28 APRIL 2006: SNYDER / SWEETWATER, TEXAS AREA STORMS

 
I chased with Scott Eubanks and we saw a few semi-interesting storms, the first near Snyder and the second at Sweetwater. The Snyder storm exhibited a large wall cloud but I never discerned serious rotation. The later storm also had lowerings in the vicinity of various mesos, but never threatened. When the first sensible RFD from our Snyder storm reminded me of the walk-in freezer from my high school Dairy Queen job, I wondered if we might be in trouble.

Scott and I took a wild ride through northeastern Scurry County to find the secret passage northeast of Snyder across the creek in the northern part of the county. Street Atlas was dead wrong about not one but two rural roads and we lost our storm because of a missing road (who took the road?) and a bridge that didn't exist (Bring Your Own Boat?). We rolled through canyons, over dried creek beds, into open rangeland with loose, befuddled cows, and onto what looked like an access road astride someone's field of winter wheat. We might as well have beein chasing the Ozarks. Meanwhile our storm was spinning like a top, with MTM displaying higher shear values than ever. This is when a sheriff reported the brief funnel in Stonewall County near Peacock.

"Bob's Roads" are always a gamble but we assumed today's storms would have a limited period before they lined out or joined larger convective clusters and we wanted to stay as close as possible for as long as we could. Plus the map indicated there was a way to do it.

Our assumptions about today's mode and evolution were wrong. Despite the removal of CIN (per SPC objective analysis and hinted by MAF 12z sounding), when the lift arrived, the convection was not immediately widespread and messy. Our first storm was a discrete cell for nearly two hours and the second one for about half that time, before a line filled in and the squall was on.

I had an early dinner with a friend and decided to return to Denton where I met the night's weirdest tornadic supercell. This storm raised reports of power flashes near Alliance Airport and lowerings galore (none of which was easy to confirm due to the lack of lightning). They blew the sirens in town and that was probably the right thing to do given the power flash reports. I found myself under a wall cloud or a relatively compact updraft base after I couldn't find the intersection of 156 and 114 to flee east from the approaching meso. As far as I know, nothing touched down in Denton County.