5/31/05 REPORTS: Texas

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Dan Robinson

North and west of Lubbock today (click photos to enlarge):

We saw no tornadoes (except for a small spinup that may have been a gustnado), but the day was filled with plenty of awesome structure, hail and lightning.
I chased with the whole crew today and managed to avoid any bizarre mishaps while observing and documenting some great supercells and two weak tornadoes.

We targeted the outflow boundary stretching from AMA to the southeast but lost our patience and headed north for the cluster of supercells and the developing storm moving in from Clovis. We intercepted the southern end of the cluster as it produced an amazing striated shelf cloud and a bright white hail core. We missed that first tornado reported by spotters, and the storm was soon outflow dominant so we shifted west for the former Clovis cell which was by then near Muleshoe.

We chased it south until it produced pseudo-tornadic spinups (meaning not obviously associated with RFD, outflow, alien spacecraft propulsion systems, etc) northeast of Amherst, Texas in Lamb county. Previous to this we observed a very long-lived gustnado which was obviously associated with strong outflow. But the later spinups occurred under areas of strong rotation after the influence of the outflow had subsided.

The storm chased us into Lubbock where we took shelter under the awning of an abandoned gas station and watched pea to marble to quarter size hail rain down in torrents. Very fun and successful chase day.
Some of the hail that fell to the south of the city of Lubbock.

05-31-05 Chase

Overall, it was a pretty good day. No tornadoes, just a couple brief spin-ups near Amherst (see last picture). Impressive structure on the storms today. The Hart storm even took on a "sky blue" tint to it at one point with all the hail in it. Most of the time, it was more of a sea green. Still, just gorgeous storms. Lots of people out there today...and LOTS of chase tours. I think we doubled the population of Hart at one point with all the chasers there! LOL The last picture is the spin up that prompted the tornado warning in Lamb County.




Pretty much the same song and dance as everyone else. Started the day near Hereford where I saw a large rotating wall cloud that never produced. I made my way down to Earth where I saw a pretty descent base with a possible tornado. After closer observance there was no signs of rotation with this "sheriffnado". I then headed south out of Earth and made my way just to the east of Sedan on ranch 1055 and actually heard the sirens going off in Sedan. No visual on a tornado but the wall cloud was definitely rotating. Followed this storm to Littlefield where I saw a few brief spin-ups and ended the chase in Lubbock with my friend Dan Skoff and his wife.

Wall cloud trying to get organized NE of Hereford

Better developed wall cloud NE of Hereford

Definitely thought this might be an actual tornado near Earth but it did not have any visual signs of rotation

Well developed wall cloud near Littlefield

Chasers and tour groups were everywhere today

Nice sunlit towers near Lubbock
Chased today from Tulia to Lubbock Texas area. I saw about the same as the pics in thsi thread show. Ill post pics on my site later. I belive looking at video now that there was a tornado near Anton as well as another just SW of Lubbock Near Wolforth area perhaps? I took some county rouds West of Lubbock and kinda ladder stepped between the wall cloud and the large hail. I did get some hail to golfballs but not much. Ill try to post vidcaps of the tornado but it was mainly a dust whirl but did extend upward to a rotating wall clud and lowering with a bit of a funnel. Should look good in timelapse if Its not too shakey.
The tornado near Anton should be on a tripod.
Anyways I also have all the follwoing and or am working on the following
Finally have photos up from this chase day. Chased with Robert Sternadel. We stayed mostly on the first Chitaque Turkey Texas area Supercell so we didnt risk the large hail that nailed someother chasers windshileds. Didnt want to risk being out of chasing the next day which would actually be even better than this chase! Who would have thought. It was the best chase up tll this point but the next day on Friday the 13th would bring the massive supercell near Benjamin Texas along with a nice cone tornado.
Ill be adding the vidcaps later of this storm to this page as well and perhaps some time lapse of some of the great wall clouds these cells would bring.
Ill also be adding pics and vidcaps from 5/13/05 (Benjamin Texas Supercell and Tornado) and 5/31/05 (Plainview/Lubbock Texas Supercells and weak Tornadoes) on its own page.
Pics from the following are also up
2/22/05 Wichita Falls Texas Half-Dollar size hail
3/21/05 Whitewright Texas Supercell
4/10/05 Norman Oklahoma Supercell
4/25/04 Bonham/Gainesville Texas Supercell
5/7/05 Turkey Texas non-sever Bust storm
5/8/05 Holiday/Wichita Falls/Bowie Texas storms
Also will add 5/10/05 Clarendon Texas Odd funnel Tornadic Supercell to its own page.
Will also have pics of Lightning from 5/24/05 from Wichita Falls Texas and Hail Pics from 5/25/05 from Electra Texas by Mark Papak as well as Gustfront pics on my site from the same day. Mark Papaks site can be .found at http://www.fireinthesky.freeservers.com
And finally ill also add a few shots taken of the 5/13/05 Benjamin Texas Supercell Taken by Michael Litteken.
While this hasnt been a real active season for North Texas and Oklahoma still have ALOT of video to edit and do time lapse of etc.
Once the Time lapse of some of these storms is done it should be pretty impressive.
I may work on the site this weekend if Im not tempted to go to Kansas or Nebraska.
chased by Jason Brock
Nowcasted by Jeff Papak
Contrastnadoes and maybenadoes......3?
Largest hail: Golfballs
Highest winds: 63 mph (measured on Kestrel 3000)
Flooding also observed
Same as everyone else except I guess we were repositioning east during the Amherst tornadoes. Anyone have an exact time on that? Also, where were you looking from? I was east of Littlefield looking west during the time of the reported tornado near Amherst, but we were driving east for a portion of that time frame. I must have seen a dozen RFD-type spin up thingys during that time, but I guess we had our backs to the real tornado because I don't see anything like that on my video......and there is a five-minute gap in my video as we're moving east. Thought I had a weak tornado around 6:47pm, just west of 385 and a few miles north of Littlefield, but I've reviewed the video and it looks quite gustnadoish. Good rotation in the whirl and it was under rotation, but it moves rapidly southeast. I'm pretty disappointed that I turned my back for that 3-minute period (the only time I looked away all day it seems) and missed the tornado(es) everyone else saw.

If any of you could let me know the time and YOUR location during the tornado, I'd appreciate it. Maybe one of the several dust kickups I saw was actually a tornado. Storm was awesome to look at, but its constant struggle against LL outflow made it less-than-spectacular IMO. It had that tornado look just southwest of Springlake for about five minutes, then swtiched into "this storm doesn't want to produce a tornado" mode. I was satisified with today's chase until just a while ago reviewing video. I'm not 100% convinced it's a tornado, and that nullifies what had been a good chase. Being a tornado chaser sucks sometimes :wink:

And the best part was it was nowhere near home, once again. There's chasers on vacation who've driven less than me this year.
This report isn't for Texas, but North Central Oklahoma. Went out about 5:30 amid intense rain associated with a non-severe squall line moving slowly behind a cold front. Though it was mostly heavy rain and wind gusts to about 40, there were embedded cells that would briefly go to severe levels and then drop back down within a few minutes. I did observe a well defined non-rotating wall cloud south of Fairfax, OK that lasted several minutes before being blown out by the rain behind it. I also observed a lowered area north of Hominy, OK with a few minutes of fairly intense rotation. Of course this was all blown out by the rain curtain immediately behind the embedded cell. To the south of Hominy, I also observed yet another well defined wall cloud, but was too far away to intercept or see rotation. There were reports from Troop K of 45 mph to 60 mph gusts and trees down along with a few power outages along US 412 south of Pawnee in the same area I was observing from the north.

The entire line was weakening as it entered the Tulsa Metro area and I elected NOT to follow. It was rather interesting to watch cells develop along the preceding outflow of the MCS and then get swallowed by the MCS as it rolled eastward. Temperature drop averaged 15 degrees in a few minutes as the MCS approached.

Not much of a chase, but still a chase none the less.
Here is the Stormgasm chase account:

I was hugging very close to the meso on the Hereford supercell for most
of its super cellular life-span and I did not see a tornado at the time
specified in the report. The best tornado chances for that particular
supercell were near Hereford and to its southeast a position
approximately 10miles north of Nazareth, or according to the report “10miles northeast of Dimmitâ€, but no tornado was observed. By that time there was incredible mid-level/low-level rotation, but not in the “very low levels†at least concerning the possibility of a tornado vortex stretching from cloud base to ground. This was very evident by the strong and very cold outflow felt anywhere near the meso, which should be very warm moist inflow especially in the inflow notch in very close proximity to the wall cloud. I saw lots of “tornado†look-a-likes; gustnadoes under moderate low-level outflow-dominant meso rotation , large areas of dust kicked up by strong outflow from the RFD, FFD, or a combination of both, but never did I see persistent RAPID rotation at the cloud base, let alone rapid rotation at both the cloud base and the surface.

I then jumped on the “Oklahoma Lane/Earth/Amherst/Anton/Wolfforth, TX†supercell. A very similar situation with this supercell, but with a
few differences; this storm was riding a NW to SE orientated outflow
boundary, which was moving at a rather rapid pace in a southward
direction, the supercell rode this boundary in a SE/SSE fashion, but it “riding†or in more proper terminology “rooting itself within the boundary layer and propagating along the outflow boundary†did not really occur, and this seems to be verified according to two successful
chasers/meteorology grad students, studying for their PHD respectively, who did a superb job now casting for me yesterday; they analyzed the radar in combination with my visual and determined the struggle between the supercell and the outflow boundary.

The outflow boundary was driving the supercell southeastward, but it
was “almost†constantly undercutting the meso, which was easily
discernable by the very cold outflow anywhere in close proximity to the wall cloud.

The reported tornado near Amherst was clearly a gustnado, which I had
clear visual, and I was within 100-200 meters of the “Anton tornado
reportâ€, which was clearly a gustnado. I saw weak rotation at cloud base
above a gustnado driven by outflow at the surface, and if it that was
actually a tornado then it was a gustnado look-alike, and throughout
“chasing history“ tornadoes usually don‘t imitate gustnadoes, but vise
versa, but the meso was clearly undercut by cold outflow at that particular
time in the vicinity of the tornado report, which was detected by my
body when shivering began before the formation of this feature. I also
was in very close proximity to the SW Lubbock area in the town of
Wolfforth, and I saw many gustnadoes and dirt kicked up by outflow, but no tornadoes.

NOTE: I want to see a tornado as bad as everyone else, but there has
been a disturbing number of gustnadoes or just plain dirt kicked up by
FFD outflow or RFD outflow reported as tornadoes this year. I have been
in close proximity to quite of few of these “brief spin-upsâ€/gustnadoes
in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas (quite a few days in TX) this
year and many cases have been very classic gustnadoes. Also, if I see
a funnel halfway to the ground in the distance or even nearby, but for
some reason my view of the ground is blocked I do not assume a tornado
is on the ground, because it must be verified by visible debris or
damage after the fact, because there are many occurrences every year of funnel clouds that do not have associated tornado wind speeds at the
earth‘s surface, so it is completely possible to have a large funnel hanging
down and it not be a tornado. This year has been very slow with
regards to the number of tornadoes, but I believe that number is much
lower than the number of reports due to many false reports.

Simon Brewer
Originally posted by Jim Bishop
Also, if I see
a funnel halfway to the ground in the distance or even nearby, but for
some reason my view of the ground is blocked I do not assume a tornado
is on the ground, because it must be verified by visible debris or
damage after the fact, because there are many occurrences every year of funnel clouds that do not have associated tornado wind speeds at the
earth‘s surface, so it is completely possible to have a large funnel hanging
down and it not be a tornado. This year has been very slow with
regards to the number of tornadoes, but I believe that number is much
lower than the number of reports due to many false reports.

Simon Brewer

Here's what I do Simon. I judge for myself whether or not a funnel is a tornado, and then I simply don't report it. With all the complaining in recent years about "skewed data" I did the books a favor and just stopped reporting what I see. I feel it's better to just keep quiet than make a report and start a debate over something I'm already convinced I'm right about. I won't go into my personal methods about judging when a funnel is on the ground or not (minus debris whirl), but I have molded a system over the years that works for me and I don't need a debris cloud for verification in every instance. Who cares what everyone's opinion is about what they see? I record events as I see fit, personally, and that is that. I don't need anyone else to believe something's a tornado if I'm convinced myself. I'm not being crass or angry here, just explaining my method. IMO, the best way to stop the debates about false reporting and skewed data is to simply stop sharing it with one another. Let the people who get paid to do so record the events "officially" as they see fit....after that, no one else's opinion really matters outside of their own.

Or we can keep sharing reports and data and have this thread appear a dozen times each Spring.
One of the things I've noticed about myself and a few other chasers is the tendency to believe that something probably didn't happen if I didn't see it. The other night in Colorado, one chaser was facing the wrong direction when the Pritchett tornado came down and he didn't see it. But it was there.

On the 31st, there was a definite gustnado well north of Amherst, and as I mentioned in my report a very long-lived and vigorous one at that. This was preceded and then followed by other outflow-driven dust swirls.

There was also a circulation that was clearly NOT outflow driven. I have no idea if this was a "tornado" or not, and I don't have an iota of interest in debating it because the word "tornado" is completely disfunctional in the chasing community. The meaning of the word has splintered because everybody has a different definition. Semiotics tells us that this is beginning of the end of a particular linguistic sign's usefulness. So the debate can rage, but it's a waste of time. Better to get up bright and early and start your analysis for tomorrow. Maybe we can get one of these things to condense to the ground and we won't have to ponder.

Robert Sternadel asked me to post this link:
This is a link to a photo of a tornado near the Flomott Texas area from 5/31/05. Not sure there are any other photos of this tornado but if anyone else saw this I would be interested to know.
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