Storm Chase 2000: May 26

Throckmorton, Texas: Funnel cloud, tornado, rotating wall cloud, chaser convergence

I started out in Dodge City, Kansas after chasing a severe thunderstorm the previous day near Amarillo, Texas (and missing the Hereford tornado). I had planned to position myself for a chase in Nebraska or Kansas. Unfortunately things had changed by the AM of May 26 and I'd probably have to go south. I went to Kinsley, Kansas and was able to check data at the library. I'd either have to go to eastern Kansas or down to southwestern Oklahoma. I decided to again target Childress, TX, and I blasted south. In Pratt, Kansas, I checked a fax from Tim Vasquez' Chase Hotline and it agreed with my target area, though a little northeast at Altus, OK. (The Pratt Library DOES NOT have internet access). I continued south and again checked data at a library in Seiling, OK. The OK Mesonet showed southwesterly winds throughout Oklahoma except the extreme southwestern part. I had to be in south or southeasterly winds. There was already Cu developing in my target area. I had to hurry. By the time I reached Clinton, Oklahoma, there was Cu overhead and to the southeast, obviously a boundary. To the west, it was clearing. I arrived in Altus, Oklahoma at 4:20 PM and some Cu to the southeast (1V) were showing vertical development. Now where to go? My original target was past the dryline. I wanted to check a satellite image at the community college but its library was closed. I called the Chase Hotline for a satellite report. There was some convergence of Cu in Haskell County, Texas and some to the east. The anvil I sighted to the west was "orphaned". I decided that there was better moisture to the south and headed to Haskell County. Storms could explode at any time. I went south and by 5:20 I could see a storm to the southwest. It was in southwestern Haskell County and moving northeast at 10 MPH. Soon, the Cu were vanishing except the quickly growing storm and spreading anvil. (2V) At 5:50, near Seymour, I could see two smaller storms left splitting (3V) from the main storm. I took 277 southeast, then 266 south out of Goree. At 6:28 PM, I observed some marble sized hail while on 222; at the edge of the storm. I wanted to get to the south and avoid core punching. I drove south, then east on 222. At 7:00PM, I stopped in Throckmorton, Texas and ran into Charles Edwards, Jim Leonard and R.J. Evans of Cloud 9 Tours. I had a quick dinner of an Alsups beef and bean burrito while waiting for R.J. to download a radar image. (Thanks R.J.!) There were several mesos inside the storm which was approaching the town. I went to the north of the town on 183/283 and watched. It was awesome with swirling clouds and striations. I chatted with some locals while filming. A nonrotating lowering (4V) appeared next to the rainshaft. Suddenly, the cows (5P)in a nearby field started running away. The last time I saw that happen was before a tornado. The storm became more organized and a ragged rotating lowering (6V) developed (7:20PM). A tornado warning came over the radio. When the rotating wall cloud (7V) was too close, I headed south and then east on 380 following the storm. There was a large chaser convergence with groups of chasers (8V) lining the road along with the Doppler On Wheels (DOW). As the storm (9V) moved east, everyone would move down the road and park again. Most were well behaved. At 7:35, there was a nice short fat
funnel cloud (10V) in the center of a rapidly rotating wall cloud. I drove a little farther and again stopped by the Cloud 9 folks. (11V) At 7:38, a spin-up tornado (12V)to the east crossed the road picking up some debris. It was under an area of rotation but no funnel extended to the ground. Then the storm lost its organization but was still beautiful. (13V) Another area of organization briefly formed at 7:44. There was another non-rotating wall cloud (14V) to the north at 8:11PM but it also vanished. Besides the storm, I watched a spectacular sunset, lightning and blowing dust. (15V) I continued to watch the storm, then went to Mineral Wells to spend the night. A very long but satisfying chase. My forecasting was good but obtaining data on the road can be very difficult without a laptop.

1V 2V 3V 4V 5P
6V 7V 8V 9V 10V
11V 12V 13V 14V 15V

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

Next Page: May 27, 2000

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