Tag Archives | May

May 2nd Hawley, Texas Violent Tornado

May 2nd featured a weak boundary in central Texas that would be the focus for storm development late in the day. Numerous storms formed along the boundary. Due to shear profiles, storm splits and mergers were evident. By mid to late afternoon a few storms formed along highway 277 north of Abilene, Texas. One split happened that passed in front of a right moving supercell near Anson and caused it to increase rotation rapidly. West of Anson a tornado touched down and was on the ground for a few minutes. As the old occluded mesocyclone weakened and dissipated, another one formed to the east/southeast of the first one. Soon rapid rotation occurred and eventually led to a small funnel. The funnel ascended and descended several times before it finally touched down northwest of Hawley. As the tornado firmly planted, a debris cloud formed. The tapered tornado widened into a text book drill press type tornado, with its strongest winds at ground level. The waterfall sound of the roar of the tornado was quite audible as it churned towards highway 277. Unfortunately it hit a couple houses, levelling them in its wake. The tornado then moved southeast and dissipated. All in all it was on the ground for over 20 minutes. The damage it causes was sporadic, but was rated high end EF3.

A great chase day, but with sad results due to the destruction the tornado caused. You NEVER want to see that happen anywhere. Fortunately the NWS in Abilene was able to give advanced warning to local residents, which resulted in no fatalities, but a few injuries did occur. Our thoughts and prayers to go to those families who were affected by this violent tornado.

May 1st North Central Kansas Tornadic Supercell

May 1st showed plenty of opportunity for severe storms, however the best tornado threat was in 2 different area, the Texas panhandle, and north central Kansas. Since we couldn’t make it to Texas in time, we chose the northern target. Moisture was limited and it was going to be close to get moisture this far north before storm initiation occurred. Storms formed rapidly later afternoon and intensified during the evening. 2 supercells emerged with the tail end storm eventually becoming the dominant cell. As it moved across north central Kansas in the evening it continued to intensify. It stayed along and just on the cool side of an old outflow boundary south of Interstate 70. Inflow was quite strong, and lighting frequent. At sunset, it ramped up in intensity and produced a couple of brief tornadoes under the front edge of the updraft as RFD surged around from the south side. Both tornadoes were weak and lasted only 2-4 minutes each. We eventually let is go as it continued to move north of the boundary since we had to be in Texas the next day. A fun day, with decent results, but had the supercell attached to the boundary it could have been quite a bit more tornadic. Enjoy the photos!

May 31st Roswell, New Mexico Incredible Supercell

May 31st had potential in the western Texas panhandle and southeastern New Mexico. Storms exploded in New Mexico, and a couple became tornado warned. Those clustered and moved into west Texas. A few hours later, more storms formed near Roswell. With good upslope flow, decent moisture and instability, they quickly became severe. One storm, on the southern end of a cluster, became a supercell. The structure was amazing and the electrification was phenomenal! We stayed with it till dark when it weakened and the lightning ceased. One of the prettiest LP supercells of the season to date! Enjoy the pics!

 

May 24th Eastern New Mexico Tornadic Supercell

What a day! May 24th looked great in the models, and in real time, it was amazing!! Violent supercell thunderstorms congealed into one monster that dropped from Tucumcari, New Mexico southward to Clovis over a several hour period. Insane lightning and incredible storm structure persisted its entire life cycle. It also produced a few tornadoes, of which we caught a couple of them. During the early evening hours, as the storm approached Clovis, the inflow into this supercell was over 60 mph! Just showed the power of this HP storm! As it moved into far west Texas at dusk, the structure was constantly illuminated by incredible lightning. One of the most powerful supercells of 2023 to date, and it was a sight to behold! Enjoy the pics!

May 23rd West Texas Supercells

May 23rd brought great wind shear, but marginal moisture. Several supercells formed along the TX/NM border east of Clovis, NM. One high based storm took on the classic spaceship appearance and was visibly rotating. A little nubby funnel formed and even touched down briefly (confirmed by the NWS). It was quite pretty and also produced a lot of lightning strikes. As it moved east it became less intense so we blasted to a boundary southeast of Plainview, TX. This storm tried to produce, but low level shear was just too weak. It had great structure as well and spun hard for a couple hours before weakening. A great day with the environment we had! Enjoy the pics!

May 22nd Texas Panhandle Supercells

May 22nd brought decent moisture, good instability, a Texas dryline and moderate shear. By early afternoon, cumulus towers were forming along the dryline from Amarillo south to Lubbock. A bulge in the dryline was evident around Tulia and that’s where we intercepted our first supercell. It only took about an hour for the storm to really get organized and quickly a small funnel cloud formed. It persisted for a couple minutes. A blocky wall cloud formed and started rotating. However, it was quickly undercut as a new cell formed to the southwest. As the storm weakened another supercell formed northwest of Lubbock. We headed south for that one as a ragged wall cloud formed. As the storm moved east, it encountered higher temperatures and lower dewpoints which caused the storm to become high based, thus lessoning the chance of it producing a tornado. It did produce a high based funnel near Crosbyton and also produced hail golfball sized. Soon after, it weakened coming off the caprock and the chase was ended.

May 19th Texas Panhandle Tornado Warned Supercell

May 18th featured a short wave trough moving into the Texas panhandle. It also had a dryline extending along I-27 south and north of Amarillo. Storms started forming mid afternoon along the dryline. Although they couldn’s sustain themselves and eventually died off, they did produce some severe weather. Late afternoon a cluster of storms formed northwest of Amarillo. Due to weaker wind shear, we hoped something would emerge from the cluster due to storm interactions. It certainly did! A supercell emerged west of Chunky, TX and drifted slowly east. It tried to produce a tornado a few times, and was tornado warned. It could never keep a rotation couplet tight enough to produce one. The storm produced baseball sized hail and had very pretty structure. Whenever you get that stack of plates look, you know it is a special storm! Moving very slowly east, it kept it’s intensity for several hours before finally decaying mid evening. A great day and a fun chase! Enjoy the pics!

May 13th Pleasantville, Iowa Tornadoes

May 13th showed significant moisture and instability along a warm front and outflow boundary from previous days’ convection. The boundaries met and formed a triple point southwest of Des Moines, Iowa. Storms fired very early by 1pm and became tornado warned. Nothing significant formed but we stayed with them. Several false reports of multivortex tornadoes occurred, which has been the case all spring. The old philosophy of if you aren’t sure it’s a tornado, it is not one should be taken by many storm chasers!  Numerous tornado warnings were issued, and the monster supercell spun like crazy. It eventually weakened as it moved east off the boundary. Another supercell formed southwest of Pleasantville and produce at least 3 tornadoes that we witnessed. A multivortex, an elephant trunk and then another multivortex that was less than a quarter mile from us! The motion was incredible right over the vans as this tornadic storm drifted northeast and produced. An overall exciting day that the guests loved! Enjoy the pics!!!!

May 12th Nebraska Tornadoes

A great set up on May 12th took us to an arching boundary across central and eastern Nebraska. Early day storms produced weak tornadoes over north central Nebraska, but since our target was further east, we decided to wait it out for what we hoped were more violent storms. The wait paid off and numerous storms formed, almost all tornado warned, from northwest of York to north of Lincoln. One particular storm became violently tornado near Scribner, NE as we watched it produced a large partially rain wrapped wedge, then another elephant trunk shaped tornado in front of it. The wedge was rated EF-2 and the elephant trunk EF-1 as they hit a few structures, but fortunately nobody was killed. It was a murky day with a lot of low level moisture in place so apologies for the murky looking photos! Enjoy!

May 11th Central Oklahoma Tornado Warned Supercells

Great potential on May 11th!! Good moisture and instability would occur, as well as lift along a dryline, would result in several tornado warned supercells and one that produced a couple of night time tornadoes near Noble, OK. We chased south of the OKC area early as a supercell formed. It eventually died off as it ingested dry air. However, north of that several storms went up and spun, becoming tornado warned. One storm took us towards Lindsay, OK and attempted to drop a tornado. The funnel came halfway down and receded. Structure was very pretty as the supercells became very well organized. In a weird ending, one of the first storms we chased dropped the tornadoes. This storm was in the middle of a line of supercells, which typically is unusual. Almost always chase the tail end storm that has no competition for air, but this was not the case today!  Enjoy the pics!