5/12/05 REPORTS: Plains

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Had a feeling that southern plains target would pay off in a BIG way today ... big CONGRATULATIONS to all you who chased the panhandle today and came away with some SPECTACULAR stuff. I'd say that was one of the most photogenic tors yet this year - easily.

Marginal chase today up here in NE Kansas/SE Nebraska. Went after a developing cell in Nemaha Co., KS ... the cell just south of the tor-warned cell in SE Nebraska. I felt like this cell might have a better shot at remaining discreet (ha - not for long) and watched as it exploded into linear insanity ... gorgeous gust front/shelf developed ... aqua blue green skies behind ... really nice ... flooding is definitely a problem ... had to drive through flooded roadways and torrential rain for a couple hours coming home. Looked down at the laptop during the middle of the chase and this little inchworm was crawling across the top of the screen ... not a bad chase partner.

Gust front/shelf development:

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Gust front panorama:



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Ernie the Fearless Stormchasing Inchworm:

A string of violent supercells rolled over the caprock tonight. We caught our first storm just east of Plainview at around 21z and chased that one and another further southwest in the line until about an hour ago. We saw three tornadoes, one near Lone Star (some are calling this White Plains--Roger Hill's great vid on TWC though our view was much lower contrast), another tornado to the southwest of that one immediately afterward, then a large cone spotted by eagle eyes Tony Laubach and Scott Eubanks through a rain shaft on the second cell near Quitaque and Turkey.

We started in Colby, Kansas, departing at 8:45 AM and driving hard all the way to Plainview, Texas when the storm was only about an hour old.

Each cell hit the boundary and spun like mad--there were rotating wallclouds continuously during the storm's life cycle, and the storm settled into a beautifully sculpted updraft after dark, leading the long line of storms that stretches back to Plainview even at this hour.

I should have time between tonight and tomorrow to process some images, since for the first time in many days I don't have to drive 500 miles for the next day's target.

The caprock strikes back!
What a bad chase trip. 1299 miles on the clock and we're just outside Vernon TX headed to OUN after two days of chasing that simply didn't have *that* zen going.

Busted in the PDS box yesterday. Woke up this morning in Colby KS, after a night spent battling the 50mph post-frontal 35oF chill. Swiveled the laptop on the table next to the (warm) bed and pulled up day 1, email and surface. My heart sunk when I saw northerlies in the TX Panhandle all the way to AMA - ouch. Plunging cold front - as advertised. Never favorable to chase.

......crossing the Red River as I type this.....

Busted south out of Colby towards Garden City while downloading photos on here of last night's SoD in SW KS. Ouch.

Knew that there really was only one play today - and for it you had to get to the warm/stationery/cold/whatever-the-hell-it-was front in the southern Texas Panhandle. Met Bill Tabor and chums in Perryton - apologies for my being so grouchy, Bill. Not having a good time. Tired.

As soon as we got into the TX Panhandle, it was evident that an area of agitated showers and cu were outh of the front southwest near Plainview. Being in the northern Texas Panhandle, this worried us. Thanks to my husband's navigation and my driving, we busted south at a great pace and got onto the storm just after it had tornadoed over Plainview airport. This was around 3.00pm and was very tortuous due to the crap road network...hmmmm.....somebody remind me of this when I hark about the awesomeness of chasing the TX Pan. next time. Come back South Dakota......all is forgiven.

Storm looked disorganized and was having a lot of trouble entraining cold air from its core up north. Very scuddy, scud being drawn in from the precip. and occasionally joining the wall clouds.

About 35 mis after getting onto the storm, a blockyish wall cloud developed and about five minutes after THAT a dirt whirl developed underneath this wall cloud and persisted for some time, displaying nice strong rotation and occasional multiple vortices. It lasted about two minutes, then we received a phonecall from Tim Marshall, congratulating us for joining the dirt-whirl club (he got his in SW NE yeterday).

We stayed in one spot, were joined by first Jason Boggs and co., Hank Baker, Rocky Raskovich and co., and Australian super-chaser Jimmy Deguara and friends. Great chaser convergence with some of my best chaser-friends out there - :)
We postulated and had fun discussing the storm's problems for quite some time amongst our group. This was just due north of South Plains by a mile or so. Storm seemed to be redeveloping southwest, and a large area of wall cloudiness came up from that area and began spinning HARD for us. RFD occlusion began, fully occluded, and managed to give the wall cloud a tail cloud and some fingers that MAY have been more dirt whirlies.

This then proceeded to move into a general downward/outward progression of the storm. Very gusty outish in appearance. We went north slightly and examined the scuddy/gusty appearance of what was left of the main storm cell, then decided to blast southwest to catch anything on its flank.
Just east of Plainview, we stopped and filmed some nice gustnadoes which Gene was very enthusiastic about and I less so. Some exhibited nice tubes of dust. Woohoo. A point to note of interest here is that, when Gene attempted to get out of the door to video these, the easterly inflow overpowered HIM dragging him out of the truck with the door as it swung open. Guess that should have been our clue, huh??

Once dusty whirlies were over with went south to Lockney where we stoped again with Hank, Rocky, Tim and Kaye Marshall and Dave Gold and tour. Discussed at the intersection our woes about this gusted-out, wrapped-up storm. Five minutes later, Hank Baker yelled from his cellphone that Dave Ewoldt just got done filming a HUGE tornado ten miles to our north.

Shortly thereafter, unsurprisingly, our little group dispersed. Some trips just weren't-meant-to-be. By the time we even KNEW the first thing about what was transpiring to our northeast, the gates were already slammed shut in our faces.

Blasted southeast on Hwy 70 - the only road option which was torn up and under construction.
Worth noting here that the return of the "smaze" seems to have been fully consummated. Once you got between 5 and 7 miles away from ANY storm - you no longer had a visual on ANY of its features.

Farted around just east of Floydada and took a road north and east which was progged to come into Whiteflat TX. One mile onto this road it turned to packed dirt/sand. Niiiiiice. We persevered with it although God knows why - I don't drive on dirt roads much at all unless it's likely to reward me with a tornado intercept. The likelihood of THAT was fading as fast as my enthusiasm.

After arsing around in the deep sand and FINALLY getting onto paved road, we blasted north from Whiteflat to take a look at the storm. CGs with this storm were INCREDIBLE. Anvil-to-ground bolts with very high multiplicity - relighting the channels over ad over and over for as long as 5-7 seconds.

Finally got up to JUST south of Turkey where we had visual on the ugly face of this now non-tornadic, beastly HP with dark greys and greens and blacks filling the sky. It was almost like nightfall it was so dark, but the sun hadn't set yet.

Took one look at the core, the large raindrops on our windshield and the tortuous escape route east of Turkey, and turned around gleefully. Busted south very fast to escape getting munched ala last April in eastern OK. Made it OK to Matador, and were faced with a very long drive home.

Anybody who uses Cingular - did you have ANY voice coverage in this area today? OR yesterday in northern Kansas???? We have been blindfolded and gagged by our Cingular cellular coverage lately - almost so much I am beginning to wonder if part of their network is down. NOT happy. My Tracfone TDMA got LOTS of use over the past two days - including Dave Gold having to use it for rudimentary data in southern NE yesterday. Wow. Talk about stone-age.

Got into Vernon TX. about an hour ago and ate at the local McDonald's after FINALLY getting some conversation with some other of our chase friends. We busted along with Hank, Rocky, Jimmy, Tim and Dave.

The McDonald's in Vernon served as a good point to try and refuel our empty shells of bodies for the drive HOME. My leftover coke is already beckoning. While eating in McDonald's, an eery song began to play. I can't remember what it's title is, but it's the one where the guy wails about "Number one is the loneliest number that you'll ever do..."

It wasn't exactly a direct relative in nature to chasing storms.......but it sure sums up how we feel, strangely enough. Som things just strike a chord with you, you know?

A warm congratulations to Roger Hill ("bionic-chase"), Dave Ewoldt, JR Hehnly and I THINK Shane Adams was on it too - that dusty stovepipe must've been quite the sight. I hope anybody who's windshields got busted out are OK - like Scott McPartland.

Shane - I'm beginnig to believe in your theory of zen chasing and the fact that you either have it or you don't at any one given time - and nobody has it all the time. We sure didn't today, or yesterday.

But a big thanks to my employers who let me off again and again and again for this system!

In Lawton now and headed home to our poor parrot who's been left alone for the past 48 hrs..... :(

Karen Rhoden
Tired... broken windshield, side window... Waiting for storms to move away from Childress so I can go home. Caught a few forgettable spinups, first was at 5pm near Silverton. Last was not forgettable.. big tornado near South Plains.
After tornado pulled down power lines to our south we could not escape the RFD and hail... LOTS of broken windshields!

Digital cam pictures only up now... lots of video to get captures from.
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Yep I missed it... I left Hays, KS at around 0900 and humped it S and W to Shamrock where I stopped for some data. The first cell had already been going for around an hour at this point so I had to put the hammer down to get to around Plainview where this cell was located.

I reached the cell, which was tornado warned at this time, between Quitique and South Plains. I saw a great wall cloud as soon as I arrived and the excitement really never stopped until well after sunset. Except of course when I got stuck and I mean stuck, in the mud on a county road. Luckily two Floyd Co. firefighters towed me out. Thank you very much to Jay and Jared ya'll rock! Thank you to Ben Vassmer and his friends for getting knee deep in mud pushing me out, true display of chaser camaraderie. Also thank you to Tony Laubach who offered me a ride and Amos for responding to my cry for help over the HAM.

After getting out of the quicksand I followed the NE cell while the one to the SW dropped the fatty stovepipe, so I missed it. Still I don't regret it these were some absolutley gorgeous storms. A little later I met up with Kurt and Nick and tagged along with them, Amos and company. We saw a few more wall clouds, possibly a few funnels and some great storm structure.

Some more excitment came when we were getting ambushed by the hail core near Turkey, due to some skillful navigating by the conductor of the chaser train we avoided it. We turned on a road and headed SE stopping a few times for pics and ended up in Childress.

I will put up some of the crappy pictures I took when I get a chance. What a day, my first caprock chase was a great success in my eyes.
Ready for tomorrow when I certainly will bag a tornado.

EDIT: After looking at my video I believe I did catch a rope tornado from a distance also got a couple photos up:

Wall cloud associated with NE cell, taken while I was stuck in the quicksand.

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Another wall cloud shot.

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Yet another nice wall cloud shot though I think it is underexposed.

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A nice lightning shot.

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J.R. looks like the same view we had. Our problem was we went east from there and filmed another tornado that formed only about 100 yards south of the road. It became a large multivortex tornado. Hail the size of Popcorn balls were blowing sideways. We tried to get in between the hail core and the tornado, but there was no room. We wound up right at the edge of the tornado as it decided to cross the road and we made a fast U-turn and got out of there minus one windshield and one side window that is now all over the inside of the van.


Edit: pictures and video are online at:
Wow. That is all I can say about today. This was by far the best chase day of the year.

We started the day in Garden City, KS where it was 45 degrees when I woke up this morning. Our initial target this morning was Shamrock, TX because we wanted to get south of the front into the warm sector and get east of the storms that were already going up. Jay, Kathy, Phil, Bill, and I left about noon as we had a late start due to having to get some necessities done. About 10:30 we saw storms going up in the panhandle and worried about it interfering with afternoon convection but the storms moved off quickly. About noon we started noticing storms going up around Plainview, TX.

We arrived in Perryton, TX about 1:30 and decided to take a break. I was being my normal self and smarted off to Jay that this was the storm we needed to get on so to make this break a quick one. Jay then said "Alright your so confident the chase is now yours." Yikes. I thought he was just being a smart alleck so I blew it off. We got back on the road and had an update on the WXWorks and the storm really was starting to get organized. Jay then got on the radio and told the whole team that I was leader today. I nearly died! I sure didn't want that responsibility. But, like a good soldier I took the task and quickly plotted a route to intercept the storm.

Out of Perryton we decided to head on the 83 to Canadian. From there we went to Miami and took a road south out of there to Hedley. We gassed up in Memphis and proceeded to the storms. There was another storm going up behind the original storm we had targeted, but both storms had nice inflow so they were both able to survive. In Memphis we realized that the storms were barely moving and we would have to go further south. We took some back roads to Turkey and from there we went west to Quitaque.

In Quitaque we went north just a bit to try to get a visual on the base. The WXWorks was showing shear markers but contrast was crap. As the moist southeast winds rose up over the caprock into the rain cooled air, they condensed and created a big cloud bank. That was neat but we were still having trouble seeing any contrast. As I watched the development on WXWorks I decided that the storm to the SW of Quitaque might have better contrast so I decided to move. This was the make it or break it move of the chase. We were leaving a rotating wall cloud in hopes that one we couldn't see would be better. We targeted South Plains and took a FM road due south that isnt even on the map yet. (thank you Mr. Local Man) which was SE of the main area of rotation.

The road we were on ended a T intersection about a mile north of South Plains. This intersection also put us about 2 miles east of a rotating wall cloud. We sat there for about 5 minutes when the wall cloud formed a funnel. It teased us for awhile only coming halfway down and after about a minute we had out first official tornado of the year. The funnel became a beautiful cone tornado. Now, we were sitting there mesmerized by this when Jay noticed that the tornado wasn't moving to either side, rather it was just getting larger. Oops. We quickly headed east about a mile and got set back up so we could record. The storm was turning right so the tornado was moving SE and passed to our south in a field. By this time the tornado was about 300 yards away and HUGE!!! The tornado had become a solid elephant trunk with a large debris swirl. We sat there until it roped out. By then we were under the wall cloud so we had to move east.

We moved a few more miles down the road and in that time another large tornado had developed to our west. We are sitting at the edge of the caprock and when we move east this time we will lose it because we will be dropping off the caprock. We ended up back at the road that went due north back to Quitaque. By then the core was starting to catch us as we were going north to Quitaque and we started receiving large hail. When we got into town we got into quarters with a couple of golfballs thrown in the mix. We headed east out of the core towards Turkey where we broke out of the precip again. From there we dropped south to another east southeast moving FM road. We just tried to stay about 5 miles ahead of the main area of rotation until we lost all contrast on the storm and decided to call it a day.

From there we busted north to Estelline and the NW to get out of the path of the storm go we didn't get cut off of our path for the way home. There were still shear markers over Plainveiw as we drove home. There is a bet going on as to if they burned the motors out on the sirens from running them all day. Overall, this was a very successful day and I am glad May is here!!

Here are pics of the day:


Special thanks to Phil and his WXWorks for which made the chase today. There was no visiblity until you were under the base, but the radar saw it all!!!

Time for bed.....Kanani
i gotta make this short (i have a geology final in oh 6.5 hrs! :shock: ) Ken Fugate, Mike Bak, and myself intercepted the same three tornadoes Amos and the guys did. A great storm and lots more chasers on this than expected, but it made for a fun time. 750 miles...13 counties traveled...3 tornadoes...3-4" hail...and one awesome storm....and my chase vacation doesnt even start til saturday! :lol: ill have pics posted sometime this weekend as tomorrow...well today (friday) looks as if it could be quite fun as well!
JR Hehnly, Mickey Ptak, Chad Lawson, Jo and myself convoyed to the TX panhandle today. Ended up south of Silverton on our first cell which had been producing tornadoes but failed to once we got on the inflow side....watched this one get undercut and then picked up the next cell down the line, about 20 miles west of us. This cell too was being undercut time and again for many attempts, but eventually it got its act together. We watched it produce three weak, landspouty tornadoes, each lasting maybe a minute, then it became undercut again. Eventually it regained its inflow and spun up very nicely. Tornado #4 was an incredible truncated cone, less than a mile west of us. We stropped and shot video as it danced towards us, moving ENE. The mesocyclone caught it after a minute or so and spun it around to the south and southeast, in a fashion I would imagine looked similar to May 29 in Harper/Sumner Cos KS last year, seen from a distance. This tornado grew quickly into a large dusty barrel, and displayed significant/borderline violent motions as it churned just west of TX207. It crossed the road maybe a half mile south of us, and we slowly moved towards it as it began to rope (after moving east of the road). It looked very much like the Wizard of Oz tornado as it roped, while the new meso formed and rapidly tightened just to its east. Tornado #4 had barely dissipated before tornado #5 was in progress, about a half mile ESE of us, south of our east road. Inflow jets were converging from four different directions all around us, as several chasers drove underneath the circulation/developing tornado. I didn't like the look of the rapid circulation just in front of us so I opted to stop and let it move east (lest we become tornado debris). BAD MISTAKE. We'd gotten so far into the hook that we were between the tornado and the rain/hail wrap. Because I stopped, the circulation/tornado continued east along with the rain/hail core, which swallowed us from the NW and began slamming us with baseballs. We dodged bullets for maybe a minute or two, then CRASH - the back windshield exploded into bits as a stone crashed through, completely destroying it and showering Jo and I with shards of glass. We managed to react in time and covered our faces, and, since the back glass was already gone, I kept us faced towards the hail with the back glass area exposed (IMO baseballs hitting you is better than baseballs and glass hitting you). We were very fortunate in that neither of us took a direct hit from any stones, although the same couldn't be said for the front windshield, which took a major hit resulting in a huge spiderweb just left of center. I threw it in reverse and slowly backed out of there back to TX207, as the hail finally, mercifully began to shrink in size. We'd gotten seperated from JR and Mickey/Chad, but they came back from the east (they'd been among the chasers who chose to drive through the developing tornado to escape the hail - opposite of us). Both had all windows intact when we saw them. We all pulled into a driveway but then decided to try and bail north. JR took off, followed by Chad & Mickey, then Jo & I third. We made it a few hundred yards when the baseballs started again, and we took another hard hit on the front windshield, sending a huge crack all the way across from the spiderweb to the right edge. We couldn't take another one. So, we bailed out back to the south and back to the driveway we'd been in. We never saw the others again - but a later phone call would reveal that both their vehicles suffered major window damage in the hail barrage we'd turned south to avoid.

Ok, the stats:

2 Supercells
5 Tornadoes
1 shattered windshield (front)
1 disinigrated windshield (back - there's none of it left)


The two nice ladies at a local convenience store offered their broom/dustpan to assist with our glass clean-up, and during this a man and his son/grandson walked up and gave us a dollar's worth of quarters for the vacuum at the car wash (we had no cash on us). These two acts of kindness saved our butts, as we tried driving at highway speeds before the clean-up and glass would fly all through the car. Without these folks we'd have been marrooned with little money.

Getting ready to review vid, and I hope like hell we're rained out tomorrow because I'm gonna be up all night.[/b]
Derek Deroche and I caught 3 tornados tonight on the
southern group of supercells. All were after dark
however. The first one near robertson was at sundown
but contrast was so bad it was hard to see with our
eyes and it barely even showed on film. The other two
were at night, the first north of Lorenzo and was
breif and then a nice cone late north east of

More late along with some vid grabs. It's late and we
need to rest up for tomorrow.
**Update: Finally got around to processing and uploading some of my pictures of the incredible May 12th event.
Maybe I'll post some video soon as well such as when I nearly drive into the thing while racing it
to South Plains. Oh yeah, suppose I'll do the chase account soon as well.

Enjoy the new Digital Rebel XT 8 megapixel shots. These were originally 49 megabyte Tif files
compressed to 30 Kb or so as jpeg so definitely quality loss not to mention smaller than the
original. You'll get the idea though as these are from raw initially and much better quality than
video grabs which is what most of my website up until now has been populated with. From now on most
of the pics I post will be digital SLR as I am going to stay away from lower quality vid grabs.

More Pics: http://www.tornadoxtreme.com/2005_Chases/M...ay_12th_05.html

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**Original Post
Well finally got good daytime tornadoes! How many total..not sure - we'll have to think about it all. Certainly one of my all time best / most exciting chases. Long story, a lot of what Shane said - and yeah Shane like you said in the field - you felt lucky - I believe. Anyway what incredibly beautiful tornadoes - what contrast, and all right in our face literally. I'm still digging glass out of my eyes, hair, equipment, etc. Had to stop in the emergency ward in Amarillo cause a piece of glass cut my eye - even though I had my racketball goggles on partly. I got pinned similar to Shane, and opted to choose the core rather than the developing wallcloud / tornado that the others were driving under. Smashed the crap out of everything as baseball or larger zinged into my vehicle. I also got wacked in my arm pretty good. Anyway the dashcam caught all the action I believe. I'll add more details later as I have time. I have to get a shower and wash the glass off and vacume out all my gear bags, etc. Congratulations to all in the field on this incredible storm, and hope all of you avoided injury. I know I heard a lot of vehicles got damaged. Looked like a strong / violent torn to me. If it hit a structure I wouldn't be surprised at F3 at least. What a beast storm! LOL!
What a wild day!.... easily my 2nd most exciting chase ever and this one rivals Mulvane last year for me. Am tired, and will make this very brief. Spent the day in convoy with Graham Bulter and David Drummond after the marathon in NE yesterday.

In short, intercepted several tornadoes today, will have to review video to figure out exactly how many. Witnessed 3 or 4 brief spinups early in the day with the supercells east of Plainview. Had a very close encounter with a potentially tornadic circulation. More on this later, much data and video review to do, however judging by some video we have seen of the area we were in, it would appear we were very close if not briefly hit by a weak developing tornado. Never saw the photogenic stuff others saw near South Plains or elsewhere on these storms, we saved it for nighttime I guess.

Decided to blast south and intercept the supercell east of LBB around 7:30. Arrived east of this cell and it looked rather high based, as it moved east it rapidly began to low it's base and we had a very short full condensation tornado form just before sunset before becoming quickly rainwrapped, at the same time a sat tornado was also noted. We continued to follow the storm to south of Rolls and quickly noticed a stovepipe clearly visible thru the rain (at least of my video)... this stovepipe was quite large and was moving to the NE... at the same time another tornado formed just to our SW maybe a mile or two.. this was a full condensation rope tornado complete with debris, lasted a couple minutes before lifting. Meanwhile, the stovepipe had been occluded by rain and was no longer visible. After this, the stovepipe which had been rain rapped became visible again and was seen with a large debris cloud and looked fairly intense, I believe this weakened, however am not sure. Within a couple more minutes (this all happened so rapid, words really don't describe it) another tornado quickly formed to our NW... yet another rope tornado with full condensation complete with debris cloud... meanwhile.. someone yelled out look behind!!... a lightning flash went just about then and 2 tornadoes (1. the original rope was now half condensation with debris cloud still visible and 2. Maybe 1/2 mile behind tornado 1 was a full condensation rope with large debris cloud. I should be able to grab some hopefully flat out amazing stills from that shot. Over the next 5 or so minutes the whole area of rotation began to lower and we were treated to what appeared to be about a 1/2 mile wide wedge tornado.. this appeared to be on the ground for a pretty good amount of time and may be what is responsible for the damage NW of Ralls. We were definently very nervous for the people in Ralls with this violent tornado just off to the SW and Ralls was dark without power. It appears a couple barns and an old frame house were destroyed or seriously damaged west of Ralls and some power lines were taken out as well and were seen lying on the ground. We moved north thru Ralls for a short time however decided to stay south as it appeared a new tornadic circulation was trying to form on the North side of Ralls (being blasted with very strong inflow at this time) .

Overall, amazing day. Even though most of the tornadoes were at night, have reviewed some video and should have some great stuff.

Hopeful that everyone in Ralls is safe tonight, they really dodged a bullet here!
On the way to the station attm so don't have time to tell everything so here is the nutshell verson:

First storm near Plainview:
-2 brief tornadoes under large wall cloud
-3rd tornado formed in the field next to us, got cut off by tractor moving at 5mph in our escape route, got over taken by tornadic circulation, almost lost windows from blowing rocks. Blasted south on first turn, almost got stuck thanks to heavy precip on crappy west texas dirt roads.

Second storm SE of LBB passed over Ralls
-3 words: Oh My God
-saw in the neighborhood of 6-10 tornadoes all but one after dark, including a muti-vortex wedge with at least one but maybe two satelite tornadoes at the same time (will have to check video). Went live with KCBD11 in LBB for about 30min as it approached and grazed the west side of Ralls and then off and on for the next few hours.

Full report and photos will be added over the next few hours or days.

Edit #1 - sample photo, more vid stills to come!!

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Vid cap from out video:

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-Graham Butler (David is driving home)
graham.butler (at) ttu.edu
Wow.. Way cool for you guys on the southern storms. I had to work but a watch box # 259 was issued up by Atchison. Me and Marc Grant hooked up and made our way up to ST Joe and then west on 36 and intercepted a severe T storm that didnt spawn anything other than lots of heavy rain. It was a bust. :(
Well as Amos said, we intercepted 3 tornadoes at a safe distance today in the Caprock after screaming 400 plus miles from Colby, Kansas to catch them! Great day yesterday as we saw the tornadoes in some rather poor contrast and escaped with all our windows! :wink: Along with the tornadoes, I passed through some bigger than golfball hail, tried to offer help to Jason M, and NEARLY had one of those burritos! What a fun day! We ended up in Shamrock where a group of us spent a couple hours watching storm after storm roll through giving us a great light snow, some crazy winds, and a few seconds of pea to marble-sized hail! Whata day!!!
Originally posted by Shane Adams
the hail finally, mercifully began to shrink in size. We'd gotten seperated from JR and Mickey/Chad, but they came back from the east (they'd been among the chasers who chose to drive through the developing tornado to escape the hail - opposite of us).
Ok, the stats:

On Chads and my behalf we did not drive under the circulation however it was real close to the east of us. I made sure of that despite Chad yelling at me to keep going. I opted to stay back. I would rather get the car destroyed then my life taken and if we would have gone any further east we may not be here today. So for the correction we were not under or in the tornadic circulation

Edit:I had really messed up on my video though. Somehow I had pushed my night shot button and now my video is green. I could kick myself in the ass for this. I have no idea how I did this. I am hoping I can adjust the color using the computer. Great footage piss poor video quality. Damn...

Started in Garden city and looked at data Had a good feeling about the Childress area or the west of it. BUt i was torn b/w SC KS and TX panhandel well We wound up in Seeing the South Plains tornadoe, and one prior to that. Then a second wedge after The initial South Plains tornadoe.

Hooked up with the May 12 crew from last May 12, 2004. Amos, Tony L, Scott Eubanks. Newbies to the crew Nick Grillo and Jason Montano, But not newbies to chasing. Lots of Chasers on this storm. Very Majestic all around. Wonderful Lightning, Large tornadoes, Gracious Structure, and of course large hail that i thankfully did not run into. Thank God for helping me find the rare paved roads there were at times.

I only have a vid posted right now pics will be up proabably tomorrow as it looks to be a down day.

Warning this is a 4.88Mb file close to 5 minutes long.

Managed to get a close-up view of the South Plains tornado without losing a windshield. Not the best contrast, but I suppose that's the price you sometimes pay for keeping a clear exit route.

Here's a view from just southeast of the developing cone (taken at 6:30):


Then a close-up shot (taken at 6:33), before I retreated south (that's the lowest part of a fairly large tornado):


This was my first experience with the intense roar of a strong tornado...best described as a jet engine. Very loud and quite amazing.
Originally posted by Mickey Ptak

On Chads and my behalf we did not drive under the circulation however it was real close to the east of us. I made sure of that despite Chad yelling at me to keep going. I opted to stay back. I would rather get the car destroyed then my life taken and if we would have gone any further east we may not be here today. So for the correction we were not under or in the tornadic circulation

Apologies to my bros Mick and Chad for my incorrect assumption. I saw them head east with a string of others and I never saw them again until after our little hail encounter. I wasn't suggesting they were irresponsible for (alledgedly) driving under the developing tornado, I was just mentioning it in passing as a part of my report. SEVERAL chasers drove into the developing tornado, I'm guessing to escape the large hail. It was a choice between two evils, each individual chaser's opinion on which was the lesser. Again, apologies for any confusion or misunderstanding.
FULL REPORT and PICS http://weather.ou.edu/~nwilson/chase6.html

Went out yesterday with a posse of OU grad students yesterday including Aaron Kennedy, Kenny Tapp, Ben Baranowski and others. We departed Norman around noon and didn't initially target the CDS area so we were late arriving to the show. Missed out on the last tornado report by about 20 minutes, but the scenery was spectacular as the HP beast passed over the Caprock and had 4 different wall clouds at one point. Highlights of the trip included Kenny leading us on an offroad adventure through overgrown fields, bobcat sightings and the blessing in disguise that we weren't there to get baseballs thrown through our windshields. Congrats to those that nabbed some nice looking tornadoes. I have some cool shots of the Lubbock area storm breaking the cap and going crazy for those of you that targeted those storms further south. Also saw a nice funnel cloud at 7:28 pm on our storm, but it quickly hid back up in the base and hauled its way northeast. We also realized its a lot easier to drive home 4 hours when treated to a lightning show of that magnitude!
5/12 report: Tornado and big hail

Like many other chasers, our group made the choice on TX 207 to hang north of the developing tornado, and we got munched by hail. I won't repeat what others have said here, but the report/pictures are here:

...and for those who like reading trivia and description, my chase diary is also linked from there.

Thus endeth my Plains chase vacation for the year. Other reports are here... and hopefully I'll have more to add from Florida as the summer progresses.

~ Chris Kridler
A surprise chase that landed me my first funnel cloud in a long time. I had laundry to do, so I did that, and while the laundry was getting dry I decided to run east of town just to waste some time.

Drove maybe ten miles east and decided to head down a trusty dirt road I always seem to take because I get a pretty unobstructed view east. I hadn't gone 100 feet down the road when something caught my eye to the northeast.

A thin white rope dangling from the base of a storm.

I pulled off the road to watch it for a moment just to be sure. It began to condense groundward, then it would retreat. It changed shape every now and then. I never saw any ground circulation, but it was too far away for me to tell anyway. This thing was racing away from me. It was embeded in a line of storms coming up from Kansas at a fairly good clip.

What I was feeling as I watched its brief life was just amazing. A rush of adrenaline. I felt so alive. It was damn near spiritual.

I managed to snag one really blurry as all hell picture of the funnel and storm. If you look hard enough you can make out the funnel (to the right of the treeline and up), what might have been the clear slot (the really bright area on the left), and possibly a weak meso up at the top. I'm sorry the picture looks so bad, but I'm no Mike H. and I didn't have time to really monkey with my crappy digital camera.


You have to view it full-sized in order to make anything out. Scaled down and things get even uglier.
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