May 26th had incredible potential. An old outflow boundary over the northern Texas panhandle, along with a dryline extending through the Texas panhandle intersected the outflow boundary just northwest of Canadian. High CAPE, strong shear and deep moisture would all combine to produce a violent supercell that anchored itself near the town of Canadian. By mid afternoon the storm exploded and produce several tornadoes, including a couple that were strong. Two tornadoes came very close to hitting Canadian, but fortunately dissipated before entering town. One of the best events of this young 2015 chase season and one that will live in the memories of all tour guests for sure!
Very high moisture and instability, along with an outflow boundary would provide the focus for intense supercell development over northwest Texas May 26th. Storms erupted and quickly became intense and tornado warned. Although we witnessed one tornado, several funnels and great storm structure were observed. Storms had the tendency to become high precipitation quickly and thus a couple tornadoes occurred buried deep into the rain. They were extremely hard to see and very dangerous to get close to.
High CAPE, good shear and lift along a boundary would provide the focus for severe storm development on May 23rd. We arrived south of Lamar early afternoon as storms formed quickly, and became severe. An anchored supercell southwest of Lamar did everything it could to be the storm of the day (which is was). Constant new cell development on its flank resulted in the storm mode being messy. By mid afternoon, though, it managed to pull off the anchored spot and move northeast. The storm had incredible structure, HUGE hail and finally produced a weak tornado. Structure was the main thing this day and it certainly did not disappoint!
Day 1 for Photo Tour #1 and day 4 for the Prime Time tour took us to Colorado where highly sheared supercells formed by mid afternoon. One storm formed west of Limon and tracked generally along I-70 eastern for several hours. The storm had super LPish structure, but was never a threat to produce tornadoes due to lower instability. Nonetheless, it was a pretty sight to watch and was extremely photogenic. All in all, a successful chase day for everyone!
Day 1 of our Prime Time tour lived up to it’s name. A warm front/outflow boundary was situated over southern Oklahoma with an extremely moist and unstable airmass. CAPE values were in the 2500-3000 range with 50 knots off bulk shear. We sat near Wichita Falls, TX awaiting messy initiation, which did not disappoint! By mid afternoon tornadic storms formed just north of Wichita Falls and moved into southern Oklahoma. This storm became HP quickly and a rain wrapped tornado occurred. We decided to drop a bit south and play a tail end storm east of Wichita Falls which ended up being the Terral, OK storm. It spun wildly and was extremely electrified! Soon a wall cloud formed but wrapped in precip obscuring its view. We decided to drop south and sneak in behind the area of precip and were rewarded with 2 tornadoes, one of which nearly wedged. A fun day, a lot of work, but very high rewards!
An amazing day was to unfold across southern Oklahoma on May 16th. A dryline and outflow boundary intersection would become the favored point for intense supercell storm development by late afternoon. We cut east to get in front of the Elmer, OK storm and watched as the updraft started spinning wildly. Within a few minutes a very large tornado formed just southwest of town. This tornado would grow to enormous proportions and skirt the south side of town on its way towards Snyder. We were on the north side of the tornado as it moved northeast and had an amazing view! Soon, though the approaching tornado would require us to move eastward along its path and it continued to give us a fanastic view!
After the storm became messy, we dropped south to Walters, Oklahoma where a beautiful supercell, highly striated, would produce a cone tornado. It was a day nobody on tour will ever forget! To see and hear the raw power of a violent tornado is something to remember forever!
May 13th was a day that really didn’t look like it had much potential. A fairly poor combination of shallow moisture and weak shear should have resulted in little threat for tornadic storms. We decided to chase along a boundary that extended from east of Ft Stockton to east of Lubbock. Late afternoon several storms formed along the boundary, with an intense supercell near Blackwell, Texas. It quickly became tornado warned as it traveled northeast towards the Abilene area. The storm produced funnel clouds and had nice structure. It was also quite electrified as it churned across the countryside near dark. Great chase and a very nice surprise!
May 8th had significant severe weather potential. Several boundaries would come into play that would focus severe storms and tornado potential. We chose an outflow boundary that extended from near Lubbock eastward to north of Dallas. A supercell storm formed along the boundary and became quite intense. As it moved eastward along the boundary it produced a tornado just north of Throckmorton, Texas. It was on the ground for several minutes and became fairly significant as it eventually wrapped in rain.
A complicated scenario was unfolding this day. Chase well north along the warm front or play south on the nose of the dry punch. We chose the latter. By mid afternoon storms exploded freely in the warm sector and produced a few tornadoes. We intercepted one tornadic storm near Goddard, Kansas, followed by a beautiful supercell near Renfrow, Oklahoma. Fun and exciting day for everyone!
Tour 2 got a special treat this day. We spent the night in Big Spring, Texas and waited for the skies to clear behind a large complex of storms. It did by noon, and the outflow boundary/dryline triple point starting developing cumulus towers by early afternoon and an amazing supercell formed and produced a gorgeous tornado! It was on the ground for nearly 20 minutes while churning across the countryside.