05/13/05 Reports: Southern Plains / TX

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Derek Deroche (WFO SJT), Cory bovard and I caught a nice tornado east of Truscott, TX in Knox Co. We then got into some strong RFD winds. Lost one rear side window.

Tornado at 6:43pm east of Truscott, TX

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HP structure later around 7:20 pm

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What a day for sure. It got scary for a second as the storm took an unexpected turn while we were repositioning and the RFD core over took us, blasting us with some very fast winds estimated at over 100mph. Lost a window on the Blazer but all is fine now.

Reviewing video, it appears that there may have been another tornado up in the notch NE of the big RFD core but contrast was terrible at best adn even after some photoshop work with my very limited photoshop skills, I could barely make it out even after contrast changes. So for now the count is still just one for today.
Chad Lawson and I convoyed with Jo Radel and Angie Norris. We never really fine-tuned a target, and opted to just head to Altus and see how things developed. Ran into Val & Amy Castor at the Burger King in Altus, and chatted with them for a second. Decided to head to Olustee and watch to see which towers along the dryline would fire first. Ran into Doug Mitchell and friends here. Decided to take the ones near Childress but our road was blocked by a flag guy, so we turned around and headed north. Intending to take the long way around towards Childress, we noticed a new cell popping up northwest of us. The crazy helicity forecasts which had been consistently progged stayed fresh in my mind, so I decided to ignore the southern stuff for this new storm. WE moved north through mangum and eventually took up a position east of the storm, a few miles west of US283 and south of Brinkman. We stayed with the storm for over an hour, when it finally became organized and was tornado warned. After a few attempts, we had great rotation and we were sure a tornado was going to occur. Alas, the storm tried and tried but never put one down. When the storm began to cycle down and become outflow-dominant, we tried to move south and east fast to stay up with it. During this time we lost Angie and Jo, as well as the storm itself.

Finding ourselves south of Mangum and out of position, we opted to drop southwest and pick up the next storm. This one looked good for about ten minutes, then became total crap. We opted for storm #3, west of Eldorado.

This storm had a classic LP look to it, and after several minutes (during which it ingested tons of cool outflow from our original storm now just north of Altus), it finally won the battle and picked up warm inflow. It had an incredible structure, and was spinning like a top in the mid levels. It tried a few times to get going at the ground but it wasn't to be. The storm was back-building or simply riding southwest along some type of boundary, because it began to distance itself from us as we sat just east of it on US283, just across the River into Texas (we assumed leaving Oklahoma would finally produce a tornado). A small area of rotation began in the base, while the sun shone through the backside of a distant storm to the west, illuminating the storm base brilliantly. Sudden;y a huge dust plume shot up, but was moving north, then began to get sucked up into the base. We thought it was a weak tornado, but in actuality it was RFD. Too bad, as we were about a half mile southeast of the dust plume. Had it been a tornado, our video would've looked almost identical to Jim Leonard's famous Hamlin, TX dust bowl tornado video. Eventually this storm too craped out. So we went after storm #4, west of Hollis at twilight.

We stopped west of Eldorado to shoot some of the incredible lightning, and were soon joined by the local sherriff, who chatted with us about the storm. A few minutes later we gave up and headed home. Looks like the lack of a strong cap ruined things today, as storms were constantly fighting each other for the good air.
Got on the North Texas Supercell from Childress and chased it as it tured hard and moved southeast. I chased with Scott Eubanks, Amos Magliocco, and various other chasers throughout this trip. Prior to us going after this storm, I had docked 7.7 miles from the hotel; all that finding a post card for my girlfriend. After that, I logged another 400 miles which ended me here in Amarillo at the Ritz Plaza Hotel for $39.99 a night.

Great storm; may've got a brief spin-up along the gust front toward the end of the chase, but I cannot say for sure... not only did I not get any video of it, but we were hauling balls trying to make sure we got south of it before getting rolled in the elongated core! Other than that, we saw some beautiful structure, crazy amounts of CGs, and wall clouds that refused to give birth! A helluva way to end the 1st week! Here are a few pics...

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I bailed on the chase about 5 miles west of Haskell at 8:00pm (I think) when the storms were lining out and everyone else was heading east. I elected to begin my journy back to Denver.. on the way back, I scored a few very scenic pics..

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And the final one, the one I'm most proud of from today; my first lightning attempts with my Canon A85 (which is the same camera which did a header from the roof of my car onto the highway yesterday). This shot was one of several taken from south of Childress on the distant storms to my east. I think Susan would even be proud of this one!

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My chase vacation has started. Since today may be the last good chase day for awhile, I took an earlier flight and arrived in OKC about 3PM. After some rental car and equipment problems, I was on the road. I initally wanted to target the most southerly storm in the group near Childress but it was too far way to reach before dark. I headed southwest to Lawton,then turned west and intercepted a storm in the Altus area. It was was slightly ahead of the group and had fairly unobstructed southeasterly winds. It initially seemed to be strengthening. The storm had nice striations and a possible wall cloud. Unfortunately, it was outflow dominated. I followed it until dark, then returned to OKC.
Saw some nice positive lightining bolts associated with the squall line through OKC.

I am just east of Altus looking north.


Thaks to Tim Vasquez for radar info.

Bill Hark
did a nice short trip from home today (350 miles) and intercepted the storm near Throckmorton. had awesome structure, and nice bell shape to it and great mammatus and incredible lightning. unfortunatily we werent able to get within more than 5-6 miles of it due to lack of good roads, but this made for a great place to setup shop and do some lightning photography. the lightning in this storm was extremely intense and provided a great nightlight for the storm structure.

Just got back from western North Texas...quite a day. Not exactly what I had expected, but a fun chase nonetheless.

Intercepted the Foard/Cottle county supercell to the west of Crowell, TX around 5 pm. Watched several attempts at tornadogenesis that didn't quite work. I started to get worried that it would evolve into an HP when rain bands began to wrap significantly around the west side. Nevertheless, it stayed on the wet side of classic for just a bit longer. The rotation in the updraft was nothing short of spectacular, especially as the storm neared the Gilliland/Truscott area. I'm fairly certain we saw a tornado near Truscott...probably a truncated cone, from the look of it (though I will review film first and other chaser's pics before confirming). Also, saw a fairly dusty mass in the shape of a stovepipe...it looked an awful like a tornado, though I can't say for certain (south of Gilliland, if memory serves me).

Met up with Robert Sternadel today in Vernon Texas and we were able to get on the Cottle storm just about at birth. This turned out to be an amazing cyclic classic supercell that di go on the HP side a bit. We did video and take pics of a cone shaped tornado that emerged out of a heavy heavy rain shaft near Truscott. We saw circulation on the ground back in the rain but it was very hard to see and couldnt tell if it was something on the ground or just the rain bands and wind. Then the tornado slowly emerged from the rain shaft. Never did have perfect contrast but Robert was able to catch a few good stills and Ill have to get some video grabs later as well. May be interesting to speed the video up and see what the motion looks like.
There were several impressive looking gustnadoes along the leading edge of the storm and many local TV chasers were calling these in as tornadoes. I even saw one cross the road on Hwy 6 right in front of us that looked amazing for a gustnado.
We also saw another circulation on the ground beneath a rotating wall cloud I believe jsut North of Benjamin. It had multiple vortices and was beneath an area of rotation beneath the wall cloud so im assuming this was a weak tornado as well. All the others I saw were definately gustnadoes tho.
The CG and structure was mazing in this cell and we did a great job maneuvering around the cell. I didnt think we could top Thursday but I enjoyed this cell a great deal. Robert also made some great choices on our road options and keeping me from wanting to head North before initiation.
Ill do alot of work on the website later today so hopefully have alot of pics up tonight.
Thx to Robert for a great chase partner and letting me use one of his radios.
Thx to Jeff Papak, Michael Litteken, & Kenneth McCallister for nowcasting.
Wow, what a day! Initial target was somewhere between Hollis and Altus. Went SE on 287 and went east out of Memphis only to stop a few miles east to look at the exploding cells to our north and south. The cell to the south had a very well defined updraft and a great looking backsheared anvil. Looked at the storms to the north for a while and made a call and decided to catch the storm to the south. Went south on Hwy. 62 to Childress and then went to Quanah. Went south out of Quanah on Hwy. 6 and saw the very low hanging wall cloud as soon as we got to the south of Crowell. My chase partner and I proceeded to go south while seeing tons of chasers all along Hwy 6. As we got near Truscott we pulled over on the side of the road. We were looking at a very well defined wall cloud to the west as we talked on the phone with our nowcaster. Our nowcaster told us that there was now a very well defined circulation near Gilliland. We looked east and saw fairly descent rotation and my chase partner Robert Ruley said, look is that a tornado? Sure enough it was a cone tornado with very poor contrast near the town of Gilliland. It didn't seem to last more than a couple of minutes. We then went south to Rochester and then went east toward Weinert. We then saw a very intense circulating dust cloud near Weinert which we conclude as just a gustnado. We stayed around and looked at the storm for a while and decided to come back home. On the way back home we intercepted another storm near the town of Quanah. We got into very intense CG's with heavy rain and quarter size hail just north of Quanah. After the intense lightning show and the pitter patter sound of hail hitting the vehicle, we ate and then came on home.

79f65204f01472cf08cd2bd6891eff81.jpg Large gustnado west of Weinert.

5ca92d47e8e547956eadb2e33ecb479c.jpg Very well defined wall cloud near Truscott.

96f11cec957444ef7cfe4ff6605327d9.jpg Low contrast cone tornado SE of Gilliland. Look closely and you can actually see the dust whirl on the ground.

ce56854e370e0236ed8b7affd35aa51e.jpg A beautiful ending to a great day of chasing!
Since I didin't get out of work until 5:00, my choices were limited. Since I also report to a local radio station that was even more limited. However, all was not lost. Storm formed south and west of Enid OK and moved slowly east. This gave me opportunity to get into the area.

Approaching a storm from the north is not a smart thing to do. I reached US 412 and OK 74 which put me directly north of this slow moving storm. I never could see what was going on and elected to move back to I-25 and south to Perry. Along Perry lake I finally got a peek at the base of the storm. From what I could tell, it was never really organize nor particulary strong. When I finally saw the base, there were some lowered sections, but nothing that really set off alarms. There was a LOT of rain behind it though. More like a small squall line than a supercell. Continued south on dirt roads to about 5 miles south and 4 west of Perry, OK. There the storm appeared to get some shape to it. Rotation was beginning and wall cloud was starting to take shape. inflow band from the east and still plenty of rain to the west and north. I started to pick up some nickel hail in this region and decided to stick it out here rather than move through the hilly area along dirt (soon to be mud) roads. The wall cloud continued to firm up and get better shape as well as getting more rotation as it continued to move east. I finally had to move to stay ahead of the rain/hail core. Stopped to talk to some LE folks hidden under an I-35 overpass watching the storm for about 30 seconds and continued to move watching the wall cloud fall apart and renew further south. Here, I was about 4 miles north and a couple of miles west of Stillwater, OK and should have called it. However, I turned north for better roads and came back down on paved roads into Stillwater. It's now about 8:30 and US 177 was chock full of people driving in the rain. Getting through Stillwater was a major pain. This slowed me down considerably with my new targte being Perkins. Arrived at OK 33 and US 177, stopped for gas as I was finally ahead of the storm. I moved west on OK 33 thinking I could get a south option. This was a big mistake. I was pummeled by winds and very heavy rain about two miles in. Tried to stick it out by sitting at an intersection, but decided to try south of perkins. It was like this or worse through and south of Perkins on US 177. I finally decided to ride it out and pary that I didn't get creamed by large hail being reported in the vicinity. Made it home around 10:30. No hail, heavy winds with a couple of 60 mph gusts and lots and lots of rain.
Chasers gathered like horses at the starting gate in the parking lot behind the Childress Kettle yesterday around 20z. They were drinking free cokes from the movie theater and using the Kettle wifi signal, waiting until a tower exploded south of town. Most of my friends chose a direct route south on 83, under the young core, but I thought it would be clever to move east then dive in front of the storm, but FM 1033 southbound out of Kirkland curved back to the southwest too much, and the storm intensified rapidly—spewing mushy hail well downstream—and I had made a critical error right out of the gate.

Mercifully, the storm remained non-tornadic long enough for me to gain a great view into the notch from north of Crowell on State Road 6, and I maintained a more or less favorable viewing position all day. However, as we moved into north central Texas from northwest, into Cottle, Ford, and Knox counties, the sight lines worsened from occasional trees and hills. We saw the upper half of the white cone tornado Blake posted, but I have no imagery since I was driving like crazy at the time to escape the core. We were never able to stop for more than five minutes before this deviant mover was on us again. I’m certain this was the tornado, however, because Scott Eubanks called out over the radio, “There’s a cone—folks, that might be a tornado on the ground.†I hope somebody in our caravan had the presence of mind to aim their cameras in that direction at the time Scott made that transmission. Or if anyone was recording at all, we can check the time and see if his report came at the time of Blake’s tornado. Steve Miller, Jeff Gammons, Chris Collura, and Kersten McClung saw a separate tornado west of Benjamin which was on the backside of the storm complex. I did not see this feature.

The storm transitioned from a classic to a more disorganized HP, with several areas of strong rotation and multiple notches along the southeastern flank. It was hard to know which one to monitor, and impossible to see them all. The road network was no help, and dirt roads were mostly impassable from the earlier MCS rains. I tried one, early in the chase after my maneuvering mistake, and progressed about thirty feet into deepening mud before backing out slowly and without breathing.

As the storm moved from Ford to Knox counties, the front cell tightened into a gorgeous mothership with several layers—my second amazingly picturesque storm within a week. This shelf cloud reminded me again of that derecho in south Kansas and northern Oklahoma on May 27, 2001, an awesome sight to behold.

Grabbed a later dinner in Wichita Falls with EricN, ScottC, KurtH, and NickG, all of whom headed back to OUN while myself and the Weathervine crew remained here at SPS.

I’m not sure why this storm failed to produce a more significant or long lasting tornado, though Blake’s and Jason's images show an excellent tornado. The midlevel winds were more than sufficient, and the last time I checked storm relative anvil level flow, it was around forty knots. This storm rode the boundary for a while but may have slipped off as it turned right into hotter air and higher LCLs. There was plenty of instability and shear. Anyway, congrats to those who had photogenic images from favorable angles. I’ve missed those for two days in a row, but both storms were magnificent enough that it’s hard to feel sorry for myself. You just don’t see these kinds of storms too often.

Today we’re recharging batteries and washing clothes before heading to southeastern NM to play upslope and possibly a dryline on Day 3. I will post images on my blog from the last three days of chasing before I go to sleep tonight. I’m downloading them onto the computer now and will process tonight and post. Grabs from video captures may take much longer.

Eventually, I'll post images here:

Chased the cell that moved SE from Knox County to Throckmorton County and backbuilt into Haskell County. Was forced to stay well east and southeast of it due to sparse road options. Looked classic when I first caught view of the updraft from Seymour around 7pm, then it looked to get severely undercut by cold outflow and turned into an HP linear beast. Shelf cloud had some nice structure, although poor contrast limited photo and video opportunities. Lots of CG shot down from the anvil throughout the storm's lifespan.
Peggy and I made to the storm south of Childress for initiation and enjoyed the beautiful structure. We were close to the first wall cloud that wrapped up tightly and came real close to producing a tornado before the precip core became immense. It would have been gorgeous if it had touched down. We then punched through the northern periphery of the core to get east and south for better viewing. Luckily we only encountered non-damaging hail on the way minus one chip and dent. We ended up in a perfect viewing spot to watch the multiple meso areas along with the rest of the chase caravans. It was quite fun to see so many people out. We were watching a wall cloud in front of us and then noticed the white tube emerging from the rain just to our east. We captured a couple low contrast photos and video before it quickly dissipated. We moved on as the monster core progressed southward. At one point during the chase we saw a dusty tornadic spinup under a well defined rotating wall cloud and then later a few dusty circulations along the gust front. One spun up directly over a car behind us. The striations and structure of this cell were incredible! Whie the tornadoes were only brief, it was an fantastic show!

We will post photos in a couple days.

Heading back to Minnesota to regroup before the next active week!

Good luck out there!
I started the day in Childress with a number of fellow ST members. We were sitting in the Wonderful Kettle restaurant parking lot getting every available piece of data and watching towers go up to our S. Shortly after doppler began showing reflectivity most of us left, going after that storm in Cottle Co.

I headed S on 62 and picked up the RFB/Developing wall cloud just E of Paducah. At this point the storm looked as though a tornado was eminent, much like it did for the next 4 hours. I followed the storm staying in pretty good position for most of the day and avoiding hail/precip. core which was kind of a pain with the storms ESE/SE motion. The chase ended near Haskell when the storm exhibited outflowish nature. I then raced east towards Throckmorton to avoid getting eaten by the hail core. All-in-all I saw probably 12 separate wall clouds, a beautiful wedding cake meso that lasted for probably 3 hours, a gustnado or two, some stunning lightning and MAYBE a very poorly contrasted tornado, MAYBE.

Congrats to those who caught the tornadoes they were tough to find in this storm.

I should have a full chase log, pics and video up in a couple days. For now here are some pics:

The Cottle Co. tower going up. Looking S from Childress.

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Wall cloud with good rotation E of Paducah looking NW.

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Wall cloud between Crowell and Paducah looking NW.

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East side of mesocyclone S of Crowell looking NNW.

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Middle section of mesocyclone S of Crowell looking NW.

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EDIT: here is a layered image of the Meso S of Crowell. I still am trying to blend the layers and then adjust color a bit.

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Chased with numerous chasers yesterday, including Jason... So my report is the same as his, basically. Got onto the tornadic supercell that developed directly south of Childress (watched it from just a TCU)... And it featured a decent rotating wall cloud and had some absolutely fabulous structure... But I didn't see that tornado that it produced. Infact, I was surprised it did...

Pictures/complete log of this chase, along with my many others from the past three weeks will be up on my website probably within a week, finally!

Finally got internet access, my account is much the same as others, we saw the cone tornado but we didnt know it because we in the game of leapfrog that chasers were doing down Highway 6, we were much further south than most and had crap contrast and didnt know if it was a tornado or not. However, we did see a brief tornado 2 miles W of Benjamin that was only about 1/3rd of a mile away. There were several other chasers including a tour group that were at our same position, but they bailed when they saw the rotation approaching. The tornado touched down in a field and crossed Highway 82. I got film of a Greyhound bus almost driving right into, thankfully the driver stopped probably 50-75 yards in front of the tornado.
I'll try to get vidcaps up.
After an unexpected delay on leaving Tulsa prevented me from heading to southwest Oklahoma. I decided to try the outflow boundry in the area of Enid and Stillwater. I made it to 412 and hwy 74 but not with enough time to get south of the storm southeast of Enid , without driving into it.Channel 9 had already showed a decent looking wallcloud and an inflow on their radar. I went back east on 412 to find another road to go south on without driving 15 miles back to I-35. I turned down a road about 4 miles east of 74 (6:30?)and made it about 2.5 miles south then my back end slid out to the edge of the road.STUCK :(
After spending about 2 hours trying to get out , it was time to concede to defeat ( should have done that after 15 minutes...lol) I did get to see the mass amounts of lightning after I walked up the road to get a cell phone signal, should have grabbed the camera , oh well.

Finally got it out saturday afternoon. Hats off to the owner and workers of Tim' Wrecker Service out of Enid.They went out of their way to take care of me that night and the next day.

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If you ever end up needing help out around Enid give Tim's Wrecker Service a call 580-894-TIMS
FULL REPORT AND PICS: http://weather.ou.edu/~nwilson/chase7.html

Had a great time with Kenny Tapp and Aaron Kennedy chasing the most picturesque supercell I have ever seen. We missed the small tornadoes while we were repositioning, but captured some excellent photos of the structure and gust front. The road network definitely didn't help matters trying to reposition further south, but managed to be in a great spot for the arrival of the gust front just to the west of Throckmorton. I believe Amos, Eric Nguyen and Scott Currens were close by as well at that time. After 3 straight 12+ hour chase days it was nice to sleep most of the day Saturday haha...will we ever get to play a home chasing game in Oklahoma ever again???

The final in a 3-part report from Rocky from May 11-13.

Originally posted by Rocky Rascovich
Finally, Friday the 13th...Rick and I rode with Hank Baker and Gene Rhoden...in short, another one of those \"few fries short of a happy meal\" days but still very rewarding...after a late start, we blazed west on I-40 to the Hwy 30 exit, we set up cameras about 10 mi. or so to the south around 1500cdt...I was flabergasted by the speed of which the updraft we were watching materialized from a multicell thundershower, to a supercell with an attendant wallcloud literally within 20min. Anvil to ground staccato bolts began to occur which precluded me from joining the rest of the guys from venturing outside the vehicle most of the time as I had no desire to be reduced to a blob of smoldering protoplasm.

Unfortunately, this storm became a P.O.S in short order, probably from anvil seeding from other updrafts..we vectored south after looking at the Barons XM radar that offered more hope just below the Tx. border south of Hollis, that got pretty adventurous as we crossed some rain soaked dirt roads in areas you did not want to break down in...we crossed a bridge with a 3 ton limit over the Red River and after a few minutes were treated to one spectacular LP/Classic supercell just to our west...this had to be some of the best structure I've seen in these parts since May'97. Still, it did not produce any visible funnels although rotation was quite evident at cloud base. The one thing we lacked on this day as you probably know was low level flow, both the 11th in Ks. and the 12th in TX. saw bountiful amounts of surface wind ..but not this day...highest wind was only 10-15kts from 150-180deg. Interesting observation...wind was at least 20-30kts earlier in the day across central OK. Once we got to Erick..winds were almost calm to very light west at 1500cdt. Anyway...we missed the stuff further south in Knox Co. we headed home where we were met with a much needed deluge back in Yukon at around 2130.

In conclusion...A couple of dusty forward flank tor's on Thurs. in Texas..but the real treat was just being out in the wide open enjoying the weather with like minded folks...I am pretty much sold on the Baron's XM threat net for next year..however this year, thankfully, I'm off to a good start with a new laptop, GPS and a Cingular data card...I'm most relieved that I won't be bugging people for data like before. Thanks to Hank Baker, Roger Hill, Dave Ewoldt for info on the 11th and 12th! Also, it was an absolute thrill to chase with Hank Baker and Gene Rhoden...Gene is truly one of the masterminds in responsible chasing...my hats off to him especially!

REPOST: Website had problems last night so am reposting this. Both websites should be up and running now.

Robert Sternadel has his pics up now on his website with the May 12th and 13th events as well as some other. Amazing pic of the Truscott Texas area Tornado which was rain wrapped but amazingly some people were able to bring the contrast out and make soma pretty good pics out of a very rain wrapped nader.
Ill also have pics up later tonight at http://www.texhomastormchasers.com
Ill add some non altered vidcaps of the tornado so everyone can see how low contrast this baby was in person. This is one of the things that scares me about newbie chasers out alone. Monsters hiding in the shadows.
Little update in case anyone is interested.

I contacted WFO OUN regarding this tornado and inquired as to weather a damage survey was performed. They did not but they did say that based on photos and accounts from myself and other chasers that the tornado will go in storm data as an F0 or F1. Derek Deroche rode up in the area of gilliland and Truscott and did not see any sort of damage. The other photos with teh dust whirl are what let OUN go ahead and confirm this.

Also I have a friend who is a freakin GrlevelX genius and he hooked it up with some street level stuff.


According to the time stamp on my camera, the tornado was occuring during the 643 frame.



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