5/4/06 Reports: TX

Jul 13, 2004
Olathe, KS
Not much chatter about today in west and central Texas. Hopefully at least the COD folks saw some decent structure in their endeavors today. I had to work all day so no actual "chasing", but some severe cells fired near the TX/NM border on an old outflow boundary surging westward. I didn't expect them to last long, as CAPE in this mostly unmodified (due to the persistent presence of roll cloud streets all day) was probably very limited. A few of the cells managed to make it to severe levels, and actually looked quite nice until sunset. One storm near Levelland had a hard cumuliform tower, a nice laminar base, and several inflow notches at multiple levels as the sun sank below the horizon. I had the privilege of watching all this from 1 mile south of my house, and have included a link to a 1.5 hour time-lapse here.


www.webpages.ttu.edu/kevwalte, click on May 4, 2006
Yes. CoD had a very good day. 4" hail and some good structure.

David Drummond was on the storm and claims a rain wrapped tornado, but I'm not so sure ;) I could only see it using the 2" LCD on the digital so we'll have to wait until he's posted the pics.

Report coming shortly..but it's dinner time first.

EDIT: To add in report URL and image gallery. A quick video or two to be up tomorrow sometime.

Blog Entry: http://www.allisonhouse.com/chasing/2006/CoD/day8/

Gallery Images: http://www.allisonhouse.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=6627

EDIT: 2 videos posted of the following. Go to the Blog link above and scroll down


Indeed we did see a rain wrapped tornado just to the WNW of Mertzon, TX right at dark. There was just a little bit of ambient light and we were having a hard time making out anything with our eyes. We had been watching a well defined lowering just before that. An RFD clear slot rotated around it and appeared to wrap it completly up. The we could just make out something. I was shooting with infrared that actually picked out the tornado quite nicely.


We we last spoke with Tyler and the COD group, we had about a 10% doubt still when one of the guys in the group proclaimed full doubt and said it was nothing more than rain. So I went and reviewed the video. It came out REALLY WELL with the infrared, better than I thought it would, and the rotation is clear and evident. While the condensation funnel was not fully to the ground, it was better than 75% so I am calling it a tornado.

Here is just a little short clip.


Approaching the storm we had CLASSIC textbook Supercell structure:


Found some 2-3 inch hail behind the storm in the hail path early on:


and you guys should have looked around Mertzon a little more. We found a 5 inch stone in that, and that was after it had been on the ground more than an half an hour!


There was some damage obviously around town as well. We spoke with some people who had their roof punctured by the hail......came right on through the roof!

Several car windows broken out with huge dents, trees beat to hell, had a DPS car with big dents and the back window busted out. Lots of new roofs will be needed around that town!


Very fruitful day chasewise, and the 3rd straight day of decent chasing for us!

EDIT TO ADD a couple of pics my chaser parther Graham Butler took as well:



Making it short here. I'm at the holiday inn express in Big Spring. Was on the storm that went up SW of Seminole. Honestly, probably the best structure I have ever seen. I witnessed a flying saucer on this storm for about 2.5 to 3 hours! All I can say is wow! Here are a few photos...








hook about 20-30 minutes after last photo was taken
I spoke with Jeff Piotrowski last night and he chased (or was chased by at times) the tightly wound supercell that turned right and tracked from Sterling Co. across the Tom Green Co. "panhandle" and into Irion Co. Although he did not nab any 'naders, he did witness the fury of a 20+ min. punishing hailstorm which hammered the town of Mertzon in Irion Co. The hailbombs reached up to grapefruit sized; and Jeff said that when the nasty supercell reached town, he found shelter and watched the onslaught start off with no rain, just baseball sized hail :blink: Anyway, he was fortunate to survive this mean and green supercell with his windshield intact.
Bill Reid, Brian Morganti, myself, and the Tempest guests followed the massive Mertzon right mover from near Garden City (where we witnessed a brief landspout as the storm was still a TCu), to near Mertzon. We witnessed the exact same feature near dark, from apparantly a similar position as David and we are not convinced it was a rain-wrapped tornado. Unfortunately we may never know if it was or not, but we have doubts. It may very well have been a tornado, and I'm not discounting David's report. Regardless, the first two days of the tour have been fantastic for the guests.
Dean, Steve, and I followed the early main severe complex ESE-ward from San Angelo. We hoped the higher dews would overcome the weak winds and lower topography. Not quite -- although this (these) storm(s) had some structure and rather large hail, and were tor-warned on a few occasions.

This quasi-MCS did succeed in pushing out a raging outflow that we trailed back into SJT and which looked to be responsible for focusing the inflow and encouraging the right turn of the Merton storm at dark.

We almost got ourselves trapped for awhile on FR1311 from Hext north toward Brady as we diverted to scope out a promising trailing cell. Be warned that multiple washes cross this road. Our way was blocked to the north by water and we ran back south just before that would probably have been blocked as well.
I got on the storm at Seminole TX as it seemed a siggy tor was imminent. In 8 chase seasons, I honestly cannot say I've ever seen another meso that spun like this thing. It was surreal. Right after I took the second pic, I called my girlfriend, and told her what was happening. After being on the phone for about two minutes, I interrupted her in mid-sentence and said: "I gotta go!! Here comes the tornado!!! ...as a funnel descended about 1/4 of the way from the w/c to the ground, just right of the RFD, and I hung up on her. With that, however, the funnel dissipated, and that was the end of the tornado threat from this storm.

Here are some pics for your perusal.