Tag Archives | Texas

May 7th Texas Tornado Warned Supercells

May 7th was advertised to be a strong tornado threat. In the end of the day, there really weren’t many tornadoes and none that were strong/violent. Too many storms would form and create a competition where none were able to be long lived tornado producing machines. We were able to chase 3 significant supercells, one near Stinnett, Texas, one near Amarillo and another near Tulia, Texas. The Tulia storm was the only one that produced, and even that was not significant. We arrived near Tulia a few minutes too late to see a weak bowl with a couple condensation fingers and also another small tornado. As we arrived, video caught a tornado in the distance about 10 miles away. The storm was high precipitation and very messy. We stayed with it as long as we could, however the caprock escarpment has few roads off of it and it made it impossible to stay with the storm. Later in the evening we chased 2 other tornado warned supercells in southwest Oklahoma near Hobart and Vinson. Fun day, a bit frustrating, but we still had several tornado warned storms to chase!

May 4th Adrian, Texas Tornado

A fantastic day and great way to end the Caprock Magic tour this day! High based LP supercells formed west of Channing and Adrian, Texas this day amidst modest moisture and instability. Great wind shear allowed these cells to spin, enhancing hail production and longevity.  We watched one supercell west of Channing try hard to stay alive, but it just didn’t have the needed instability to survive long. We dropped down to I-40 west of Amarillo and headed towards a cluster of storms near Adrian. When we arrive it was apparent that one cell was anchored, enhancing its ability to rotate. As another cell approached from the west, the downdraft from that cell hit the anchored storm causing the low levels to rotate strongly. A white funnel formed and touched down for about 3 minutes before dissipating. The storm eventually became a very pretty high precipitation storm as it moved south of Amarillo. What a great day and an amazing event that caused our supercell to produce a tornado. Enjoy the photos!

May 1st Seymour, Texas Tornadoes

May 1st was a great setup. An outflow boundary lay in northern Texas with 70 degree dewpoints to its south. High CAPE, strong shear and lift along the boundary would cause several tornado warned supercells to form. However, only one would produce any tornadoes. We sat in Seymour for a couple hours waiting for initiation to occur at the triple point just southwest of town. Soon, a storm developed and shot to 55,000 feet in height. We blasted south through intense rain and lightning only to be greeted by the first tornado about 7 miles to our west. Poor road networks prevented us from getting close to this beauty! It lasted about 10 minutes and dissipated. Not long afterwards, a new meso formed to the east and started rotating intensely. A multivortex tornado touched down and lifted several times before a slender cone tornado formed. It bounced around the ground for a few minutes before lifting. We were about 1 mile from it when it occurred! You could hear the waterfall sound of the rear flank downdraft winds as it crossed to highway just north of us. Eventually the storm weakened as we blasted west to another tornado warned supercell. This storm became high precipitation quickly, but it tried hard to drop another tornado to our north. I cannot confirm if it did or not based on our position, but it spun wildly. Enjoy the photos!

April 30th Red River Area Tornadic Supercell

A day of big hopes was April 30th. Great moisture, high CAPE and strong deep layer shear would set the stage for supercell development. We started the day in Wichita Falls, Texas only to move across the Red River into southern Oklahoma. It appeared that storms would form along a cold front and intensify as they crossed the river into Oklahoma. We played with a cell near Randlett, OK initially, which never did much. It was severe, but never looked like a threat to produce tornadoes. Eventually a couple of cells formed in front of the cold front and rapidly became severe. One storm near Byers, Texas dropped a significant tornado just across the Red River from us. We figured since the storm was moving northeast at 35 mph that we would stay on the Oklahoma side of the river (since there are FEW crossings!) and wait for the storm and tornado to approach. To our much surprise the tornado dissipated and the supercell died as it came to us! There was NO reason for the NEW supercell to abruptly diminish! However it did, but not before we were able to get some photos of the structure and of the tornado in the distance. It was only about 8 miles away when it’s demise occurred. Fun day, frustrating day, but we all enjoyed ourselves!

April 29th Kermit, TX Supercell

April 29th was a strange day.  Models initially like the area west of Midland, only to show no storms forming later in the day. A composite outflow boundary was moving steadily south and we were afraid it would push too far south and undercut any chance of a storm sustaining itself. Eventually however, large cumulus towers formed west of Odessa and turned into a pair of very pretty LP supercells. The structure was very nice and the lightning pretty. One thing to remember when you are in the desert is to watch out for reptiles as we encountered a young rattlesnake where we stopped. It was more afraid of us than we were of it. Pretty desert flowers dotted the countryside as this storm continued for several hours. A good result on a day that didn’t look great. We NEVER give up!!!!

April 22nd Seminole, Texas Tornado Warned Supercell

Triple point action would be the play this day as a moist southeast surface flow would advect decent moisture northwestward towards a surface low in southwest Texas. By late afternoon, decent CAPE, moisture, shear and lift would result in a few storms developing at the triple point south of Seminole. After an hour of pulsing, one storm intensified and right turned along the boundary, becoming a supercell and eventually becoming tornado warned. It spun had as a very low hanging wall cloud would form. It just couldn’t focus in one area very long before shearing apart and a different area started spinning. As we moved east along highway 180, it became continuously tornado warned, but just couldn’t focus enough to produce. A couple of high based funnels occurred, as well as hail golfball size. If low level flow would have been a bit stronger, it may have eventually produced a tornado. By early evening the storm weakened and dissipated as the sunset and stabilization occurred. Fun day for us all!

April 3rd Southwest Oklahoma Supercell

April 3rd took us to southwest Oklahoma to film a commercial for Chevy Silverado trucks. After 2 days of intense filming in Colorado, we took the film crew to southwest Oklahoma in search of a supercell storm. It did not disappoint! Late afternoon a storm formed southwest of Wellington, Texas and moved into southwest Oklahoma near Hollis as it intensified into a formidable supercell! Fantastic structure, hail the size of tennisballs and nice lightning greeted us and the film crew. We stayed with the storm till sunset south of Snyder and then let it go. The tv crew was astonished at the sight of the supercell and came away with fantastic footage to use in the commercial. It will air late spring first on CNN and then later on other channels.

 

 

May 13th Texas Panhandle Supercells

May 13th brought a good set up with strong convergence, good instability and moisture, but weak shear. This would result in high precipitation storms nearly anchoring across the Texas panhandle into south central Kansas. These storms would produce copious amounts of huge hail, high winds and especially flash flooding. Due to weak low level shear, they would not produce tornadoes. One particular supercell grew to a very large storm. A second storm was south of it and the inflow was so strong from the main supercell it pulled to southern storm into it and completely destroyed it! Crazy to see this happen! The large storm became a formidable high precipitation supercell as it slowly moved east towards the Oklahoma border. Lightning was also intense in many of the storms and we were treated to quite a light show as we drove back to Oklahoma City.

May 11th PyroSupercell in the Texas Panhandle

May 11th brought about one of the most unusual events we’ve ever witnessed! A massive grass fire in the Texas Panhandle southeast of Amarillo generated a pyrocumulus cloud. This cloud forms due to intense heat causing the air to rise and condense into a cumulus cloud. What we had never seen before was one of the pyrocumulus cloud grow to such enormous proportions that it was able to move away from it’s heat source and continue to grow, eventually turning into a supercell! Amazing! This storm would move all the way to the Oklahoma border before dying. It produced enormous amounts of cloud to ground lightning, which in turn sparked over a dozen new fires! It also produced hail the size of golfballs! Strange, beautiful and bizarre!!!!

April 29 and 30 Texas Panhandle Severe Storms

The end of April took us to the Texas panhandle for storms. The season has not even started yet due to persistent continental polar airmass intrusions, pushing surface moisture into the gulf of Mexico. Finally, we have a few days where moisture is returning, albeit slowly! With dew points in the 40s and 50s, storms during this two day period were high based, but marginally severe, producing large hail and high winds. Storms clustered along the dry line occasionally having supercellular appearances, however due to limited moisture, the tornado threat was zero. Enjoy the pics!