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5/5/06 REPORTS: TX

Left LBB around 5pm, heading for Seminole. Got sidetracked by the excellent visual we were getting on the storm NW of Brownfield, and cut off to head for it's base soon before the TOR warning was issued. Heard reports of tornado on the ground, but it took us a few minutes to get close enough to see it. We were viewing it from probably 1-2 miles SE, and it must have been on the old occluded meso b/c it was WAY back in the RFD. Watched it for a few minutes until it was no longer visible. At that point the storm began gusting out and went to junk. Excellent structure and strong motion, though, prior to its death.

Got some timely nowcasting (thanks to Gordon May, TASC co-leader at A&M) and headed west out of Brownfield toward the Plains cell coming out of NM. About the time we got in sight of its base it went TOR warned. EXCELLENT structure with clear rain-free base, transitioning to what I've now decided is the 2nd best storm structure I've seen in my 6 year chase career (the best being the Borger/Skellytown beast late May 2002). Cell began to turn hard to the right and maintained its superb structure as it accelerated SE. We ran out of paved roads near Wellman, but it was no matter as the storm was gusting out over us. We called it a day, and made it back to LBB in time for the 10 o'clock news.

Can't wait to see what happened with the Seminole storm, we began hearing the spotter indicated TOR warnings as our Plains storm was preparing to gust out. I must say, it was nice to chase ON the Caprock, where cell coverage is good and weather radio is useful (unlike off the caprock in the rolling plains)...this is for those of us without Threatnet, of course who still rely on the ancient cell phone and HAM radio. I'll post some pics or video grabs if I have time later.

Thanks to Kirsten Orwig for nowcasting as well.


*EDIT*

Okay, here are a few crude video-grab stills:

Brownfield Storm Structure:
Brownfield%20Cell%20Structure.jpg


Brownfield Tornado:
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Plains Cell Structure 1:
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Plains Cell Structure 2 (my favorite):
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I was driving home (from LBB to NM) today, as I have to catch a plane in ABQ in the morning, and got to Ft Sumner NM early in the afternoon. I heard lightning on the radio, so I found a WiFi hotspot, and saw from radar that there was a storm to my SW.

I started to head S on Hwy 20, but then decided I would be better off catching the dirt road S from Yeso NM. I thought 20 was going to take me too far S....too far away from the meso. Bad decision. I didn't have a serious problem navigating the dirt road, even as I drove through torrential rain as I once again neared Hwy 20, since it was pretty rocky, but I had wasted crucial time.

By the time I got back to 20, the meso was almost on me. I tried to punch it, but the hail started getting too big, and I retreated.

After awhile, I was able to get around to the back side of the storm, and I found some 1.5" hailstones.

At this point, there was no way to get into a good position without driving all the way down to Roswell, then back up toward Clovis. I was unwilling to do that. (See previous about catching plane in the AM).

I got on US285 going N. A few miles up the road, there was a pickup truck lying on its side. Hmmmm... There were several police cars there, so I didn't stop, but I sure wonder how it got into that predicament.

I was really, really angry that I hadn't just driven down 20 in the first place, where I coulda been in the right position to see.....who knows? The NOW thread mentioned possible high bases today (in NM), but it was not. Not at all. Remember, the elevation there is about 4000-5000 feet.

Bob
 
CoD caught a tornado outside Patricia, TX (SSW of Lamesa) looking SSE into the backside of the meso.

Also destroyed both windshields in the chase vans due to some nice hail earlier in the day north of Seminole.

Several gustnados and one very low based meso that was so obscured in dust we couldn't see hardly anything but it was trying sooo hard.

Video and pics are being upload right now..will post an edit when they are completed.

EDIT #1
Blog updated:
http://www.allisonhouse.com/chasing/2006/CoD/day9/

EDIT #2:
Pictures updated...another hour for video
beast.jpg

Freakishly HUGE meso that nearly touched the ground. Sucking in dirt and sand from all over the place.

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Tornado outside Patricia looking SSE into the back of the meso

EDIT #3: First video is up
305Meg AVI *Warning..curse words
 
Day 1 of this years chase break, along with fellow chase partners Andrew Levine and Chris Chambers from Hawaii and Puerto Rico. A great way to start our trip!
Headed south from Pueblo late thursday, thinking LBB-Midland as a fri target. Got to Abernathy this afternoon, after driving all morning through fog and drizzle. Cleared the front and pondered whether to target cells firing on the front south of LBB, or splitting cell coming out of New Mexico via Hobbs. Decided to chase the western cell, which eventually became quite strong near Seminole. This is where we (and apparently many other chasers we saw) got our windshield taken out by tennis to baseball sized hail.
Storm got classic structure as we followed it to Patricia, where we saw the stove pipe tornado from the south (poor contrast). Ran into Dave G and Roger H and their excited crew. Absolutely gorgeous storm toward sunset with fantastic structure and color. Currently stopped in Colorado City; will have to deal with the windshiled today, hopefully in time for more fun this afternoon! :eek:
 
Left Big Spring and made it to Andrews about 3:30 or 4:00. Ran into Tony Laubach in Andrews and it was nice to finally meet him. We talked a few minutes and decided to head north towards the storms that were firing. Got to Seminole and saw a pretty good storm to the west with a nice wall cloud. I watched it for a few minutes but it weakened so I kept on heading north. Heard about the tor warned storm near Needmore and I tried to catch it but I saw the cell to the W of Brownfield and it looked really good. Saw a great meso with a wall cloud but never a tornado. Kept in front of it until it became outflow dominant south of Welch. This storm was another great catch for me today and this has probably been the best back to back 2 days of chasing ever for me even though I got a goose egg for twisters. The structure on these storms the last 2 days have just been phenominal and this is what storm chasing is all about...


WALL CLOUD WEST OF BROWNFIELD
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SAME STORM WEST OF UNION
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SAME STORM BECOMING VERY PHOTOGENIC WEST OF WELCH
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Bill Reid, Brian Morganti, and myself followed a beautiful supercell from near Hobbs, NM to near Patricia, TX witnessing the beginnings of the Patricia tornado before it became rain wrapped. The structure of the storm certainly out did the the tornado (at least what we saw of it). We may have also witnessed an anti-cyclonic tornado about 4 mi south of Patricia behind the RFD in the place where you would get anti-cyclonic rotation if it were to develop. Still waiting to hear if anyone else witnessed this. Here are a few stills from today...

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http://www.tornadofx.com/temp/050506_02.jpg
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http://www.tornadofx.com/temp/050506_05.jpg
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Dean, Steve, and I staged just north of Odessa waiting for initiation. When radar showed development near Carlsbad we started north to Andrews, then west to Eunice as other cells blew up just northwest of Hobbs. As we traveled nature chose the Hobbs cell as the winner.

We end-arounded Hobbs on county roads to get to US180 east to Seminole, concerned that Hobbs would close off by any rightward storm movement. Then followed an hour or so of watch-skip east-watch just southeast of the main updraft as the storm consolidated, becoming a half-county sized vacuum cleaner. Plumes of dust consolidated from all directions underneath the rapidly rotating, scud-filled meso, eventually into a wide, opaque dust column extending from ground to cloud base. The updraft was clearly winning with ample CAPE and only 2nd class shear. Hold that thought.

We passed this same way through Seminole. Just east of the town, Wx-worx started hinting that a bit more rightward storm movement meant the routine should become watch-skip east-skip east-skip east-"what was that white thing bouncing?"-thwack-thwack-Thwack-THWACK! This driver rapidly became unconvinced that the 5+ minutes old radar gave us clear passage and his wide eyes started scanning the roadside for shelter (while his mind started contemplating how he would phrase the rental car insurance claim). Just as his eyes observed an increasingly opaque vertical ice crusher on the road ahead, a house with a little corrugated-iron carport appeared like a gift from God. Just big enough for the car and some temporary standees.

What followed was a fifteen-minute barrage that entirely covered the ground with baseballs -- yes, big baseballs.... Dean Cosgrove iced the cooler with them. While I'm easily impressed, Dean called it far-and-away the most incredible hail experience he's ever witnessed. This wasn't your mother's fall of marbles and golfballs with some baseballs thrown in. This was a tree-stripping, tin-roof torturing, deafening hard rain of mostly baseballs smashing into golfballs as they pounded any hard surface. The video is both quite spectacular and -- well -- exceedingly noisy! :lol:

Needless to say the US180 route was now infeasible and there were no south options that fit my vehicle's parameters (or common sense, IMHO). We backtracked through Seminole and then south to Andrews to re-engage the storm along SR176. While not so up-close-and-personal, the route offered a breathtaking view of the whole rotating storm updraft and rain-free base with increasingly magic side-lighting from the lowering sun. From our vantage and time period we observed no tornados in this sector of the storm. Plenty of bowl-shaped spinning meso scud, but no ground contact.

Close isn't always best, at least to us, and we stopped at an abandoned, decrepit farmhouse. It became the backdrop for an hour-long sunset show and picture-taking session (which of course I didn't have my gear completely ready to take full advantage of :rolleyes: ). Dean's time-lapse video, however, is gorgeous.

Wow! Dunno about others, but today is why I do this.... Good night from Big Spring, Texas.

P. S. Ran into Eric and Amos at Denny's. They said they were on the Seminole-Patricia storm, too, although their windshield and body panels kind of gave it away in the parking lot ;) .
 
I ran nearly 500 miles bouncing around from storm to storm across the area reporting for the station. All of those miles were run withing 50 miles of my house. I saw just about every variety of severe weather today and I am exhausted.

I can tell you one thing, this storm chasing thing is NOT VERY MUCH FUN when a supercell with an intense hook is bearing down on your home and nothing you can do about it!!!! That happened not once but TWICE today!
 
Rolled out of Lubbock on 62/82 for a white knuckle core punch on Terry Co. #1. Was still swallowing my heart back down out of my throat when I noitced an intense cell forming to my west in Yoakum Co, incredible structure and infow, but I had a date with the now warned cell in Lynn Co. Wasted my time. Raced back west on 211, south down 385 to Brownfield at which point I noticed our friend in Yoakum was making it's E-SE turn. So SE I blazed on 137 to intercept, close encounter before our fair lady blew herself away. She tried. Seriously thought my big ole' truck was going to roll for a minute. Nearby telephone pole snapped at the climax of it all.

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left houston at about 7am and made it to colorado city around 5. intercepted large LP north of Sentinol at 6:30 ... witnessed a new messo form and it spit out two large tornadoes... 1st one larger than the second. had to run from it when the tornado came within a 1/4 mile...


pic soon to come.
 
Great to see all the weather ethusiasts in the Permian Basin. I have never seen so many chasers on the roads down here. I followed the storm from Seminole to Patricia. Saw a brief tornado in extreme southeastern Gaines county, lasted a few minutes and was not as impressive as the tornado that was spotted a few miles SW of Patricia minutes later. Had my back to the better tornado as I was trying to reposition, had I not been flying solo probably would had got some good video of it. Big thanks goes out to Darin Brunin for nowcasting all this week.
Here are a few picts
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CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE MAY 5, 2006 STORM CHASE LOG

Its 2:05am CDT (1:05am MDT), and in less than 4 hours will be 24 hours since I aoke up this morning. While I cannot say for certain what my mileage came out to be due to the fact I was chasing out of two vehicles over this chase, it must've ended up close to 900 which lead me here to Midland.

I left Denver this morning at about 5:30a and made great time and gas mileage into Amarillo where I filled up my 3/4 tank after over 400 miles of travel. I then continued south through Lubbock where I was aiming to make Midland. However, storms firing in New Mexico had me thinking heading that far south wasn't needed. I elected to turn west into Andrews where I met with Jason Boggs and shot the breeze with him til we elected to head north to Seminole to intercept the storm coming out of Hobbs.

What happened next is by far the most incredible chasing experience of my life to date. The storm was heading east/northeast at this point just north of the highway. When I got into town, I met with Amos M, Eric N, and Scott E and we headed west out of town. We elected then to get northwest of Seminole to get a closer view of the storm.

The storm suddenly made a violent and quick turn almost due southeast. Hail began to fall; marbles at first, then growing to quarters, then golfballs. Eric and Amos (in Amos's truck) headed back southeast into town while Scott E and I hung back. Things looked like they were lightening up a bit. All of a sudden, a few baseballs started coming down. We were going to head back in to town when we heard Eric and Amos over the radio advising us NOT to head south cause the hail was bigger.

We then elected to stay put; the stones weren't falling too furiously, so it looked as if the storm had wrapped itself around us and we were going to be spared. *Insert a long incorrect buzzer here* More stones began to fall, then hell rained upon us in the form of 3 and 4 inch diameter stones. My vehicle didn't stand a chance; the back windshield exploded as I was filming (camera away). I ironically enough had just began to say how thankful I was to get the damage waiver on the rental when the back windshield exploded.

We then tried to find cover as the back windshield continued to crash in. The sunroof never stood a chance and was beaten to a pulp as well. The windshield held its own, but soon became a shattered, spidery mess. Scott and I found shelter along side an aluminum building northwest of town and rode out the rest of the storm from there. His car suffered numerous big dents and a cracked windshield. I lost the back windshield, sunroof, and severely damaged front windshield.

We left my car at the police station and I jumped in with Scott for the remainder of the chase. We eventually intercepted the tornado southeast of Patricia, but were looking in toward the meso from the north and had poor contrast. None-the-less, it was the first tornado of the season for me.

We stayed with it for another hour before returning to Seminole to pick up my car and drove it back to Midland where we have crashed for the night.

Without a doubt, this was the most exciting chase I've had all year, and probably one of the top chases of my career to date. I'm a hail lover, and I got my money's worth out of today's storm. Unfortunately, I was caught off guard and paid the price (I got the damage waiver, so no worries). What an incredible storm!

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Low constrast tornado southeast of Patricia

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SMASH! Video still of a giant stone smashing my front windshield glass

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Baseball sized hail before the car got trashed. It got bigger than this!

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What was left of the back windshield after the storm finally moved on.

Video of hail retreat when windshield took its shots. Make sure sound is on for full effect.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE MAY 5, 2006 STORM CHASE LOG
 
I was unable to chase on this one due to work, but Walt headed out for the initial target of Midland, TX and I did the nowcasting. Posting these on his behalf. Walt picked up on the storm near Hobbs, NM and followed it until dark. Scored a tornado SE of Patricia and a nicely cracked windshield east of Seminole ;). Here follow a couple of pix:

Gene Thieszen
WXtreme Chase Team

Tornado at about 8:05 pm
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Tornado and Structure
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Cracked Windshield
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Departed Austin, TX at ~2:00 p.m. (CDT) for a solo chase. I arrived in Big Spring, TX around 7:30 with a big anvil visible to my NW. Got a quick radar grab at a wifi hotel, and saw two supercells, one near Seminole and another SE of the first that would produce the Patricia, TX tornado. The reflectivity field showed a curly-Q hook echo on the Patricia supercell, and a tornado warning was issued.

I drove NW from Big Spring on Hwy 87, and then cut West on road 828. I was too far north, and at a poor angle by this time. I could see part of the monster wall cloud, but precip obscured most of the view. I turned south on State Hwy 137.

I immediately began to get small hail. I raced south, and the hail got slightly larger as the Eastern edge of the core went over the road. I took a few small hail dings, but most of the hail was probaby quarter-sized or less. I am thankful I wasn't caught in the bigger stuff, and all my vehicle glass stayed in tact.

At 8:12, a tall rope tornado came into view to my immediate west. This is the same tornado Tyler, Tony L, and several others witnessed. I was still getting hail, and filmed as best I could out the side window while navigating the ice-covered road. The tornado was wrapping rain and hail northward towards my vehicle as I continued south out of its path and the hail. The tornado appeared to rope out about 90 seconds after I first saw it.

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After the tornado, I finally found a place to stop and filmed the incredible wall cloud as it drifted eastward. Drove all the way back to Austin, with a wonderful light show to keep me entertained.

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Chase distance: 730 miles
Time: 14 hours
Quarts of Oil consumed by Saturn: 1.5

TonyC
 
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Tornado southeast of Patricia, Texas ~0114z

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Tornado southwest of Patricia, Texas ~0104z

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More images on blog.

Eric Nguyen and I observed two and possibly three tornadoes Friday evening, the first several miles west of Patricia around 0045z, the second southwest of Patricia around 0102z, and the third southeast of Patricia at 0111z. The second tornado was a tapered funnel that became visible in a circular rain curtain that surrounded the entire meso and grew into a large cone. The third was a large, cigar shaped tornado with a tapered end that emerged when we were north-northeast of a new meso. This tornado spun gracefully over a field and roped out.

Our original target was Midland where we hoped the synoptic boundary and a dryline might combine to fire storms which could move along or south of the front. We shifted north when we realized the storm near Hobbs was on the intersection of our boundaries. We noticed the cu in our area were drying out and that our winds were becoming more southerly. We went to Andrews and then north to Seminole before closing on the large, well-structured supercell.

We chased the various iterations of this storm from east of Seminole in Gaines County to near Knott in Howard County. We tangled with extreme hail early in the day and as we followed behind the core were amazed by the fields full of baseballs. While we played in the hail trail, our storm became multicellular and elongated. We noticed a new meso to our southeast and a wall cloud emerging. We continued to try and flank the storm but its consistent south southeasterly motion and rapidly developing southern flank mesos effectively kept us in hail for hours. Poor road networks didn’t help. Still we never saw stones the size we encountered near Seminole. At last the storm split completely and the southern cell became a powerful supercell. Soon afterwards we observed the first tornado.

I’ll provide more detail later. Street Atlas 2006 crashed from a runtime error and I lost the GPS log file. As a result, our positioning will be estimated at best.
 
two tornadoes encountered n of big spring...

two tornadoes encountered n of big spring...
 
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