Storm Chase 2000: May 25

Vega, Texas; roll cloud, linear storm

After checking data at the Kinkos in Norman, I decided to target around Childress, Texas. There was a front across SW Texas extending into Oklahoma and good moisture in the Texas Panhandle. Unfortunately, the better upper level winds were to the west and the whole area was under cloud cover. I headed west on Interstate 40 under an overcast and hazy sky. I planned to find a library that had internet access in Shamrock, Texas. While stopping at a gas station in Shamrock around 2:30PM, I ran into Jim Leonard and Charles Edwards of Cloud 9 Tours along with some chasers from a university group. I enjoyed seeing some old friends. Jim was very nice and allowed me to look at some weather data he was downloading onto his laptop. The cloud cover was more extensive than I thought with a question mark linear area of clearing extending around the panhandle. The jet was mainly west of Amarillo and there was already a MCS discussion for eastern New Mexico. My original target area was in an area of clearing but the upper level support was poor; no chance of rotating storms. I had to head to the west of Amarillo and then maybe south towards Clovis, New Mexico. By 5:25, I was going south on 60 toward Hereford, Texas. The sky was mostly cloudy with a darkening to the south and to the northwest. In Hereford, I grabbed a quick dinner of potato wedges and chicken strips and called Tim Vasquez for a radar report. There was a multicellular storm (the southern part of a line) west of Vega, Texas and some probable LP storms near Lubbock. The LP storms were too far away and I decided to concentrate on the tail end multicellular storm. I drove north on 385 toward Vega. A tornado watch was issued for the Texas Panhandle. By 6:30, the base of the storm was visible to the west. The storm, (1V) now with a severe thunderstorm warning, was heading northeast at 30 MPH. Road options were poor and I waited for the storm to approach. Eventually, a nice photogenic linear storm (2P)appeared. I ran into a couple members of the PSCA at 7:15PM while watching a roll cloud (3V) develop from the cold outflow. I watched this for awhile on 385 just north of Vega.
The storm (4V) passed, and I was hit with cold outflow winds. Because of a poor road network, I couldn't follow the storm and I headed south then east on I-40 toward Amarillo. I was concerned about the possibility of storms developing along an outflow boundry to my south but nothing was visible. I checked a local weathercast on my portable LCD television and there was nothing developing to my south. I think those radar images shown on the local television station were out of date. I decided to end the chase and head NE on 60 toward Pampa to get into position for the next day. Of course, I was too far away at 8:50PM when I heard a tornado warning was issued for a storm to my south near Hereford, Texas. I was just there a couple of hours earlier. I dodged storms into the night as I headed toward Kansas. I was unable to access data at this point and I wanted to get into position for the next day. I figured Dodge City, Kansas would be a good compromise. I would be able to easily go farther north or east yet not be too far north in case things changed by morning. Sleep came very easily when I finally found a hotel in Dodge City.

1V 2P 3V 4V

(P -- Photo) (V -- Video Still)

Next Page: May 26, 2000

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