Friday, May 14, 2010

5/14 - 11:30pm CDT - Heading Back to Amarillo

We're on the road to Amarillo, TX right now so that our current tour guests can fly out in the morning and our new guests can arrive for Tour 3. It's been a great week out here in the Plains, and we're just getting started! We'll be chasing again on Sunday, most likely in Texas again like today and yesterday. There aren't any big severe weather outbreaks on the radar for this week, but we'll see what we can turn up!

Today's chase was very interesting to say the least. Supercells got going near Kermit (the Frog?), Texas just after the noon hour. This early firing caused by a weak atmospheric cap nearly depleted tornado chances because the environment became cluttered with cells very quickly and the maximum heating of the day had not occurred yet. We tried to intercept a very strong cell that formed close to us, but road options were terrible and we could not make it to the updraft base before it merged with adjacent cells. This supercell did produce a brief tornado according to chaser reports and photos that were sent in to local media. Another supercell then formed to the southwest in the warmer air to the south of the cold front and that one showed quite a bit of promise for over an hour. Like the last cell though, it perished as cool outflow air from other storms corrupted it and caused it to merge with the squall line that had formed. VORTEX2 was on this second cell and we saw their vehicles all over the place. The TIV2 (Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 - IMAX film production crew) even zoomed by us as well.

Once all the storms joined into a linear complex, we punched north through it and headed for dinner in Odessa, TX. About half an hour after dinner on the way to Amarillo we saw a compact supercell on radar in the cool air behind the cold front. Intrigued by this strong little cell that was along our route, we pulled over to watch it. It dropped one inch diameter (quarter-sized) hail and did not have much rain at all. The sunset pictures of this cell were just gorgeous (see right) and we let the storm pass over us after parking under a gas station overhang. I think everyone is still trying to dry out after getting pelted with small hail and brief heavy rain as we stood outside to watch the storm pass.

I'll upload some video of each storm event as soon as we arrive in Amarillo and have it posted here.

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