2021-03-13 TX/OK: REPORTS

Aug 9, 2012
418
784
21
Galesburg, IL
tornadoguys.com
Left Illinois on Friday afternoon with a target of Amarillo, TX on Saturday afternoon between 2PM to 6PM for tornadic supercells. I liked the degree of low level shear coupled with 0-3km CAPE and 60 degree dew points this far west this early in the year and decided to go for it. We arrived in Shamrock by lunchtime and headed southwest toward Clarendon, TX before we headed west for the Happy, TX cyclic supercell. We positioned northeast of the storm in the path looking down the inflow notch. We had to wait until the main circulation got around 3 miles from us before we realized we were watching a giant wedge tornado and then eventually heard the audible roar. I had an escape plan to the east which had clear air and allowed the circulation to pass behind us safely by a couple miles. Another wall cloud developed to the east with a possible touchdown near Clarendon, but I couldn't confirm this. I played other storms further south near Paducah, TX around dark that didn't produce. Overall a pretty frustrating chase, but nice to get on the board for 2021 so early. Definitely a grungy, low contrast tornado....but one nonetheless.

Here is my best shots of it looking SW by about 2-3mi toward Happy, TX:

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The roar this tornado produced was fairly impressive and reminded me of the Stanton, Nebraska tornado during the June 16, 2014 tornado family. Wish it had been more visible from further away....
 
Mar 2, 2004
2,335
518
11
Wichita, KS
www.facebook.com

While the bar wasn't set very high to begin with, this was easily my best March storm chase ever and probably the largest tornado I have seen that far west.

Left Wichita around 730am and made a rather casual drive through Liberal/Stratford/Amarillo. Was aiming for fuel up before I got in on the storms that had fired off to my west, but as I got to the south side of Amarillo, I heard the initial report of the tornado southwest of Happy, so figuring I had more than enough fuel to manage, I opted to skip the stop and busted down I-27 toward Happy.

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I took FM-1075 into Happy, headed west, and watched as the wedge got organized to my west. I got about 2 or so miles west of Happy, then turned north on what I think was Western or Bell (will have to look at my GPS) as the wedge became its most pronounced. I had a really good view for several minutes as I drove north, just south of due east of the tornado.



I was well positioned, knowing the tornado was north of my due west, so I had some room if it suddenly turned hard right. The road I turned on was mud and fairly slick, but very manageable in my AWD Subaru.

As the tornado approached my road north of me, the RFD swung around, and when combined with the slick roads, actually slid me off the side of the road. I coasted to a stop and decided to wait out the RFD, no sense in tempting fate. I watched as the tornado continued off to the northeast, eventually vanishing in the precip wrapping around in the RFD. Once the RFD subsided, I was easily able to continue north to FM-1705, and I watched a little satellite tornado spin down south of the main circulation which was largely hidden from view for me by this point. I'm embarrassed to report that in the process of getting the vid on the satellite, I managed to hit the

I hit a couple areas of damage that slowed my arrival to I-27, and once i got to the interstate, documented some damage in the area where the tornado and RFD came through. Multiple poles snapped and down, several vehicles flipped, and a cell phone tower toppled over. I saw in the distance what looked to be several damaged buildings, but I was unable to get to those from where I was on I-27.

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When I finally continued north on I-27 back to Amarillo, I decided to hop east on I-40. In my head, more than satisfied with my trip, I decided I'd split the pair of supercells between Groom and Alanreed, getting into wind-driven hail and several bottlenecks where traffic was stopped beneath overpasses.

I eventually did get in front of the storms, and finally made my fuel stop of fumes in McLean. I was hearing reports of the tornadoes south of I-40 near Clarendon, but opted to continue east with the intention to get home by 11a as I was due in to weatherman starting at 3am and I was already losing an hour due to DST kicking in.

Honestly, I am thrilled with this chase... it was a lot of miles (877 miles) and hours driving (15.5 hours round trip) for only about 12 minutes of tornado time, but my oh my was it worth the trip. Amazingly, I hardly ran into a single chaser, and given the few images I have seen during the Happy wedge phase, I think I made the early move west at the right time. From that point on, I was behind the main line, so I never got into any kinda chaser traffic. Made for a rather nice Moderate Risk Saturday.

Then as I was typing this, had a couple earthquakes here in Wichita, so Quakenado 2? LOL
 
Jan 16, 2009
668
709
21
Kansas City
I started in Plainville Texas since I chased the day before. I didn't plan on moving a whole lot but did head west a little bit to Springlake TX. The first warned storm of the day was right there at Springlake. The first photo shows what was reported as a funnel though I saw brief circulation on the ground. I tracked the cell for a while then decided mistakenly to drop south to the next cell in line. As I was dropping south I noticed in my rearview the second shot below of the Nazareth tornado. I eventually made my way back north to get on the Happy storm and eventually get over to Claude. At Claude I broke down and that was the end of my Chase. I am still in Amarillo waiting for the Toyota dealership to open on Monday. It was a great chase weekend however not the greatest of endings. šŸ˜”

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Nate M.

EF0
May 16, 2019
28
102
1
Neosho Mo
Judging from social media, etc...it looks like most people had the same gray, murky experience I did, but still a good chase. I left SW Missouri at 5:30am, taking my time. I got to my target around 1 but tried to stay put for a bit in Silverton until I got a sense of how things would play out. I eventually decided to head on over to Tulia when things seemed to favor the northern mode. I was glad to be headed towards I40 anyway, so I could have an easier drive home. I really found the road network to be less than desirable and it was made much more complicated by storm damage. There were quite a few semis flipped there near Happy, and then as I was getting into position to see the tornado again near Claude, there was unfortunately a camper jackknifed in the road. I really hope everyone is ok. I know the tornado at Happy did quite a bit of damage to at least one residence and some utilities. Alas, here is my very unnoteworthy screen grabs of the supercell west of Tulia, with wrapping rain curtains, and then the brief satellite tornado east of Happy. I took nearly no still photography yesterday. Still a great chase! 2021 is underway. Stay safe out there. tempImage4QUl6Q.jpg IMG_0306.jpg IMG_0316.jpg
 
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James Gustina

Supporter
Mar 9, 2010
663
299
11
26
Dallas, TX
www.thunderingskies.blogspot.com
I got almost completely skunked on this one. We initially targeted Alanreed but adjusted south as it became apparent that the cirrus deck was not going to fully burn off. Got to Clarendon around 2 PM and grabbed lunch before swinging south as new convection went up east of Lubbock. Stopped and waited at the intersection of 256 and 70 east of Caprock Canyons State Park for storms to our south to get their act together. The Nazareth/Happy/Palo Duro storm was already going nuts by this point. We waited for the first set of storms to congeal and one managed to finally take on supercell characteristics near Plainview. We traipsed over to Silverton and then south to watch it as it approached Texas 207. Saw a brief rope in the distance that quickly dissipated and watched as the storm slowly crapped out (didn't even get the chance to get a halfway decent photo). We moved back east through Silverton down Texas 256, got blasted by the storm's RFD right before coming off the Llano, got some rainbow shots and then attempted to meet the northern storm that was producing a pretty impressive velocity signature south of Clarendon. We attempted to hook slice it on 70 south of Clarendon but were unable to get past the RFD/unwilling to go in any further into the murk to try and salvage the chase. Dilly dallied a bit east of Clarendon, took a paved farm to market road 1260 that eventually proved to be unpaved after it crossed the Salt Fork of the Red River so we ended the chase there.

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This was an incredibly frustrating chase to say the least. I missed some key forecasting cues that may have allowed us to get to the Happy storm up onto the Llano Estacado but the Rolling Plains to the Caprock area is still arguably the most challenging region on the Southern Plains due to poor road network and terrain.
 

Randy Jennings

Supporter
May 18, 2013
551
556
11
After chasing the TX panhandle on Friday, we (Chadwick Stelzl and myself) spent the night in Lubbock, woke up, made a repair to the chase vehicle, and headed to our target on Plainview TX a little after 10 AM. We hung out in Plainview and analyzed observations, satellite, and radar and decided to head west. This was a hard decision to make, as we had gotten a little behind on Friday after a perfect initial target and we where seeing lots of other chasers talking about targets much further east. but going west paid off. We went to Earth, TX just to take pics of the town and make flat earth jokes while watching the sky. Storm init occurred from northwest to southeast. The cell to our south near Amherst caught our eye and we went east to Springlake to wait on it to come to us. It passed barely to our west and became the first svr warned storm of the day in the warm sector. We worked our way northeast to Hart and went north to Nazareth and then went just west of town. We observed some circulation in the rain free base and captured this video as it produced the first tornado of the day (yes I know - it is boardline and I will not argue if you think it isn't a tor, but I'm still counting it). As we where submitting the report it became the first tor warning of the day. It didn't last very long.

Video - Google Photos

The cell south of us became tor warned, and we went east towards Tulia. I got this picture of old equipment with a wall cloud trying to form in the background (it didn't produce).

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We stopped to get gas in Tulia and had another car issue (this one turned out to be a rock in the brake calipers), so we got behind at this point. We worked our way northeast and took 207 north thru the canyon (this is where the narrower Palo Duro Canyon merges into the wider Caprock Canyon). We caught a full rainbow with both ends in the canyon.

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We went north to I-40 and went east. We saw an opportunity to push thru between the worst part of two cells and took it. The cell to our south became tor warned. We where a little worried about not making it as traffic was slow in the moderate rain and cross wind and there was construction that had us down to one lane. We made it to just east of McLean and went a little south to watch the confirmed tor warned cell to our west. Inflow was insane, but we never saw it (was getting dark and almost no lightning). We ended up chasing it to Wheeler, but gave up due to the lack of light and no lightning. We went home and arrived back in the DFW area after a 2 day chase of 1,300 miles.
 
Apr 10, 2008
498
249
11
Tulsa, OK
www.facebook.com
Overall Saturday's chase was stressful and tiring. I witnessed four tornadoes but was only able to get quality documentation of one. Storm motions were fast, visibilities mostly low, and navigation difficult. I am still chasing solo because of COVID-19, and I am currently recovering from shoulder surgery (March 5) on my right arm. These two factors added to the difficulty of the chase. I targeted Silverton, TX and hung out there early on while supercells north of Happy became tornadic. I waffled between going after the storms along I-27 or chase development near Lubbock. I decided to play the I-27 corridor and caught the Happy wedge from a distance (from the south) which made it difficult to see. Another tornado formed with the next cell in the line just south of Happy. This tornado was very brief. After that I took county road 1881 east of Happy and documented a tornado over open farmland. This tornado lasted about 2 minutes and exhibited multiple vortex structure under a solid cone funnel.

After navigating on a number of muddy county roads I made it HWY 207 just south of Palo Duro Canyon, but decided to let the storm go because I had lost ground on it and felt I wouldn't be able to catch up again.

I headed back to Silverton and intercepted a tornado just east of town. I then made my way north up to Clarendon, but didn't make it in time to see the two tornadoes there.

This chase was mentally taxing. I was unable to get out of the vehicle and watch any of the tornadoes due to fast storm motions and heavy precip and took zero pictures with my DSLR. Still it is nice getting my first tornadoes of 2021. Hoping for more chaseable storms later in the season.

Here is a cell phone video capture of the tornado east of Happy at 4:05pm.

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Mark Stephens

Enthusiast
Feb 2, 2021
6
12
1
Philadelphia PA
Drove out from Philly to the TX panhandle. Had a lovely couple of chase days despite getting stuck in the mud on Saturday. I should warn that I do not have a nice camera or any experience with documenting good photos, I'm all in it for the adventure and love of storms. Saw a couple of brief tornadoes on both days and had a hell of a time out there! Felt great to be back out on the road.
 

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