2022-05-04 REPORTS: TX

Apr 25, 2022
12
46
1
North Carolina
We chased the cell that started up near Dumont and Paducah Texas. It spun off a couple of tubes including one that was anti-cyclonic next to the wall cloud. We ran out of solid road options to stay with it so got stuck on 204 to Truscott, TX which was a dirt road. The next tornado spawned and hooked southeastward toward us while there was cattle blocking that road but we managed to drop southeastward and get away from it before it moved off to the east once again. The next tornado was a nice cone and we got a solid view of the meso and the tor itself. Unfortunately I was not in position to use the drone effectively and we had to stay with it. We finally ended up on rt. 6 near Truscott/Crowell where the now famous cone with red dust was caught. We were too far south to see that one clearly. All in all it was a great chase and below are a few shots of the cone that I got.

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Jan 16, 2009
688
774
21
Kansas City
I started in Norman after chasing to Purcell the night before with a target of Memphis Texas by 2pm. I noticed that the warm front was just south of the red river and might not get as far north due to ongoing storms in western Oklahoma. I decided to go checkout the early storms that formed by the canyon knowing they were off the low. Once they looked like crap I made the trip south through Turkey to get to the WF. I noticed the cell starting on the WF east of Lubbock and headed to that area. I was under the cell by Dickens and watched the early tornadoes by Dumont. Photo 5 shows the small first one that lasted 30 second or so. Photo 1 shows the next tornado that was the first decent tornado of the day. I stayed with the cell as it moved NE towards Paducah.

Here is where the first mistake was made at least for tornado viewing. I noticed that the cell turned towards the east and that the roads were not great to the east of 83 and might not go all the way through to 6. I had my girlfriend with me and did not want to get in a bad spot on a dirt road. I decided to go down and around the cell through Guthrie underestimating the time and distance it would take. Photo 6 (Posted by Jane Herbert on FB) shows that a lot of chasers did the same thing though we are way ahead of them (We are the dots at Benjamin). We got back up in front of the cell and went west towards a better view. We saw the end of a tornado (Photo 2) I assume was the incredible Crowell tornado that we missed most of. We went back south a bit and watched it drop the next one (Photo 3) with a few power flashes under it though I no idea what is out there to be hit.

Next mistake was made here. We went north back towards the cell and noticed it tightening up again and stopped to watch it produce a large wall cloud southwest of Thalia. I decided to stay with it by turning east on 70 knowing that it might form a tornado again. We had just lost data for the first time all day so I had to use wind direction and hail to determine locations. I figured the cell should move just enough to the NE if I stayed back to see the wall cloud again and possible tornado. As we drove the wind starting whipping around to the SE so I knew I had a tornado most likely to my immediate front right. We proceeded with caution moving slowly to the east hoping for a view of it and at one point I opened the window to hear the roar of the tornado. I saw the left edge of a tornado with lightning and knew it was going to cross in front of us so we stopped and waited for it to cross by Lockett. Once I could make out the now just wall cloud to our NW I knew it crossed and started to proceeded NE. We ran into the tour group van (Photo 4) with power lines down all around them. At first I was worried they were getting zapped but they all waved and gave a thumbs up from the back. I stopped and a few people got out and I decided to proceed as they had help and I did not like those power lines. In this situation and all similar personal safety should be considered before the urge to help people. I am happy no one was seriously injured in the van or outside coming to render aid. We went to Vernon and parked in light rain for a bit and called the chase.

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Jun 4, 2018
118
113
11
Altus, OK
I started in Norman after chasing to Purcell the night before with a target of Memphis Texas by 2pm. I noticed that the warm front was just south of the red river and might not get as far north due to ongoing storms in western Oklahoma. I decided to go checkout the early storms that formed by the canyon knowing they were off the low. Once they looked like crap I made the trip south through Turkey to get to the WF. I noticed the cell starting on the WF east of Lubbock and headed to that area. I was under the cell by Dickens and watched the early tornadoes by Dumont. Photo 5 shows the small first one that lasted 30 second or so. Photo 1 shows the next tornado that was the first decent tornado of the day. I stayed with the cell as it moved NE towards Paducah.

Here is where the first mistake was made at least for tornado viewing. I noticed that the cell turned towards the east and that the roads were not great to the east of 83 and might not go all the way through to 6. I had my girlfriend with me and did not want to get in a bad spot on a dirt road. I decided to go down and around the cell through Guthrie underestimating the time and distance it would take. Photo 6 (Posted by Jane Herbert on FB) shows that a lot of chasers did the same thing though we are way ahead of them (We are the dots at Benjamin). We got back up in front of the cell and went west towards a better view. We saw the end of a tornado (Photo 2) I assume was the incredible Crowell tornado that we missed most of. We went back south a bit and watched it drop the next one (Photo 3) with a few power flashes under it though I no idea what is out there to be hit.

Next mistake was made here. We went north back towards the cell and noticed it tightening up again and stopped to watch it produce a large wall cloud southwest of Thalia. I decided to stay with it by turning east on 70 knowing that it might form a tornado again. We had just lost data for the first time all day so I had to use wind direction and hail to determine locations. I figured the cell should move just enough to the NE if I stayed back to see the wall cloud again and possible tornado. As we drove the wind starting whipping around to the SE so I knew I had a tornado most likely to my immediate front right. We proceeded with caution moving slowly to the east hoping for a view of it and at one point I opened the window to hear the roar of the tornado. I saw the left edge of a tornado with lightning and knew it was going to cross in front of us so we stopped and waited for it to cross by Lockett. Once I could make out the now just wall cloud to our NW I knew it crossed and started to proceeded NE. We ran into the tour group van (Photo 4) with power lines down all around them. At first I was worried they were getting zapped but they all waved and gave a thumbs up from the back. I stopped and a few people got out and I decided to proceed as they had help and I did not like those power lines. In this situation and all similar personal safety should be considered before the urge to help people. I am happy no one was seriously injured in the van or outside coming to render aid. We went to Vernon and parked in light rain for a bit and called the chase.

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Great photos! What's funny is I have also underestimated the time it would take to get down to Guthrie. It was one day last year, and my plan was to get to Guthrie so I could observe as a storm passed between Guthrie and Paducah. Turns out it's quite a ways and I had to stop and turn back because the storm beat me there. I ended up stuck on the north side looking at a mass of rain. So I totally understand how bad that sucks.
 
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cdcollura

EF5
Jun 12, 2004
1,414
207
11
52
Sunrise, Florida
www.sky-chaser.com
Good day all,

I was also chasing this setup. Great storm chasing day!

Summary: May 4 was a very busy and successful chase day, with a final target just south of the SE Texas Panhandle. Two target areas were available for chasers today. One from central Oklahoma and eastward (owing to a warm front), and the other farther southwest along the Texas dryline. The latter was of greatest interest. The forecast scenario was extremely complex, with a surface low over the TX Panhandle, warm front extending east from there across Oklahoma, and a dryline forecasted to extend southward from the surface low over Texas. The 1630z SPC had a moderate risk in place in the latter target, with a 15% tornado probability (hatched for significant). Hail and wind probabilities were 45% and 30%, respectively, and both hatched for significant, and the wind probability offset into eastern Oklahoma. I worked during the morning for my main IT job, did a detailed forecast, and headed out prior to noon via I-40 west out of Oklahoma City. I crossed into Texas and headed south on Highway 83 out of Shamrock. I hung around Hall County SW of Memphis and NE of Turkey by late afternoon. A solitary supercell began forming to the SW near Crosbyton and I quickly headed south via SR 86 through Turkey and towards Matador via Highway 70 south. The supercell split and its anticyclonic component was noted west of Matador. The right split was targeted and I headed east on Highway 62 towards Paducah. The storm was encountered south of there along Highway 83, with tornadoes forming. A long diversion was done south of this storm from near Guthrie to Benjamin along Highway 82 and SR 6 northward after a fuel stop. Tornadoes were encountered (SE of Crowell) in Foard County, and the chase continued east on farm roads to Highway 70 east towards 183 and south of Vernon. A large (wedge) tornado was observed south of Vernon, most likely causing damage in Lockett after dark. I wrapped up and headed north on Highway 183 and east on farm roads south of Vernon to Oklaunion. I continued north back into Oklahoma on Highway 183, reaching Highway 62 to head east. I spend the night in Lawton, Oklahoma.

May 4, 7:30 PM - Interception, observation, and indirect penetration of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm from southwest of Paducah, Texas in Cottle County, and points east across Foard County SW of Crowell and into Willbarger County south of Vernon and SE of Lockett. Nearby highways were 83, 82, 70, and ultimately 183. The storm was a powerful classic (HP at times) cyclic tornadic supercell. When this storm was first encountered, a northern (left), anticyclonic split was noted NW of Matador, with the main south (right) split near Crosybyton. Up to 5 tornadoes were observed with this storm. One (weak one) looking SW of Paducah from a distance and another passing east of Highway 83 and southeast of Paducah before losing sight of it. The third, and most significant tornado, was encountered along SR 6 and southeast of Crowell. Another rain-wrapped tornado was encountered east of Crowell as the storm became HP. A final, large, possibly a wedge tornado, was observed after dark from east of Lockett, south of Vernon, and west of Highway 183. In addition to the tornadoes, the core of this storm was indirectly penetrated, and had winds of over 65 MPH (esp. RFD), hail to 1”, and frequent lightning. Damage occurred in Lockett, Texas. This storm also had a striking visual appearance at times. Conditions causing the storm were surface heating, a dryline, low pressure area, warm front, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area valid until 10 PM CDT.

Link to full video chase log (for 2022) is here: http://www.sky-chaser.com/m23vid1.htm

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Above: Tornado south of Crowell, Texas

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Above: Lockett wedge tornado after dusk.

Full chase log for this and others in 2022 is available HERE : http://www.sky-chaser.com

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Above:
Even more impressive was the radar image of the Lockett / Vernon storm after dusk.
 
Jan 16, 2009
688
774
21
Kansas City
There is some debate on the Dumont tornado if it was a landspout tornado or tornado ... here is my video which shows a meso associated with the tornado.

 
Mar 2, 2004
2,345
594
11
Wichita, KS
www.facebook.com
Ed Grubb and myself departed the Denver area on Wednesday, overnighting in Amarillo after taking in the must-stop Big Texan and hanging with Roger and Elke Edwards (who was recovering nicely from his medical issue). We awakened Thursday with not far to go; our early target was Claude in anticipation of the warm front lifting to near I-40.

We sat at a gas station with Roger and company for a bit, but we remained well on the cold side of the lifting front. Several storms attempted to go up, a few severe near Amarillo which continued northeast into cooler air. We watched these towers become storms and move northeast, and as the hours drew on, we knew we were going to need to get south.

About this time, a few blips began to go up north/northeast of Lubbock, and they had much more favorable air to play with. We shot southeast on US-287 toward Clarendon, then dropped south to make a run at the first cell. It was not doing so hot, and we continued to see development further southwest. We knew eventually one of those was gonna be the show, just a matter of which. We cut east toward Memphis to get back to US-287.

Enroute, we saw our for-real target storm get going, but splitting pretty early. The left split was a pretty honking hailer, and the right split initially looked like it was destined for the storm graveyard. But it finally unwreched itself, made its path to the east, and became the cell.

We blew through Childress, dropping south on US-62 toward Paducah. The storm was unfortunately running a line between US-62/US-70 and US-82 with little to no road options in the middle. We hung around in Paducah for a bit, conversing with Colt Forney and Christiaan Patterson on the south side of town as the storm was making its approach to US-83.

There was some contemplation to take on the core, but we were quick to realize the chances of a meaningful hail intercept in town were slim, so we proceeded south on US-83. While southbound, tornado warnings went out and reports of an ongoing tornado had us kind of surprised. From our immediate vantage point, there was nothing to see. But we crested a hill and finally got a clear view to see the landspoutish looking dust whirl. We pulled off to the side of the highway and documented that birdfart that was out near Dumont.

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I think we both shared a similar sentiment; this was going to be how this day was going to roll. A few stat-padding birdfarts. The storm looked wicked good on radar, and here we were watching this landspoutish thing. The storm, still off to the west, was making a slow approach to the highway. About this time, the chaser convergence was beginning in earnest, lines of vehicles on either side of the road as this storm was approaching.

We decided, based on lack of roads until US-82 in Guthrie to our south, that we needed to get ahead of the line of chasers. We departed south toward Guthrie long before the storm hit US-83. We may have missed a small tornado as it crossed/just east of US-82, and as far south as we were along US-83, we had no real view of the storm, which was roughly 15 miles to our north and west.

Benjamin was our target, then we'd cut north to get ourselves set up in front of the beast. The storm continued to be warned, but was over no-man's land. Based on the storm's track, I estimated the sweet spot would cross a few miles north of the county line on TX-6 north of Truscott. At this point, we were well ahead of the congo line and had plenty of room to find a spot and wait.

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We had pointed ourselves south on the southbound shoulder, figuring we'd repeat a similar tactic with this storm, if it wasn't producing at this point, we'd again take the early move to reposition on the next available north-south option. Fortunately it didn't get to the point. After about 30 minutes or so, we got a low-contrast view of a large dust bowl that was being kicked up. Given that contrast, we couldn't immediately deduce whether it was a tornado or not. Once I put the zoom on it with my camera, it became clear we were seeing the early stages of a tornado. The dust whirled a bit before the funnel became evident.

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It was slow to move east, but we knew we were sitting very pretty. We flipped around, pointing ourselves north on the northbound shoulder, and just took in the view as this tornado became much higher contrast as it approached the windfarm to our northeast. We had a great spot, great view, and my favorite part, we could actually take it in without having to be mobile or staring at it through the windshield.

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You take for granted the ability to sit and actually enjoy a tornado without the distractions of having to drive and navigate. And our earlier decision to get ahead of the endless line of chasers paid off in spades because we had a safe spot well off the road and were able to watch a large portion of this tornado from a stationary, and unobstructed vantage point, despite more than a few vehicles racing north passed us.

The tornado, which transitioned to from a white cone to a dirty mass, continued to cross over the wind turbines, a sight neither Ed or myself had seen with such detail before. We were both rather amazed to see the turbines intact after the tornado moved on, even as the pre-tornado spin had ceased as the funnel moved over them.

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As the tornado approached the highway to our north, the dust took over the view, including a wall of it associated with the RFD marching at us, and we appeared to be dead centered in the apex of this surge of brown dust. Once it overtook us, we lost sight of the tornado as it was somewhere on or very near the highway.

At this point, we had a brief discussion as we waited for the visibility to improve before we would get back on the highway. We didn't want to risk a collision in the reduced visibility as there continued to be a parade of vehicles passing us in the dust. Once the dust cleared and we could see far enough in both directions, we elected the south option back through Truscott and we'd hop on FM-1756, an eastbound route that would connect us to FM-267. Daylight was running out and we knew a run to US-183 wouldn't get us around the storm before dark, and we were concerned with going north to US-70 in fear we'd be behind the main core and having to punch through the core to get back ahead, so we took a gamble on this route to see if we could get one more peak at the storm before nightfall.

Once we made the northbound turn onto FM-267 heading toward Thalia, we estimated the hook was to our due north by about 10 miles, meaning we were going to come in from behind it. With just enough light left, we decided to proceed, thinking maybe we'd get a last view from the southwest. That never happened, and we finally made it to US-70 west of Thalia and turned east.

Darkness was here, we were essentially riding the backside of the hook, and were in the middle of a very long, and slow moving line of vehicles all heading east on US-70. The storm, likely while cycling, took a northward jog before pushing due east again, and it looked more and more like we were going to spend way too long driving in unfavorable conditions in the dark. About this time, we hit Thalia, and peeled out of the congo line, turning ourselves around to the west with a few cells building behind the main supercell. We figured we'll avoid a horrid drive, and maybe catch a little bonus or some lightning out of those western cells. Neither of us were wild about trying to hook slice a supercell at night in a massive line of vehicles. And in the back of our minds, we knew what COULD happen in this very instance...

Well, shortly after we turned back to the west, we found a pull out to watch the western storms. Within moments, we took note that the circulation that was once south of US-70 had made a hard LEFT, and was heading right toward 70 and a line of green dots on GRLevel3. Needless to say, we held our breath cause we knew what COULD happen was indeed happening.

Fortunately, only ONE vehicle we know of was impacted, and only one person suffered a minor injury. Our hearts sank, Ed and I both know all too well the consequences of a left moving tornado. As much as I would LOVE to say our deciding reasoning was solely on the potential of a left moving tornado to hit our highway, in the end, we opted to NOT proceed due to the combination of dangerous conditions after dark in a traffic jam knowing that this storm already had made a north twitch prior to this. Neither of us were surprised by this storm taking that turn, and were more so relieved we opted to not face the reminder that such a motion from a storm does indeed happen.

In the midst of this, we opted to proceed to an overnight destination. Most of our stop ignored the ongoing storms we had made a half-assed play for and were spent divided between trying to find lodging nearby and watching radar. We eventually found ourselves a room in Wichita Falls, so back to FM-267 we went, taking that to FM-1919 into Seymour, then up US-277 to our hotel. Routing around what was now a traffic jam near Lockett and avoiding having to drive through any heavy precip in the dark.

We spent most of the following day in Lockett covering the damage left behind from that tornado for the AccuWeather network. We talked to several residents and emergency officials, and documented the damage in town and to properties south of town. We noted several interesting damage events across the path as we were about. As we wrapped up our coverage, we learned the tornado was rated EF-3. From there, we hoofed it up to Wichita for the night with hope we'd be setting up for a couple days between Nebraska and Illinois, but those setups looked much less nifty when we awakened Friday morning, so we opted to cut the trip there and returned home to Colorado Friday evening after visiting my old station in town.


I feel like just about every significant chase these days has these post-mortem write ups about what's becoming an increasingly more, for lack of better words, wrecklessness in people. We were aware, quite early, that this was going to a be a one-storm show, so we immediately adjusted our logistics to account for what we figured was going to be a massive amount of chase vehicles on a massive amount of LACK of roads. Fortunately, and selfishly for us, we didn't miss out on anything after making an early reposition after the Dumont birdfart. As a result, we were able to find ourselves a safe place to pull off and wait for the storm to bring its show to us. When the tornado was ongoing, we were off on the shoulder, and I spent a lot of time filming out the window, using my mirror as a tripod, to shoot most of the video you see above. Around me, folks were standing very close to the road, some with doors open into the roads, all the usual stuff you hear about just about everytime. And all this not including several documented instances of awful and/or distracted driving. I'm truly amazed that we're not hearing more instances of people getting into accidents and worse. Clearly El Reno was forgotten by most, and I assume no one thinks of Corbin anymore, either?

We encountered very little issues with the crowds because we took early actions to position ourselves, and used routes that while would be safer and clear of most of the traffic due to our timing, did put us out of position for lengthy amounts of time. Taking the fading daylight into consideration toward the end, knowing we would not be actively chasing once darkness fell. Then making an informed choice to peel off the chase when it was clear safety was going to be jeopardized in a meaningless attempt to get ahead of the storm, then opting for some extra time, and ultimately a route AROUND the storm to get where we were to settle for the night. Unfortunately, whether I like it or not, this is chasing now. And situational awareness extends beyond just the weather. We're factoring in heavily how to navigate crowds on limited road networks, and our planning and execution worked perfectly where we were able to have an enjoyable tornado intercept. Will it work every time, probably not. But it did this time, and it shows what that situational awareness does. We accepted we could miss a show, maybe THE show, but anymore a successful chase means going home in one piece, and its not the weather we are worried about.

I know I've officially hit the "get off my lawn" part of my career... I get it... I'm now an old-timer in this craft. But I think I speak for many when I say that people need to tone it down a few notches. This "extreme" stuff is no longer extreme, and it's clear a lot of folks think that, because they're constantly pushing the envelop further. Many of you will not understand the PTSD that comes about when you see a storm make a hard left into a line of cars knowing that we have lost close friends to that very same thing. Then when those that are impacted come out with smiles, bragging about how incredible an experience it was, its driving a knife into my heart because I have flashbacks to the days after El Reno when my friends did not make it out of that situation alive. Its a HUGE kick in the nuts, and personally I wish it would stop. It's not a badge of honor. And what's also been made painfully clear by this is how little knowledge people have about storms, yet they're parading around out there without a care in the world, including the care to know anything about what they're doing. A left-turning tornado is nothing new, and 30 seconds on Google would enlighten you immediately to how relatively common such a turn is in a strong tornado, yet so many people were shocked that this would happen. El Reno alone would be enough to warrant a second thought, yet there we were again. I know some situations are unavoidable, I know chasing has its inherent dangers (a list of those dangerous to which grows every chase it seems), and I know we're all guilty of distracted moments. But this egregious lack of giving a shit is getting too out of hand, and people ARE dying because of it and will continue to die at the hands of this carelessness, despite the invincibility everything thinks they have.

Do better people... it's no longer simply about the enjoyment of chasing... it's about going home alive and in one piece. Too many people have received that phone call already. And if you can't stop long enough to care about yourself, please do the rest of us a favor and at least care for everyone else.
 
Apr 25, 2022
12
46
1
North Carolina
Ed Grubb and myself departed the Denver area on Wednesday, overnighting in Amarillo after taking in the must-stop Big Texan and hanging with Roger and Elke Edwards (who was recovering nicely from his medical issue). We awakened Thursday with not far to go; our early target was Claude in anticipation of the warm front lifting to near I-40.

We sat at a gas station with Roger and company for a bit, but we remained well on the cold side of the lifting front. Several storms attempted to go up, a few severe near Amarillo which continued northeast into cooler air. We watched these towers become storms and move northeast, and as the hours drew on, we knew we were going to need to get south.

About this time, a few blips began to go up north/northeast of Lubbock, and they had much more favorable air to play with. We shot southeast on US-287 toward Clarendon, then dropped south to make a run at the first cell. It was not doing so hot, and we continued to see development further southwest. We knew eventually one of those was gonna be the show, just a matter of which. We cut east toward Memphis to get back to US-287.

Enroute, we saw our for-real target storm get going, but splitting pretty early. The left split was a pretty honking hailer, and the right split initially looked like it was destined for the storm graveyard. But it finally unwreched itself, made its path to the east, and became the cell.

We blew through Childress, dropping south on US-62 toward Paducah. The storm was unfortunately running a line between US-62/US-70 and US-82 with little to no road options in the middle. We hung around in Paducah for a bit, conversing with Colt Forney and Christiaan Patterson on the south side of town as the storm was making its approach to US-83.

There was some contemplation to take on the core, but we were quick to realize the chances of a meaningful hail intercept in town were slim, so we proceeded south on US-83. While southbound, tornado warnings went out and reports of an ongoing tornado had us kind of surprised. From our immediate vantage point, there was nothing to see. But we crested a hill and finally got a clear view to see the landspoutish looking dust whirl. We pulled off to the side of the highway and documented that birdfart that was out near Dumont.

View attachment 22758

I think we both shared a similar sentiment; this was going to be how this day was going to roll. A few stat-padding birdfarts. The storm looked wicked good on radar, and here we were watching this landspoutish thing. The storm, still off to the west, was making a slow approach to the highway. About this time, the chaser convergence was beginning in earnest, lines of vehicles on either side of the road as this storm was approaching.

We decided, based on lack of roads until US-82 in Guthrie to our south, that we needed to get ahead of the line of chasers. We departed south toward Guthrie long before the storm hit US-83. We may have missed a small tornado as it crossed/just east of US-82, and as far south as we were along US-83, we had no real view of the storm, which was roughly 15 miles to our north and west.

Benjamin was our target, then we'd cut north to get ourselves set up in front of the beast. The storm continued to be warned, but was over no-man's land. Based on the storm's track, I estimated the sweet spot would cross a few miles north of the county line on TX-6 north of Truscott. At this point, we were well ahead of the congo line and had plenty of room to find a spot and wait.

View attachment 22759

We had pointed ourselves south on the southbound shoulder, figuring we'd repeat a similar tactic with this storm, if it wasn't producing at this point, we'd again take the early move to reposition on the next available north-south option. Fortunately it didn't get to the point. After about 30 minutes or so, we got a low-contrast view of a large dust bowl that was being kicked up. Given that contrast, we couldn't immediately deduce whether it was a tornado or not. Once I put the zoom on it with my camera, it became clear we were seeing the early stages of a tornado. The dust whirled a bit before the funnel became evident.

View attachment 22760

It was slow to move east, but we knew we were sitting very pretty. We flipped around, pointing ourselves north on the northbound shoulder, and just took in the view as this tornado became much higher contrast as it approached the windfarm to our northeast. We had a great spot, great view, and my favorite part, we could actually take it in without having to be mobile or staring at it through the windshield.

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You take for granted the ability to sit and actually enjoy a tornado without the distractions of having to drive and navigate. And our earlier decision to get ahead of the endless line of chasers paid off in spades because we had a safe spot well off the road and were able to watch a large portion of this tornado from a stationary, and unobstructed vantage point, despite more than a few vehicles racing north passed us.

The tornado, which transitioned to from a white cone to a dirty mass, continued to cross over the wind turbines, a sight neither Ed or myself had seen with such detail before. We were both rather amazed to see the turbines intact after the tornado moved on, even as the pre-tornado spin had ceased as the funnel moved over them.

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As the tornado approached the highway to our north, the dust took over the view, including a wall of it associated with the RFD marching at us, and we appeared to be dead centered in the apex of this surge of brown dust. Once it overtook us, we lost sight of the tornado as it was somewhere on or very near the highway.

At this point, we had a brief discussion as we waited for the visibility to improve before we would get back on the highway. We didn't want to risk a collision in the reduced visibility as there continued to be a parade of vehicles passing us in the dust. Once the dust cleared and we could see far enough in both directions, we elected the south option back through Truscott and we'd hop on FM-1756, an eastbound route that would connect us to FM-267. Daylight was running out and we knew a run to US-183 wouldn't get us around the storm before dark, and we were concerned with going north to US-70 in fear we'd be behind the main core and having to punch through the core to get back ahead, so we took a gamble on this route to see if we could get one more peak at the storm before nightfall.

Once we made the northbound turn onto FM-267 heading toward Thalia, we estimated the hook was to our due north by about 10 miles, meaning we were going to come in from behind it. With just enough light left, we decided to proceed, thinking maybe we'd get a last view from the southwest. That never happened, and we finally made it to US-70 west of Thalia and turned east.

Darkness was here, we were essentially riding the backside of the hook, and were in the middle of a very long, and slow moving line of vehicles all heading east on US-70. The storm, likely while cycling, took a northward jog before pushing due east again, and it looked more and more like we were going to spend way too long driving in unfavorable conditions in the dark. About this time, we hit Thalia, and peeled out of the congo line, turning ourselves around to the west with a few cells building behind the main supercell. We figured we'll avoid a horrid drive, and maybe catch a little bonus or some lightning out of those western cells. Neither of us were wild about trying to hook slice a supercell at night in a massive line of vehicles. And in the back of our minds, we knew what COULD happen in this very instance...

Well, shortly after we turned back to the west, we found a pull out to watch the western storms. Within moments, we took note that the circulation that was once south of US-70 had made a hard LEFT, and was heading right toward 70 and a line of green dots on GRLevel3. Needless to say, we held our breath cause we knew what COULD happen was indeed happening.

Fortunately, only ONE vehicle we know of was impacted, and only one person suffered a minor injury. Our hearts sank, Ed and I both know all too well the consequences of a left moving tornado. As much as I would LOVE to say our deciding reasoning was solely on the potential of a left moving tornado to hit our highway, in the end, we opted to NOT proceed due to the combination of dangerous conditions after dark in a traffic jam knowing that this storm already had made a north twitch prior to this. Neither of us were surprised by this storm taking that turn, and were more so relieved we opted to not face the reminder that such a motion from a storm does indeed happen.

In the midst of this, we opted to proceed to an overnight destination. Most of our stop ignored the ongoing storms we had made a half-assed play for and were spent divided between trying to find lodging nearby and watching radar. We eventually found ourselves a room in Wichita Falls, so back to FM-267 we went, taking that to FM-1919 into Seymour, then up US-277 to our hotel. Routing around what was now a traffic jam near Lockett and avoiding having to drive through any heavy precip in the dark.

We spent most of the following day in Lockett covering the damage left behind from that tornado for the AccuWeather network. We talked to several residents and emergency officials, and documented the damage in town and to properties south of town. We noted several interesting damage events across the path as we were about. As we wrapped up our coverage, we learned the tornado was rated EF-3. From there, we hoofed it up to Wichita for the night with hope we'd be setting up for a couple days between Nebraska and Illinois, but those setups looked much less nifty when we awakened Friday morning, so we opted to cut the trip there and returned home to Colorado Friday evening after visiting my old station in town.


I feel like just about every significant chase these days has these post-mortem write ups about what's becoming an increasingly more, for lack of better words, wrecklessness in people. We were aware, quite early, that this was going to a be a one-storm show, so we immediately adjusted our logistics to account for what we figured was going to be a massive amount of chase vehicles on a massive amount of LACK of roads. Fortunately, and selfishly for us, we didn't miss out on anything after making an early reposition after the Dumont birdfart. As a result, we were able to find ourselves a safe place to pull off and wait for the storm to bring its show to us. When the tornado was ongoing, we were off on the shoulder, and I spent a lot of time filming out the window, using my mirror as a tripod, to shoot most of the video you see above. Around me, folks were standing very close to the road, some with doors open into the roads, all the usual stuff you hear about just about everytime. And all this not including several documented instances of awful and/or distracted driving. I'm truly amazed that we're not hearing more instances of people getting into accidents and worse. Clearly El Reno was forgotten by most, and I assume no one thinks of Corbin anymore, either?

We encountered very little issues with the crowds because we took early actions to position ourselves, and used routes that while would be safer and clear of most of the traffic due to our timing, did put us out of position for lengthy amounts of time. Taking the fading daylight into consideration toward the end, knowing we would not be actively chasing once darkness fell. Then making an informed choice to peel off the chase when it was clear safety was going to be jeopardized in a meaningless attempt to get ahead of the storm, then opting for some extra time, and ultimately a route AROUND the storm to get where we were to settle for the night. Unfortunately, whether I like it or not, this is chasing now. And situational awareness extends beyond just the weather. We're factoring in heavily how to navigate crowds on limited road networks, and our planning and execution worked perfectly where we were able to have an enjoyable tornado intercept. Will it work every time, probably not. But it did this time, and it shows what that situational awareness does. We accepted we could miss a show, maybe THE show, but anymore a successful chase means going home in one piece, and its not the weather we are worried about.

I know I've officially hit the "get off my lawn" part of my career... I get it... I'm now an old-timer in this craft. But I think I speak for many when I say that people need to tone it down a few notches. This "extreme" stuff is no longer extreme, and it's clear a lot of folks think that, because they're constantly pushing the envelop further. Many of you will not understand the PTSD that comes about when you see a storm make a hard left into a line of cars knowing that we have lost close friends to that very same thing. Then when those that are impacted come out with smiles, bragging about how incredible an experience it was, its driving a knife into my heart because I have flashbacks to the days after El Reno when my friends did not make it out of that situation alive. Its a HUGE kick in the nuts, and personally I wish it would stop. It's not a badge of honor. And what's also been made painfully clear by this is how little knowledge people have about storms, yet they're parading around out there without a care in the world, including the care to know anything about what they're doing. A left-turning tornado is nothing new, and 30 seconds on Google would enlighten you immediately to how relatively common such a turn is in a strong tornado, yet so many people were shocked that this would happen. El Reno alone would be enough to warrant a second thought, yet there we were again. I know some situations are unavoidable, I know chasing has its inherent dangers (a list of those dangerous to which grows every chase it seems), and I know we're all guilty of distracted moments. But this egregious lack of giving a shit is getting too out of hand, and people ARE dying because of it and will continue to die at the hands of this carelessness, despite the invincibility everything thinks they have.

Do better people... it's no longer simply about the enjoyment of chasing... it's about going home alive and in one piece. Too many people have received that phone call already. And if you can't stop long enough to care about yourself, please do the rest of us a favor and at least care for everyone else.
The road options were horrid and we also got that initial tube. We didn't want to get cored so we decided to take the dirt road and stay south of the storm until Truscott. We had to contend with cattle on the road at one point when the meso got pretty close. We then got the tor just before the one in the wind farm. For the wind farm one we were just a bit too far south to really get a good look at it. After that we broke it off as daylight faded.

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Apr 25, 2022
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North Carolina
The actual tor video is useless as it is way too bouncy and washed out. However, I do have a clip to share of the tornado in the process of developing before we had to reposition as the meso slid in our direction:
 
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Bobby Little

Supporter
Mar 18, 2013
67
70
6
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eagle, michigan
Intially targeted Childress day before but changed to Mangum / Altus area on chase day to stay above the Red River. That quickly changed as storms started popping up just west of Metador dryline. Headed south to Peducah to intercept the now building cell west of Dumont. Out of town south we were amazed of the number of chasers there and the number that arrived after us. I believe some lightning bolts struck on the East side of 83 and started 4 small brush fires. Had to keep moving south to watch the small tornado cross. I didnt want to chase after the cross because there wasnt a good road network in the King/Knox/Foard Co but moved to Benjamin to head north on 6. Realizing the hoards of chasers on those poor roads east of 6, I changed my mind and headed to 183 north out of Mabelle. Had to move quick to intercept and beat darkness. We beat the storm but not the darkness. Radar kept going out and i found myself very near the wedge. I only could see during the lightning flashes ( which were awesome!). Hail started getting heavy and i smartly called off the chase.
I dont believe in chasing in darkness...and especially without radar anyhow. I was surprised at the numbers around me there that did? I Guess I am not looking to join the "Zero Meter Club" but it looks to me there are many applicants.
 

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Drew Terril

Staff member
I don't have any pics or video to go with mine (dash cam will be a future upgrade), but I did follow the second Oklahoma storm from near Lindsay to Henryetta. Saw a cone near Tecumseh as daylight was going away, then paced that storm as it paralleled OK-9 and saw the two Earlsboro tornados (which I thought was just one until the survey revealed two separate tornadoes), and then saw another near Cromwell. Only pics I got were from near Purcell and Lexington as it tried (and failed) to produce earlier in the life cycle. I'll have to wait to see how those turned out as I went old school and got the film SLR out for that event. Didn't use up that roll, so I'll have to use the rest before I get it developed.

No way I was going to make Texas; I'd gotten back to OKC with my load early that morning and refuse to chase on little or no sleep. So I got my sleep and woke up in time to be south of the metro prior to initiation. Been contemplating getting a new (used) camcorder as my current one is too small and light for me to keep steady, even on a tripod (pretty much need a concrete block to keep it steady). So it may become my future dash cam.
 
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Nov 13, 2017
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Illinois
I hedged on the evening of May 3 in Erick to keep an Oklahoma Panhandle possibility open, but went south with the pack on the morning of the 4th. I ended up in Memphis and watched a storm that initiated north of the front dissolve before heading to Matador at the first sign of initiation east of Lubbock. I ended up in front of the storm in Dickens. Unlike the prior storm it looked fantastic.

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While traversing northeast with the storm I saw the first tornado of the day, an insignificant dust swirl that looked like our typical landspouts in Colorado but was clearly mesocyclonic. The storm needed to move into better moisture before it could produce a stout tornado.

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The storm reached highway 83 south of Paducah shortly thereafter. East of 83 is a notorious road hole, and most of the crowd either went north into the hail core to position an hour or so ahead of the storm or went south through Benjamin en route to Crowell. I made a decision to go east instead and try my luck with ranch roads east of 83. I had drawn out a path to Truscott and hoped that these roads would get me there without reaching a dead end or encountering private property that I couldn't pass through. It worked, and I saw several tornadoes over open land along this 40+ mile trek through sand and gravel "roads" that I suspect most chasers that went south or north missed entirely.

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The fifth tornado of the day for me was my favorite of the evening, a short way west of Truscott.

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Eventually I met up with the conga line south of Crowell and saw two more fairly short lived tornadoes.

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I chose not to hook slice the storm from Crowell as the sun began to set because hodographs were favorable for left (NNW) turns during the occluding phase, and I had already seen one of the Truscott tornadoes do just that earlier in the day. I didn't think it was worth risking a close call to catch a glimpse of a tornado after dark, especially with big crowds that inevitably wouldn't know what to do and would become another obstacle if I had to make a quick move to escape. I was told by dozens of people afterward during petty internet spats that I should probably just learn to stay out of that it's impossible to know that a tornado would turn left, which is completely false. It was all forecastable.

I ended up seeing seven tornadoes and overall it was a top 5 chase for me.