning was fantastic!!!! All I had was a point 'n' shoot camera with me. GRR!!! I carry a camera with me everywhere now.

    http://www.weatherfriend.com/storms/1998/firstcolonytwister.html

    I should really rescan the images, but there they are.

    did you get any pics?

    Christie Ponder
    www.weatherfriend.com
    www.christiesphotos.com
     
  3. T. Mosley

    T. Mosley EF0

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    Good Job

    Hi, Christie:

    Congrats on being there and capturing those shots! That was the 3rd tornado I have seen from this building (Hwy. 6 @ Hwy. 59) over the last 17 years. I was leaving work when it occurred and had missed the earlier touchdown. I first saw it as it had retracted back up after having hit that Dillard's store. You know what the traffic is like around there, but due to the unusual electrical activity observed, I thought it probable that another tornado would spawn and so hence the attempt at chase.

    No, I did not get photos - would that I had, to document the appearance of the rear flank with that electrical display. But it was February and I was hardly expecting anything of the sort. I now carry a disposable camera with me in anticipation of another event.

    You know, I don't remember seeing those rainbows, but my eyes were elsewhere. Congratulations again on your shots - are you still in the Sugar Land area?
     
  4. I know the traffic of that area all too well. I wished you had had a camera too! That would have been a good pic! :) Won't miss the chance again with a disposable camera at your side.

    I knew there was a chance of storms that day. I had my Minolta SLR with me for work, then I was dropped off at the college(had no car at the time). I only kept my point 'n' shoot with me at that point thinking that our storm chances were gone. GRR!! Oh well...at least I had that backup. Now I carry a Canon A75 digital camera that gives really nice 8x10 shots.

    I am working in Stafford now, not too far away from Sugarland and I live down in Arcola off hwy 6. Its a good location as storms that come through love this field full of towers out by the Ft. Bend Tollroad.

    Anyways, I'm sure ready for some more storm action. Plan a possible chase this weekend with some friends and a few days at the end of May where my sis and I are chasing Tx panhandle or Oklahoma.

    Good luck!!!
     

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