04/25/05: REPORTS: TX/OK

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**2nd Update - Here is a link to some video and some more notes:
Looks like I'm on a roll with this video thing as now I have the 25th uploaded too.

Here's the link:

A bit long - like 3 minutes, but what the heck you don't have anything better to do right? I mean we're talking storms here. This isn't all that great I just wanted to give everyone an idea what this southern storm near Maypearl looked like. Sadly for some bizarre reason I didn't shoot video or take a picture of the large block wallcloud ~ 3/4 to ground near Maypearl. This video takes place after it dissipated and I am just south of town.

**End 2nd Update

**Update: Here's a link to a couple of pictures of the storm I posted

*** Original Post

Well this is an odd chase, and a somewhat disappointing chase. Disappointing because at first I was concerned there wouldn't be enough moisture and then when there was moisture the storms were not very widespread and didn't last long.

Basically I messed around Austin a little longer than I intended. I had a few errands / tasks I had to do before departure. The night before the 0Z ETA run had me thinking College Station so initially I was in no hurry to shoot north to DFW. However sometime around 12 or 1pm I began checking current obs through the SPC Mesoanalysis page. It became obvious to me long before the MSD or torn watch was issued that the area west of DFW was bubbling and ripe. Still I didn't get out the door until right after the watch was issued so I was later than I wished. I intended earlier to go to Waco and monitor from there.

Anyway I left and literally shot north from Austin all the way north of Waco and Hillsboro with Threatnet running along with Delorme. All the while the storms were growing with severe warnings on each. I knew it probably wouldn't be long. I pondered the road network between I35E and I35W which splits just north of Hillsboro. Initially I thought of going I35W directly to the mouth of the beast and that would be the fastest route; however I knew the storms forward momentum would probably put me a bit behind. I thought of going all the way up I35E all the way to Waxahachie because that was where the storm was headed - but I was afraid it would be a bit stale by then and I wanted to hit it as soon as possible. Instead I chose FM308 to MayPearl because it was a somewhat direct route and would put me closest to the potentially tornadic portion of the storm fastest. Then again roads didn't look that great between Maypearl and back over to Waxahachie and I35E, but they looked good enough to try.

I quickly found out that two bridges were out right at I35 and there were no exits off I35 for FM308. So I went a couple of miles further north and caught another farm road and Gps'd my way back to 308. Along the way 1/4 of the way to MayPearl I got out of the vehicle and took an ob. I could already see the dark core, and the rainfree inflow area trailing in with some lowerings faintly visible. The inflow was very stiff and intense and immediately reminded me of other tornadic days and big storms. That made me ponder what I was dealing with and raised my hopes. I got back in and continued to close the distance to MayPearl. Almost immediately I began to see at first a very large dark block wallcloud shape probably about 3/4 of the way to ground! I started rolling the dashcam but not sure how much I caught of it as the road was continually turning. I got right up next to the meso indicated shear area on threatnet just a couple of miles from MayPearl and watched the lowerings while I was under the base as well. Already the storm was getting a bit ahead of me east. Also unfortunately the storm which looked like it was about to drop a big tornado never did. I saw lots of motion and wallcloud attempts, but it never did it while I was watching. Now there was a very large dark rain core nearby. I wondered if possibly there was a rain wrapped tornado in there... Anyway, I knew I was getting behind. Rather than driving under the meso the whole way to get back in front (it was reporting a TVS the whole time) - I took 308 back the way I came in. I then crossed east of I35 at Italy and on over to Avalon. For awhile it looked pretty good and I thought I would chase it for a long time. The precip area also still looked like it could have a potentially wrapped circulation, but no way to tell from where I was. At Avalon I pulled over to watch. It seemed the storm was becoming less organized. I checked Wxworx and the whole thing had practically disappeared! Now I was really disappointed.

There was a new cell just west of Hillsboro which appeared to be severe warned. I had hopes it was not in the earlier rain cooled air and would be unstable and tornadic. Then the storm near Avalon had a regeneration. For awhile I watched a new pseudo large rectangular shaped black wallcloud which was almost on the ground. It started with a elongated black tube shape that wrapped around and formed the rectangle. I saw a lot of up and down movement but not a lot of side to side rotational movement. There was also another larger more traditional looking wallcloud due northeast of the rectangle shape but it looked more ragged. For a while this rectangle shape showed promise and I watched it as it writhed around hoping it would touch down. It never did. Then it dissipated too. I broke off and shot south and southeast to get in front of the Hillsboro storm which was reporting fairly large hail. I curved around in front of the heaviest part of the core and examined it as I passed through it. Once I was mostly out that other side I stopped and turned around to see that the storm was splitting into two cores and both were weakening. Chase over - nothing intense enough to chase. I headed home.

Interesting side note I see now looking at the SPC Storm Reports that there is a tornado logged for MayPearl in Ellis county. I find this very odd. Certainly it is the cruelest of fates to miss something by only minutes, or to overlook something. However I had been attentive and saw the large wallcloud and noted the intense inflow. I don't think I would have missed a tornado there had there been one. I'd love to see a picture of this tornado if there was one. On the other hand it is possible it was rain wrapped. I didn't go into the deep, dark, rain wrapped core. If I had been in position in the notch - maybe (LOL - I know others have stories about that). 3 options here: 1) It was right before I got there in which case it really wasn't MayPearl because I was there when the tornadic portion was there and have dashcam footage to prove it; 2) It was the dark rain wrapped circulation; 3) or there really was no tornado there - false report. With all the chasers about surely there are enough to figure this out.

Anyway, I saw some cool stuff, and for a few moments thought I was possibly going to see a very large tornado - but then it all fell apart and ended way to quick...oh well.
After the last 4 chases taking me through Paris, Texas, I finally got a chase south of I-20. Barely.

Headed N out of Waco on I-35 noticing a developing cell to my northwest. It looked heavily sheared, but updraft kept cranking in until it got its act together around Cleburne, Texas, where from what I understand, it went tornado warned. To avoid rushhour traffic I paralleled I-35 on Hwy 77. I finally got a visual on the base off of FM308 just S. of Maypearl, where there was quite the wall cloud. It had a thin casing of precip around it at its most organized stage, then quickly scudded out and didn't seem to get its act back together until the cell had moved off to the N of Italy, Texas.

Mike Umscheid (thank you!) nowcasted for me much of the afternoon, and had me "creep up" Hwy 34 out of Italy in order to stay out of the largest hail core(too early in the season to lose a windshield, thank you). I later encountered haildrifts on the sides of some of the backroads.

Basically, the storm was a teaser. A meso there, a meso here, etc. Beautiful to watch, none the less. I don't think I saw a single bolt of lightning from my angle on this cell. But the inflow with this storm was quite persistant and impressive. However, with such a large precip core, it kept getting undercut with outflow before it could produce.

I heard reports of a tornado on the ground near Maypearl, but as Mike mentioned, I was right where the action should've been had it been producing. So not sure if I was playing with GPS or focusing too much on the rain-free base and maybe missed something closer to the precip? Contrast at times on this storm was just breathtaking, and there weren't too many trees to contend with. Road network wasn't the most favorable for intercepts, but luckily there wasn't a lot of low level junk (my big technical term) to obscure the base inbetween roads.

This should last me until this weekend's setup.

I targeted Gainsville, TX, but saw storms firing WSW of Ft Worth and had plenty of time to get there. I planned on intercepting them near the south part of Ft Worth. Unfortunalty traffic had another plan for me. The core passed just south of me. I was able to get around to the back side and saw the wall cloud with incredible verical motion. It was also rotating fairly rapidly. As I turned onto I-20 East bound, I got a brife glimpse of a possible tornado just to my SE. Here is a picture.
[Broken External Image]:http://www.cloud9tours.com/board3/files/dsc00003_491.jpg
It looked much more convincing in person than on the video. As soon as I got on I-20 I was stuck in stop and go traffic again with trees and those noise barriors blocking my view. Eventually I got through that storm and ahad of the next one to its south near Corsicana. I continued east on 31, but the storm was outflow dominant and I decided to call it a day.
On the way back, I saw a nice lightning show just east of Gainsville.
I was planning on leaving Wichita Sunday afternoon for Dallas, but with the uncertainties involved I just couldn't pull the trigger. I got up Monday morning, checked radar and satellite images and decided to go when I saw there would be clearing in northern Texas and Oklahoma. I got to Ardmore at about 12. I stayed there on the internet for about an hour. It looked like the area around Dallas would have the best tornado potential so I headed South around 1. I met up with the storm that tracked through the South side of DFW on the southwest side of town while it was only severe warned. Here is a video grab of the mesocyclone shortly before it went tornado warned. It was already begining to show rotation at this point.

I got stuck on the West side of the mesocyclone because of horrible road networks and Dallas traffic. The storm reminded me of the April 21 storm that went through OKC last year. It had a very similar structure. There were a couple lowerings with good rotation and vertical motion, but the storm never really looked like it was posing a serious tornado threat. I never saw a tornado, but I would imagine if it did put one down it would have been very weak. The southern storms outflow began to creep in on the Dallas storm's inflow so I decided it was time to drop South and catch the southern storm. This is where the never ending core punch began. The storm turned more to the South as I punched the core and I must have been driving about the same speed as the storm because I was in the core for the better part of an hour. It was not fun. Once I finally started to see a little light it was the back side of the storm passing over me. It was just moving to fast to keep up with so I turnded around and headed home. The storms were both moving fast and the road options on the South side of Dallas suck in a big way. It was a very tough chase.
Chased the southernmost supercell near DFW.


Left OUN around 10:30... targetting Cleburne and points west to the DL. Arrived in Cleburne during mid afternoon. Check of SPC/sfc revealed that there did appear to be a OB and that destabilization was occuring rapidly just west of our position near the dryline. CU had already formed all over the place... we headed west... but not for long. After arriving in Glen Rose, we filled up the tank and decided what to do next. Mother Nature made the choice easy!

We noticed towers building just north of us and headed up 144 to check them out. Bases were originally quite high, buit after the storm went t-warned, scud rapidly formed near the ground giving it a broad rain free base. Unfortunately, we shot our self in the foot with road choises (not that we had any other options) and played catch up through Granbury. We saw evidence that the storm was a complete ice machine; drifts of hail were everywhere!

We finally caught up to the mesocyclone/wall cloud near Cleburne. At this point, the storm went tor warned, and we were pretty much under the circulation. The storm tried quite hard... and we noticed plenty of low level rotation, but it just wasn't organized enough to get the job done. Our road options led us back into the FFD, and we entered the ice machine. We finally got out of this mess at I35W, and proceeded south. The storm appeared to wrap up and try to get something going again west-northwest of Maypearl, but we did not notice any touchdowns. Another bad road choice led us to go across a bridge... or more accurately a water fall made out of cement.

We made it to Maypearl, but at this point my car started making death groan noises. To add to the mess, a local nutso questioned us with numerous items(do you have any literature on tornadoes? Do you want to see my tornadoes in a bottle? What wind caused this branch to fall down?) and started eyeing our gear. For awhile I thoguht we might have to unleash some chaser kung-fu, but after he asked us if we had any $$$, we just got the hell out of there.

We attempted to follow the storm past Corsicana, but never had luck getting ahead and in a viable spot to view the SW flank. Ah well. We headed west to catch some storms firing north of Waco, but those too let us down when they died abruptly... surely do to the impact of the previous storm's wake. We called it a day and headed home. Noticed the very impressive Sherman supercell, and grabbed some lightning shots.

A frustrating, yet still rewarding, chase. The road network was a royal pain in the ass to follow the storms. The car is still making death groan/squeal noises... something near the main belt. I'll have to get it checked out soon.

We (I, Gabe Garfield, and Chris Kimble) chased cell north of the DFW storms from near Sanger (between Denton and Gainesville) to Ladonia (southwest of Paris) from mid-late afternoon to early evening. Cut off in Ladonia as the storm continued to look like garbage. It did have a nice 10 minute span when there was a nice RFD surge and rapidly rotating wallcloud. Other than that, the storm looked very unimpressive. Met up with Kenneth McCallister in Sanger, and got to meet Dave Crowley and Justin Teague (finally) in a Bonham fast food joint...

Oddly enough, the best storm we saw was after we ate in Bonham and started to head back to I35... Awesome storm near Sherman wuth a visually-striking updraft and backsheared anvil. Stopped to take some pictures with it as a wall-cloud fell apart west of Sherman. At any rate, I just wish we had this storm to look at during the daylight hours, instead of the relatively poorly-organized storm (at least in the low-levels) we ended up chasing.

I'm sick of this marginal moisture and low CAPE days. It's a waste of a setup to have 200-300 0-1km SRH but with only 1500 CAPE to deal with that awesome low-level shear... Much like 2002 with the persistent continental airmass intrusions into the Gulf, scouring any signficant moisture out of the area, and leaving us with modified continental air insufficient for true tornadic supercell action...

My logs and (hopefully sometime soon) pictures are up at http://www.tornadocentral.com/chasing/2005...05/042505.shtml
Original target was Ardmore. We left and drove there, stopping for gas at the Love's. Ran into Charles Edwards, and chatted with him for a few minutes about the day. We both had decided to head to Texas, and after saying our goodbyes, we were south bound and down. I was a bit surprised and very disappointed when the S OK watch was a thunderstorm and not a tornado. It also made me rethink my plans.

We decided to keep heading to Gainesville, and before we reached town we heard of the tornado watch for central/northern Texas. I was a bit concerned because it was obvious my RR low/boundary thing was happening, which I based my entire strategy on. So we decided to head SW from Gainesville, and ended up a mile or two southwest of Era. We had a developing cell all by itself southwest of us, so we pulled over and watched. We sat there an hour, watching the isolated cell almost get itself going but eventually it turned to crap. Heard the play-by-play of the FtW stuff starting to take shape, but immediately dismissed going after it. I hate DFW traffic on 70 degree, sunny days. I'm not about to mess with it during a tornadic storm (unless I'm already close). Our puny little cell managed some sporadic dime hail before completely wussing out. Knowing the Dallas stuff wasn't a play, we decided to head back home.

Here's the first time yesterday when I realized how much I didn't know what was going on. Crossed the river and stopped at Marietta for a snack and to top off the tank, when we realized we still had backed winds. Then the sig wx advisory from OUN mentions a small mod risk within my original target area (that I'd given up on two hours earlier). So, not knowing how initiation was going to occur (the RUC's solution had already been shot to hell hours ago by the N TX convection west of 35 not to mention the total lack of convection in S OK), we headed east to Kingston, to put ourselves in the midst of the mod risk. (I like how that rhymes)

Got to Kingston, THEN heard of storms firing 50 miles west of us, so we went back west to Marietta, then continued west on OK32 with a storm in sight. This storm turned to crap about the same time as our road did, and we went back east on OK32 to I-35 in Marietta.

Just as we were going under the bridge to turn north onto the interstate, a severe warning is issued for a storm NW of Lone Grove. Our current course was taking us right to it, so we high-fived, joked about having good-timing, and raced north. Got on the storm near Ardmore, and continued north exiting at OK53E west of Springer, and sat to watch the now-splitting storm. The south split took on a cool LPish look but wasn't even a sup, and eventually just kind of drifted away into storm heaven...while the north half moved northeast of us and stayed severe for a bit, but by then it was apparent nothing worth writing home about was gonna happen. We gave in there and went home.
Me and Adam Atkins left Norman around 12:30ish and headed to Ardmore. Look at data and decided to head towards South to intercept the storms to the west of Fort Worth. Made it to the north side of FW at 4:00pm and hit traffic...How Frustrating!! We were just north of I-20 and heard tornado sirens going off...but no tornado warning by NWS yet...kinda of funny. Couldn't see anything through the RFD...we could only imagine what it looked like. Anyways, we opted to go after the south cell bc we didn't want to chase through the metroplex. We intercepted the south cell right over interstate 35W. Had a nice wall cloud as it passed over with slight rotation, it pooped out pretty quick. We continued to flank it on the south side. We then met up with Aaron Kennedy and folks on a dirt road. We then had to get out and make sure a bridge crossing was okay to go over. Apparently around this time the second tornado touched down near Maypearl...darn it, missed this one by a little too. We chased this storm a little longer and then decided to bail on it and head home.

As we were heading home, we saw the storm develop just west of gainsville, nice backsheared anvil. We went into storm chase mode and just south of Denton, we got pulled over. Gave the officer my stuff and he came back in a bit and said "you must be the luckiest guy alive, I just ran out of traffic tickets on my last stop." I couldn't belive it, 83 in a 65...$183 that saved me. It was all we could do to keep a straight face when he told us. Anyways...back to the storm, we followed it east on 82, forgetting that the bridge was out. That ended our chase.

Overall, just like many of you have said, very frustrating chase. Road options were bad and DFW traffic is horrible, 50 minutes to get through town!! :evil:
Pictures of my 730 mile plus sight seeing trip thru northern Texas are posted here http://www.stormdriven.com/042505pictures.html

Started in Bridgeport,Tx. , it had good options for choosing different directions to go. Saw the cell going in Tarrant County but had no desire to head into heavy traffic so I waited for one closer .

Ended up back in Decatur and taking 51 northeast to Gainsvile and east on 82 continuing to follow all the way to Clarksville. I believe by the end I heard it was moving 45 mph. After Bonham I never got under it again.

Here is one look alike that atleast didn't fool anyone

[Broken External Image]:http://stormdriven.web.aplus.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/042520050018.jpg
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