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Chasers living on the extreme

Greg, what an excellent and amazing and highly confusing radar image. That explains to me why things were so hard to discern from our position, and why it appeared that there were strange things going on just west of where the tornado ended up being that further complicated an in-field assessment from the southern vantage point.

What software package is that in the image?
 
Originally posted by Kevin Walter
Greg, what an excellent and amazing and highly confusing radar image. That explains to me why things were so hard to discern from our position, and why it appeared that there were strange things going on just west of where the tornado ended up being that further complicated an in-field assessment from the southern vantage point.

What software package is that in the image?

I am wondering that same thing. I wouldn't mind giving that software package a try. Looks pretty good and I like the level of it.
 
I'll let Greg explain more if necessary, but the program is Weather Decision Support System-Integrated Information (WDSS-II). It is currently being developed at NSSL.
 
Originally posted by Greg Stumpf
You make the call...given an HP supercell, and the potential for very extreme hail (very high CAPEs and not too high melting levels), do you drive up into the \"notch\" to see the tornado with the best contrast, or stay south of the fat hook ball and risk some obscuration by precip. Add to that, limited-to-no escape routes out of the notch.

Did anyone have access to high-res radar imagery like this? Question, how did the storm look at the same time on low-res smoothed ThreatNet?

Again, remember, I was not there, so I don't know what the entire sky looked like.

I guess I just wasn't concerned about hail. I knew exactly what I was doing, I just wanted a cool shot of the tornado. We were driving south when the tornado developed about a mile WSW of us. To get south of it, we'd have had to drive five or so miles (to avoid tornado path and severe RFD). With the circus of chasers all around, no one was driving faster than 40mph or so. At that pace, we'd have wasted the entire torndo life driving - I'm not a fan of moving video if I can avoid it. So quite honestly, the reason I stayed north of the tornado was because we were already there, and I wanted video from a set location. We could've easily gone east where we eventually stopped, because the tornado stayed south of the road for the entire time we were close to it. Hindsight is 20/20. Next time I find myself in that position, I'll stay closer to the tornado's rearflank...we were perfectly safe there because there was no hail and minimal RFD windage. We only stopped when we saw the new tornado cyclone developing due east of us...but this eventually developed south and stayed south of the road.

I spent a few days analyzing it over and over in my head, searching for the "what went wrong" reason. Eventually I realized "sh*t happens."
 
Originally posted by Greg Stumpf
do you drive up into the \"notch\" to see the tornado with the best contrast, or stay south of the fat hook ball and risk some obscuration by precip.

Just to clarify, I don't know anyone that drove UP from the south. Everyone had been farthur north observing other wall clouds/ tornados to the west and southwest and were travelling DOWN toward the south when we were cut off by the new meso/tornado that jutted quickly eastward over the highway that had been previously a clear southern eascape route. I tried getting south immediately after the tornado crossed but was greeted by low hanging power lines over the highway that I was not going to test to see if they were still live. I saw others go through the grass on the east side of the highway and would be interested to know if they made it south and avoided the hail.

I haven't looked at a radar loop from the period, but I'd imagine there was nothing along the highway south to South Plains until the hook moved eastward, and that happened much more rapidly than the eastward storm motion that we were all keeping pace with.
 
Yes, I agree. I think if the "first" storm had not been there and the second storm had been a lone gunman, then alot more people would have been at South Plains or southward. That's what frightened us so much, we had left that tremendous hoard of chasers only 20 minutes before and then were watching this beast churn rapidly east to the location where we assumed they all still were.

On a completely different note, we went up to take a look at the damage path and ended up talking to a guy who lives in a house the tornado went right over (~1 mile NW of South Plains). He watched it engulf his house from Hwy 207, but still offered assistance to shaken-up chasers when he still didn't even know if he had a house. It was an honor to talk to that guy; the world needs more people like that.
 
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