Friday, April 13, 2007

2 day chase-cation. kind of.

Well. Randy Rhea and I drove 1152 miles this past 2 days. Road trips with Randy are always fun. However, for a high-risk, i feel kind of empty...

Thursday(slight-risk) we went out west with hopes of catching 1 or 2 very low-precipitation supercells. We got to Shamrock, TX in the panhandle, went south towards Childress. Watched and followed some BS multi-cluster storms. Saw a decent looking base with a "wall cloud." Weak upward motion. Not bad considering lack of moisture. As it got dark, lightning picked up, and we got excellent footage/pics. Watched lightning for an hour, then started our 3 hour drive to Decatur to set up for the high risk Friday.

Friday morning we decided to play the dryline/TriplePoint. There were storms firing early out west toward Wichita Falls. I was absolutely sure that this wouldnt be the main show. Tony Laubach and his crew caught an elusive wedge around Seymour, TX. that storm went to crap shortly after as the storms went linear. the center section of the line started to grow ahead. The cell moving through Ft. Worth looked very interesting. I have seen many embedded "supercells" but this one was different. It had propagated out ahead of the line enough to develop a hook. So we drove 75 miles through the north suburbs of DFW to get ahead of this one cell. Sat and waited for it to cross whatever lake is just east of Rockwall. watched it come in, dropped south ahead of the cell, found a clearing, saw what appeared to be a rain-wrapped wallcloud. Saw 2 or 3 powerflashes under it. i reported it to NWS. We're calling it a tornado since i found some reports of tornado damage in that area. the DFW local weather office sucks at doing reports so I'm not even going to try and find it. Got East to a gas station to let it pass over. Got hailed on. I was interviewed by tyler texas' nbc station. link:

so. 1152 miles, for some lightning pictures, a possible rain-wrapped tornado, and some hard to swallow lessons.

1. Go with your gut. This means if you think you should be setting up west of the risk area, do it. We missed out on a 1/4 mile wide wedge tornado. We would have been there had we stayed the night in Wichita Falls.
2. Even professional severe storm meteorologists can and will be wrong. For some reason, there was a high risk issued. All the upper-air dynamics were there for a huge tornado outbreak. the shear profiles were more than favorable for large and violent tornadoes. long-track violent tornadoes. But for some reason it all went to hell.
3. Never chase in a metroplex area. With larger populations come larger population of idiots on the road.
4. Leave early. Always leave early. A lot of things can go wrong. Especially when you're depending on wifi.

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