Tuesday, April 2, 2013

NW Texas Storm Chase 04/01/2013

I (Gene) left home for a solo chase to the SE TX Panhandle/NW TX area at around 2:00 pm CDT.  My expectations were not all that high, since the tornado risk was low-end.  However, I expected some picturesque supercell action, and I was not disappointed.

While on the way to my target area near Childress,TX I noted some non-severe convection developing in the Turkey, TX area as well as a storm that exploded quickly on radar near Happy, TX, about an hour's drive to the W.  Given that the Happy storm was showing strong supercellular structure by the time I arrived on target at 3:45 CDT, I briefly considered heading toward it, but then elected to remain in the Childress area when the storm to the NW began to organize went severe.  (Obviously, I kicked myself later, since it is possible I might have made it to the Silverton area in time to see the "Caprock Magic" tornado.)

After briefly viewing the approaching storm from a position NW of Childress, I traveled through town and set up along US 287 a couple of miles ESE and waited for the storm to come to me, which took a while since it was moving at only 10-15 mph initially.

As it neared, a large, lowered area came into view through the rain.  This feature was reported by another chaser as strongly rotating. Thinking back, it was probably at this point that the storm's tornadic potential was the greatest.

View to the W from ESE of Childress along US 287 at 4:56 CDT:

The rain eventually engulfed the updraft base and I moved on down the road a few miles as the storm began to re-organize a new inflow area, although the bases were quite a bit higher this time around.

View to the WSW from about 6-7 m ESE of Childress at 5:16 CDT:

As rotating rain-curtains appeared under the updraft base, a small funnel was briefly visible in the rather high-based wall cloud.  The inflow area, however, was quickly undercut by cold outflow.

Same position.  Small funnel at 5:20 CDT:

As this feature was undercut by storm outflow, I moved down the road and set up at various positions just beyond the town of Quanah.  With each re-organization, the cloud bases seem to retreat higher and each attempt was undercut rather quickly.  Although the tornado threat had faded almost completely, the storm put on quite a show in terms of beauty, so I was not disappointed by any means.

View from ESE of Quanah at 5:53 CDT:

As the storm neared Chillicothe, it was obviously weakening and getting increasingly disorganized, so I elected to head for the supercell that was approaching the Crowell area from the WNW.  Eventually reaching Crowell, I headed S toward Truscott and Benjamin on SR 6.  At a couple of points the visibility on the road was near zero because the storm was ingesting so much dust.  Nearing Truscott and shortly before the storm began to gust out, I observed a wall-cloudish feature to the W with an incredibly long inflow tail.  Radar indicated some rotation with this feature.

View to the W near Truscott at 7:17 CDT:

As the storm gusted out there were several decent gustnadoes.  These were not easy to photograph as the light was rather low.  The storm was also incredibly electrified, which is visible in the video of the gustnado 

Two views of a well-developed gustnado N of Benjamin at 7:29 CDT:

Passing through Benjamin and heading E toward Seymour, I paused for a couple more views of the storm and then called the chase and returned home.

for the WXtreme Chase Team

Chase Data:
Solo Chase by Eugene Thieszen
Miles: 435
Tornadoes: 0

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