35th Anniversary of the Lubbock, TX F5 Tornado

The Lubbock NWS office has put up a very interesting read about the Lubbock, TX tornado which happened 35 years ago on May 11, 1970. I was just a kid then, living in the area and I remember that day well listening to it on the radio as we were coming back from a trip to NM to visit family. I remember it being late in the evening as the sun was setting the clouds toward lubbock were almost BLACK! Of course I was only just under 4 yrs old then, so that's about all I knew was seeing the black clouds and hearing the radio station and parents talking about the tornado in Lubbock.

The tornado actually slightly "twisted" the tallest building downtown, which still stands today. If your ever in the area, go down there and stand next to it and look up the sides and you can see how it is slightly twisted.

Anyway, the NWS office here has done an in depth analysis and timeline of events and even has some maps that Ted Fujita did in the studies of this tornado that was one of his key tornado studies for the development of the Fujita Scale.

Here is their page:

http://www.srh.weather.gov/lub/climate/Loc...ado/lubtor.html

It's also an interesting read on the setup which will show you why I don't mind chasing if the setup isn't just perfect, because ANYTHING can happen! It's also why I don't give up at 8pm if the dryline hasn't blown yet.

The Lubbock Avalanche Journal paper also has a lot of stuff including lots of pictures here:

http://lubbockonline.com/tornado/

As a side note of interest, if the models verify, a dryline will be in the Lubbock area again on May 11th this year and could see some severe storms in the area (even though the better risk looks a bit further north at this time). Could history repeat itself? Kinda spooky to think of the possibilities!
 
"....with temperatures climbing from the middle 80s into the lower 90s and dewpoints holding steady around 40."

Now that's one hell of a Td depression!

It's interesting how the dryline fluctuated over the city during the day and evening.


Very interesting read.
 
Originally posted by Joel Wright
\"....with temperatures climbing from the middle 80s into the lower 90s and dewpoints holding steady around 40.\"

Now that's one hell of a Td depression!

It's interesting how the dryline fluctuated over the city during the day and evening.


Very interesting read.

It was wasn't it. And you know, that's really a fairly common thing to have that dryline hand out right around Lubbock like that. Kinda "twilight zone" too how this quickly developing situation popped up today here in west texas too. <plays twighlight zone theme>
 
Very interesting read. And the dryline is something we chasers from the panhandle learn to rely on for severe wx. you can go from Td's of 30 to 75 in about 20 miles. Even fog up the windows every once in a while when you cross it. Makes for unpredictable events.. Lokk at today. yesterday we werent even thinking about severe wx or being in an outloook and now CAPE is forecast to be over 4500!!! If anything can get through the lid it should be huge.


Also of note is this is the only F-5 for the west texas/tx panhandle region. The panhandle itslef has never had an f-5. The Glazier/Higgins/woodward tri-state tornado on April 9, 1947 would probably have been classified as F-5 had the scale existed then. it is the 6th deadliest tornado in history. The OUN office has a good write up on it.

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/storms/19470409/
 
Originally posted by Jay McCoy
Also of note is this is the only F-5 for the west texas/tx panhandle region. The panhandle itslef has never had an f-5.
It's hard to make an F5 in the Panhandle. There are so few objects to hit, and thus make a decent estimate of the damage potential. I am certain there have been tornadoes in the Panhandle that would have made F5 status had they hit something worthwhile.

BTW - even though the official records may not indicate it, the Kellerville tornado of 8 June 1995 was definitely an F5, based on the complete scouring of deep-rooted mesquite and bois d'arc trees in shlterbelts, very consisitent to the vegetation damage seen around other more-verifiable F5s. The tornado also peeled pavement (alhtough this is not true evidence of F5).

This was the conclusion we made when we did the VORTEX survey.
 
Originally posted by Greg Stumpf
BTW - even though the official records may not indicate it, the Kellerville tornado of 8 June 1995 was definitely an F5, based on the complete scouring of deep-rooted mesquite and bois d'arc trees in shlterbelts, very consisitent to the vegetation damage seen around other more-verifiable F5s. The tornado also peeled pavement (alhtough this is not true evidence of F5).

This was the conclusion we made when we did the VORTEX survey.

I always had figured it was close to if not an actual f-5. That was only the second time I had seen the pavement scoured. The 1st time was 6 days before on June 2, 95 just SE of Dimmit which also actually pulled the crops out of the field and left nothing but a path of mud. That was a cool sight to behold. even though that one was only rated an F3 (I personally disagree).

Thanks for the info greg.

BTW David.. Doesnt todays setup seem somewhat familiar to back then?? A ton of CAPE, small energy impulse, DP's just now creeping up, Dryline in central panhandle.
 
Originally posted by Jay McCoy

BTW David.. Doesnt todays setup seem somewhat familiar to back then?? A ton of CAPE, small energy impulse, DP's just now creeping up, Dryline in central panhandle.

Tis eerie indeed!
 
Originally posted by Jay McCoy
I always had figured it was close to if not an actual f-5. That was only the second time I had seen the pavement scoured. The 1st time was 6 days before on June 2, 95 just SE of Dimmit which also actually pulled the crops out of the field and left nothing but a path of mud. That was a cool sight to behold. even though that one was only rated an F3 (I personally disagree).
Actually, we were the same crew that surveyed the Dimmitt damage. As I stated before, pavement peeling does not necessarily make an F5. I don't want to go into the details why attm.

We felt that the Dimmitt tornado was a high-end F3, and we debated F4. We notched it down because the only residential structure hit had some questionable architecture.

But as with any damage survey, you are going to always have a distribution of opinions! Even I sometimes have my personal "error bars" when I rate. Nevertheless, the surrounding vegetation damage at Dimmitt did not even come close to what we saw at Kellerville, so it easy to, in the least, rate the relative differences between the two tornadoes.
 
Thanks for all the info! I had heard about how the tornado "twisted" the tallest building in Lubbock, but I wasn't sure whether or not it was true, because it is kind of hard to see from a distance. Next time I'm out there, I'll have to get right up to it.
 
The SPC documents is absolutely a "crescendo" of sensation, get my skin change.

This one for me is the apotheosis (BOLD/RED):

8:10 pm: Funnel cloud, associated with the first tornado, reported by an off-duty policeman 7 miles south of the airport. Also, golf ball- to grapefruit- size (4.00 inch diameter) hail was reported from Lubbock Downs (about 2 to 3 miles south of city limits). Lubbock WBO checked with Amarillo radar personnel on severe storm just south of Lubbock and found that cloud tops had increased to 55,000 ft.

... together with the increase of 7000 feet in the tropopause.... :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: in less than 24 hrs.... :shock:

:wink:
 
Like David, I was a kid in 1970....but the Lubbock F5 was the first tornado I can recall reading about (in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper); it was the headline story the next day.

This was still 3-4 years before I really became interested in severe storms (a "storm nut" as dad dubbed me) ..but I definitely remember that eye-catching May 1970 Atlanta newspaper headline (ironically, major hurricane Celia, which blasted ashore at Corpus Christi, Texas a few months after the Lubbock F5 is the first hurricane I can remember; seeing the damage footage on local Atlanta tv news).

Thanks for the link to the WFO Lubbock site....that is a most interesting webpage.
 
Originally posted by David Drummond
As a side note of interest, if the models verify, a dryline will be in the Lubbock area again on May 11th this year and could see some severe storms in the area (even though the better risk looks a bit further north at this time). Could history repeat itself? Kinda spooky to think of the possibilities!

Hi David,

Seems you wrong just by one day... :shock:

Quite impressive that storm yesterday, I was looking at that continuously reforming over the same place (N of Lubbock) for really a long time.

:wink:
 
:lol: We were talking about that last night. Missed my tornado prediction by 24 hrs (almost exactly!) and by about 20 miles!!! :shock:
 
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