Tag Archives | Texas

May 30th West Texas Supercells

May 30th brought an interesting chase. A sharp dryline and an outflow boundary would intersect over west Texas and provide the focal point for severe weather. Storms formed at the triple point but could not sustain themselves for very long as they moved out into more stable air. We ended up dropping south from Morton, Texas to Denver City, Texas as one storm formed, hooked hard and tried to produce. In the end the only storm that produced was near Midland, Texas as it dropped two substantial tornadoes. Our storms looked good, but due to a bit higher cloud bases, they could not get a circulation down to the ground. Overall a fun day but a bit frustrating as we were so close but not close enough with our storms.

May 28th Morton, Texas Supercell with HUGE hail

May 28th set up had a dryline in west Texas, with strong southeast winds bringing modest moisture westward. Moderate CAPE developed as well and storms formed mid afternoon along the dryline. Storms pulsed quite a bit, and due to straight hodographs, storms split and many mergers occurred. Eventually a supercell developed, anchored near Morton. Structure became better, but due to modest moisture, the cloud base was too high to produce tornadoes. As it moved east it encountered a boundary and spun nicely. After several cycles, it produced 5 inch diameter hail west of Lubbock! We blew it off as it weakened and played further south with a supercell that had softball sized hail. The tornado threat this day was quite low due to high bases, but with strong shear in place and low freezing levels, storms were prolific hail producers.

May 4th Davis Mountains Tornadic Supercell

Even though May 4th was the last day of the tour, we could not pass up the chance to chase the set up this day. Upslope flow, good moisture and instability, along with good shear provided the needed ingredients for supercells and potential tornadoes this day. We knew storms would start out high based, but their bases would lower as they moved east off the mountains into the lower lands where better moisture resided. That is exactly what happened. A cluster of storms formed, of which the tail end cell took over and became dominant. A quick spinup occurred as low level rotation cranked up under the updraft We had to vacate our position due to huge hail falling and drove east of Ft Stockton to a south bound road that would be give a view. The only issue is there just aren’t many roads in this part of Texas.  As we drove south, rotation increased as the supercell dropped a rather large cone. It became rain wrapped after a few minutes so we continued southward to where the road put us directly in front of the supercell. Soon cgs started raining down from the updraft and rotation became focused. Several tornadoes formed and rotated around the wall cloud. It was quite the sight!!! After becoming strongly HP, we blew it off since we had a 600 mile drive back to Oklahoma City that night. 3 am arrival, but everyone was stoked due to the excellent day we had! Enjoy the pics!

 

May 3rd Southwest Texas Tornadic Supercells

May 3rd kept us in southwest Texas near San Angelo and vicinity. Strong instability, good moisture, high CAPE ad decent shear would set the stage for several supercells. A tornado occurred near Silver, Texas early on as we tried to get over to the supercell. Due to one lane roads and closed roads, we could not make it in time, so we dropped south towards San Angelo and played another supercell that had formed and anchored on a boundary east of Town. It had a very pronounced clears slot with rapid rotation in the mesocyclone, and dropped a quick brief dusty tornado.  As we pushed east near Eola and watched couple brief landspout tornadoes. RFD was wrapping hard to our north and we decided to explore it. A big bowl formed with tons of blowing dirt, and eventually a brief tornado occurred. Soon numerous storms exploded and things became messy and outflow dominant. At this time, we decided to get away from the mess and call it a day. Fun day, a bit frustrating due to closed roads, etc, but another day with supercells and tornadoes is always a good day! Enjoy the pics!

 

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.

April 23rd Sweetwater, Texas High Based Supercell

April 23rd promised some decent severe weather opportunities. However due to lack of good moisture, storms were high based. We intercepted one storm northwest of Sweetwater and stayed with it all the way south of Abilene where it gusted out. Structure was pretty and the hail up to golfball sized. It was also a pretty decent lightning producer. As it reached maturity and started weakening an haboob developed spewing red dirt all over. Winds were gusting over 70mph. All in all a decent day for the ingredients available to produce intense storms. Enjoy the pics!

 

June 13th Texas Panhandle Tornado Warned Supercell

June 13th took us to the northern Texas Panhandle for supercells. By mid afternoon, storms for along the TX/OK panhandle border area near Boise City, OK. These storms moved slowly southeast and became supercells. Hail and high winds were the common theme with these storms, then southwest of Guymon, OK one became tornado warned. It didn’t produce but certainly tried as a funnel descended halfway to the ground. Never could confirm if it touched down or not. As the storm moved further southeast towards Stratford it did produce a small cone for a couple minutes. We were blocked by the police from getting close, so we had to drop south and east to get ahead of it. It was constantly tornado warned but had that outflow dominant look to it. We eventually stayed ahead of it to McLean, Texas and let it pass overhead. It produced giant hail 5 inches in diameter, and you’ll see in the pics just how huge it was! Fun day, but wow there were some fake tornado reports!

June 12th Brady, Texas Tornado Warned Supercell

July 12th featured extreme instability and great shear, however a very strong capping inversion would be the main issue to overcome. An outflow boundary from previous nights storms lay east/west near Brady, Texas. Towers kept trying to initiate along the boundary late afternoon with no success. Finally a cluster of updrafts formed along the surface triple point and a supercell was born. This storm spun hard, and had a great hook on radar. Visually you could see the rotation and the storm became incredibly electrified! West of Brady it became tornado warned. It never had a serious tornado threat due to weak low level rotation, but nonetheless it was quite pretty. It slowly drifted east and eventually weakened as a second storm formed and also became supercellular. As the sun set, the colors cast from the supercell updraft were absolutely gorgeous! Enjoy the pics!

June 11th Raton Mesa, CO Tornado Warned Supercell

May 11th had a lot going for it. Good upslope flow into the Raton Mesa, decent moisture and instability and great wind shear would set the stage for supercells this day. Storms formed early afternoon and became tornado warned. We blasted west from the Oklahoma panhandle into the mesa in time to watch a supercell get very interesting. Couldn’t confirm any tornadic activity, but it certainly looked like it had potential. This storm also produced baseball sized hail and high winds. It was a treat to photograph and watch spin across the mesa into the Oklahoma/Texas panhandle. Fun day for all the guests who witnessed this beauty! Enjoy the pics!

June 7th Marathon, Texas Supercell

With a poor weather pattern forecast, we went to where the best combination of shear, moisture and instability were forecast, near the Davis Mountains of southwest Texas. Storms formed mid afternoon and intensified, with a supercell forming near Marathon, Texas and drifting southeast. It had good structure and was producing numerous cg strikes. As it moved towards Mexico, more storms formed west of town and also produced a lot of lightning. We encountered golfball sized hail and plenty of wind with the initial supercell!