4/30/04 RPTS: TX/OK

I targeted Jacksboro Texas initially. Left Norman at 1130am. Got to the tornado warned cell just east of Breckenridge around 3pm I think (Stephens county). Got some awesome pictures of rotating wall cloud and hail shaft. Lots of very impressive vertical motion and rotation but I never saw a nader. Wall clouds never got their act together. At one point I measured a 72 dewpoint on my kestrel 3000 just outside of Palo Pinto. Largest hail observed was quarter sized. Followed that storm for over an hour then it became totally HP and I headed to Mineral Wells for a data check. Saw things were going linear and congealing so I began heading back to Norman. I'm in Ardmore currently. More later and pictures soon. All in all a very scenic "first of the season chase"; got to test all my new equipment.
 
Very unexpected chase today. Went to work, got rained out, but the boss let me and another guy stay and work around his shop for extra hours. Got a phone call from Chad on the boss' cell around 1:30pm, alerting me to the tornado watch in S OK/N TX. I got my check, made a bank deposit, and was home within the hour. Shortly after my arrival, Chad and Susan showed up, and off we went towards Ardmore, with severe storms already in progress west of there.

We stopped at a Love's on the NW side of Ardmore to call Dwain. He told us of a nice, isolated supercell that was tornado-warned west of Graham, TX, so we decided to target that storm. As we headed south, we kept a close eye on the storm cluster west of us, coming into western portions of Carter and Love counties. Just as we were passing through Marietta, a tornado warning was issued for a storm about 15 miles west of there. We'd already blown by the exit by the time we'd heard the warning, so we turned around in Thackerville, and headed back north to Marietta (about 10 miles down the road).

Took the OK32 exit in Marietta and turned west, and went about a mile west of 35 to sit and watch. The storm looked mean, and had incredible structure....but was clearly outflow-dominant, with a nice stacked plate appearance, but it was laminar. To "storm" chasers, this was an incredible prize. The lightning associated with it was incredibly intense, and I wouldn't get out of the car to shoot video despite a messy windshield. Seeveral suspicious lowerings loomed ominous, but nothing was rotating, and with a huge core coming in fast to crush us, we opted to move back east to 35 then south, eventually giving up on the storm.

We stopped in Denton to call and check on storms further southwest, as well as Decatur, but the story was the same: everything we targeted quickly either lined out or crapped out, then something new and interesting would appear further southwest. I've been sucked down to Abeline for nothing one too many times, so we decided to stay put in Decatur and monitor the situation. Needless to say, we gave up not long after.

April wins again, 5th one in a row yielding no tornadoes for me.
 
4/30/04 PETROLIA TEXAS TORNADO

I intercepted the cell near Petrolia Texas which spawned a brief but good sized tornado Southeast of Petrolia in Clay county. I couldnt get a good road to the East so I witnessed the tornado from a distance. There were also some small funnels closer to me while this tornado formed before my eyes in the distance. It occured I believe in open pasture so not sure of any damage. I talkd with an OU student & he said Gene Rhoden also filmed this tornado. Not sure who the students name was. I need to make up some business type cards to pass out so I can keep better track of all you guys I meet in the field. The OU student looked rather young & was driving a white van with a ton of antennas. Had OU stickers on the back. I let hm check out the radar on my XM & later passed him again heading toward Mineral Wells. The storm that moved into Mineral Wells & Weathorford as well as Fort Worth had some amazing structure!
Ill post pics later at http://www.texhomastormchasers.com
Ill also post a quick pic in 15 min at http://www.storm777.freeservers.com
The pic isnt the best contrast of the twister but again I got stuck without an east rd. I enhanced the pic for more detail.
 
Just got back from a south OK / north TX chase... Left OUN abt 1:00pm, headed south on I35, then west towards the tor-warned cell near Ryan... Saw some decent structure with this storm, but it was pretty outflow dominant, though it had a very nice shelf cloud for quite some time. Disappointed with the tornado prospects for this storm, we dropped south into Texas and headed into Nocona. It was at this time that we heard of the tornado warning for Love county (the storm we had just left), but discarded it as it looked unimpressive. Seeing on radar more storms to the south, we headed south out of Nocona, going through Montague and Decatur. We had some hope for a cell that was in Jack county, but talk on local spotter network, as well as confirmation by radar while we were in Decatur, showed us that this storm was poor. Feeling rather disappointed, we decided to take one last shot by aiming towards a cell to our southwest in Palo Pinto county. We hauled south and made it into Weatherford around 7p (I think...). At this time, the structure was kind of puzzling to me... We hadn't driven through much rain, just some occassional light rain. However, it really looked like we had a rain-free immediately to our south. Now, I haven't looked at radar to see what the actual storm looked like, but I was imagining a kidney-bean shaped supercell.... Since we hadn't driven through the core, I knew the main core was still west of us... However, the rainfree base / updraft with south of us... Given this, I was more inclined to call the lowering ahead of us (to the south) a shelf cloud, as it appeared to be along the front-flank of the storm. Wrong...

We crossed I-20 in Weatherford and stopped just south of this to view the most AMAZING storm I have EVER seen! The structure on this thing was absolutely incredible... Wow! IT had a very low wall cloud with excellent upward motion for quite some time, and it had a classic striated/stacked plate appearance. Additionally, it had a vivid green-colored core behind it. Still can't put into words how awesome it looked.

As it moved east towards us, we knew we had to get east. Since we wanted to stay a little south of I20, we tried to navigate some back-country roads. This worked well for first 20 minutes, but soon the core started to catch up to us. Something about driving in tree-shrouded, dirt roads with hairpins turns with a strong storm bearing down on you were quite the cause for a very hairy 10 minutes. We eventually emerged from the core as we headed northeast up 377 towards FTW. We stopped in FTW to watch it more, but it appeared to be becoming outflow dominant as the meso occluded... Headed back north towards OUN after this (~8:30pm)...

I was feeling great disappointment and frustration with the way the year was going I was sitting in Decatur looking at radar... However, the structure on that Weatherford / Parker county storm definately made up for it, as it was the most amazing storm structure I have even seen. I'd take seeing that again over about half the tornadoes I've seen...

P.S. -- We did have a lightning strike (CG) hit about half-way across a field while east of Ryan. It was so close, I could literally FEEL it. It was an incredibly uncomfortable situation... I do hope to never be that close to a CG ever again...

P.P.S -- looked at radar now... As I had imagined, it looked like a 'C' ... imagine pacman coming to eat you.. absolutely incredible.
 
I saw the same amazing structured storm Jeff did & as he says... words were hard to describe it. Glad a picture is worth a 1000 words.....If anyone wants to see a pic email me & ill send one. I have a ton of work to do on the website from this weeks & last weeks storms. Have chased a ton of miles & seen a ton of things the past two weeks.
Started off with the stuff in Central OK on the 21st & then the Montague HP monster on the 22nd. Then the Walters OK & Olney TX storms on the 23rd. The Wilbarger county storm on the 25th, The Childress Quanah & Vernon storm on the 29th & then of course the 30th with A tornado near Petrolia & that stack plate structured cell near Weathorford Tx.....April started out slow but ended with a huge BANG!
Ill be workin on the site from time to time this week at http://www.texhomastormchasers.com
 
The storm near Ryan did produce a short lived tornado. I didnt see it personally, but Channel 4 out of OKC was on it with their whirlybird and got some video of it. Funnel wasnt on the ground, but there was a debris cloud.
 
The storm being described near FTW towards the end of the day sounds a lot like what we were on west of Marietta. As I mentioned before, storm structure freaks would've been wetting themselves.

One funny note I forgot to mention in my first post, we got pulled over somewhere between Purcell/Pauls Valley. The wind caught the guy's hat and it flew off his head down the side of the road.....Chad ran after it, retreived it, and brought it back to the OHP officer safe and sound.......and we only got a warning. I imagine it looked pretty wild to passersby; if you didn't know what had happened, it looked like Chad was trying to run from the guy. Hilarious stuff.

Tip # 234.7 of chasing: when pulled over, go after an OHP's hat if it blows off his head.
 
Originally posted by Shane Adams

Tip # 234.7 of chasing: when pulled over, go after an OHP's hat if it blows off his head.

Tip # 234.8 of chasing: when pulled over, DO NOT go after an OHP's gun if his pants fall down.
 
Were you driving a black dodge ram with a weather station in the back and Channel 9 stormtracker on the door, Austin?
 
Oh there was alot of people out there. I was in a red van. I don't remember what the name of it was, just the only red van out there. Too bad we core punched that storm or I would have liked to talk to some of the people out there.
 
The black dodge ram...

If I am not mistaken, that black Ram truck belongs to Val and Amy Caster from Channel 9 in OKC. They're a couple of the best around as far as chasing goes.
 
Oh ok.
They were just behind us for a long time from Ardmore and we saw they were in a hurry. We tried a few time to let them pass and they finally did. Then we couldn't catch up to them. Until the stopped. It was too bad we were both chasing the wrong storm. The one just to the west that produced the tornado we missed. No radar on board and we were watching a wall cloud on the storm closest to Ardmore.
 
T.A.S.C.: WEBSITE UPDATE FOR APRIL 2004 CHASES

After a very hectic weeks of April I have finally updated the T.A.S.C. site to feature all of the chases from the last two weeks. The can be found at http://www.texhomastormchasers.com

Included are the following:

4/20 Bust chase Ardmore Ok

4/21 Central Ok Supercells with wall clouds funnels & Arbuckle mountains baseball size hail pics! & A chase buddy & lightning

4/22 Montague county Texas monster HP supercell chase with Mike Litteken features wall clouds & funnels (Storm dropped as much as 18 inches of rain!) & lightning

4/23 Walters OK outflow dominant Supercell with gustnadoes as well as Olney Texas brief tornado & lightning

4/25 Baylor county Gustfront & Lightning

4/29 Quanah & Chilocothe Gustfront & Gustnadoes with lightning

4/30 Petrolia Texas Supercell with large cone tornado as well as Mineral Wells & Weathorford Texas monster gustfront

Also included are pics from New chaser Michael Litteken & Links to Kenneths McCallisters April chases & other chaser accounts as well.

The site will be updated by tomorrow at noon so check back then!

I will also be working on adding some videos from these chases which include Arbuckle mountains baseball size hail, The olney Texas tornado, The Petrolia Texas tornado, Montague County Massive & violently rotating wall cloud, & more.

http://www.texhomastormchasers.com
 
I first targeted the area just along the warm frontal boundary / low intersection north of Cisco, Tx. Lots of cells that eventually ran together and looked a bit like a squall. I didn't like it. I broke south for my alternative plan along the dryline and intercepted a nice, healthy cell north of Coleman, Tx. It produced a very large wall cloud, large funnel, and some large hail with hail roar. I got there probably 20 minutes after a tornado warning was issued and supposedly a DPS Trooper called in a tornado for the only tornado making the logs of the day as far as I know. It also showed TVS a couple of times on radar. This was a very beautiful storm with some nice inflow structure. Check out my pics on my webpage:

http://www.tornadoxtreme.com/html/april_30th.html
 
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