Near intersection of I-35 and FM 285

I chased with Jason Politte, Eric Nguyen, and Scott Blair today. We began around Hereford, nearby the intersection of two outflow boundaries. Towers went up rapdily around 21z and we took off for a small storm west of AMA. We caught this cell south of Interstate 40 and chased it nearly an hour as it developed increasingly lower wall clouds beneath a smooth, well-rounded updraft base. I'm not sure why this storm didn't produce a tornado, though it didn't seem to have much mid-level rotation while we chased it. I know this isn't a direct predictor of tornadogenesis, perhaps the opposite in fact, but outside the smallish size of the storm, I'm not sure what precluded a touchdown. The base was low enough, the storm was on the boundary, and with due east winds the 0-1k SRH should have been at least supportive. We noted weak surface flow, however, and that may have been the primary failure mode.

We heard NWR's report of the tornado north of Happy and took off for the southern storm. We caught this cell just east of the interstate on FM 285 (a famous road for those who remember the original Happy day) and observed several lowerings spin and updraft new condensation, coming lower and lower to the ground. At last, one meso tightened and produced a cone (I missed this but others confirm), which transitioned into a needle that I caught on video. In between, Scott Currens spotted an elephant trunk tornado, but in the distance! This tornado was spinning beneath an occluded meso, which on this day was what tornadoes waited for. Our next two tornadoes would descend from occluded updrafts which then stretched and spun. This includes tornado #3, shown below, which condensed and spun violently for several minutes, creating the power flash I grabbed from tape.

A pre-chase blog entry:

Posted 3:01 PM
I'm southwest of AMA at an intersection of two outflow boundaries. The intersection is highly visible on AMA radar right now and we like the developing instability and improving midlevel flow. This could be one of those quiet days that produces nicely, particularly after the bust for many chasers and the SPC alike on yesterday's tornado watch in the panhandle. There is the tendency to underhype setups the day after a disappointment just as many are inclined to overhype the day after an outbreak. It's sort of a subsident effect, for those who get geeky meteorological humor.

Anyway, I like the setup and my friends who've looked say tomorrow is also encouraging. We'll see how it plays out.


Cyclone Road