2003 April 5
Copyright 2003 Eric Nguyen
 
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Area Chased:  W TX

Discussion: We targeted anywhere from ABI to Haskell depending on where the triple point would setup.  I didn't expect an early show to occur, however, the first storm went up at around noon and became tornadic at around 3pm south of Aspermont, TX.  After the storm crossed the warm front it quickly became HP with the main threat of moderate wind (40-60mph) and very large hail.

When we observed the storm the tornado had just lifted and we had a view from the NE flank as a new meso formed east of the old one.  A large cone shaped funnel developed and quickly got undercut by outflow.  The third updraft base didn't do much, however, we watched as very strong outflow began to rotate around the meso and undercut it.  Since that time the only structure to observe near the updraft was a strong gustfront with occasional areas of rotation.  Occasionally the cold air would allow the water vapor to condense to the ground.

When we back tracked east towards Woodson, TX we waited for the core to see how large the hail was, since we were hearing no reports of size.   Hail began as golf ball and quickly went to baseball sized.  We certainly did not have the opportunity to measure the hail since it would be too dangerous to exit the vehicle.  Due to the magnitude of the size and frequency, we began to move east to get east of the hail core.  We began to receive softball size hail on our way from NW of Woodson to east of there, which took out one of our rear windows.  Once the hail subsided we were able to grab a few before more hail began to fall, this was melted some but still measured over 3 inches in diameter.  From Woodson, TX we continued east toward Graford, TX only miles from the meso, however, due to the large hail and ice on the streets, we were not able to get back ahead of it to patch up the window.  At Graford we stopped and watched the town get hit by baseball and larger sized hail.  This is where we saw all of the local cars and chasers loose windows.  A large water bird was found dead on the north side of town from encountering this hail shaft.  Chances are it was cut down in flight and died on impact.  It's likely that cattle owners from south of Aspermont, TX to NW of Fort Worth suffered losses due to the violent nature and size of the hail shaft.

Once we were done in Graford, TX we drove SE towards Mineral Wells to meet up with others for dinner and patch up the window with plastic.  Since the vehicle I chase in is pretty much baseball hail proof, only the back window and one of the head lights was destroyed.  The rest of the vehicle only received the typical barrage of dents.  The front windshield only suffered from a small crack since I have an overhang that keeps the windshield from receiving hail.

Pictures:

030405-6b.JPG (3216 bytes)      030405-7b.JPG (3905 bytes)      Not much structure to this storm, main feature being a photogenic gustfront with the north side (left side on image) being a disorganized area of rotation.

030405-1b.jpg (9407 bytes)      030405-2b.jpg (10140 bytes)      030405-4b.JPG (9123 bytes)      030405-12b.JPG (10292 bytes)      Various hail damage pictures.

030405-3b.JPG (5539 bytes)      030405-9b.JPG (12174 bytes)      030405-11b.JPG (9214 bytes)      030405-13b.JPG (8034 bytes)      Various hail pictures.

030405-5b.JPG (8590 bytes)      030405-8b.jpg (6783 bytes)      030405-10b.jpg (10454 bytes)      A national refuge reportingly lost 25% of their birds that are on the endangered species list.  Unfortunately a supercell of this magnitude and size did significant damage to local wildlife.  We had to give up at Graford, TX to patch up the window and soak up the water.  Left image shows some hail after it partially melted showing the multiple layers.

Additional Info:

TIME   SIZE   LOCATION    REPORTED BY SPOTTERS
2315   4.25   WOODSON THROCKMORTON TX 3301 9904 SOFTBALL SIZE HAIL. (SJT)
0040   2.75   3 N ELIASVILLE YOUNG TX 3300 9874 REPORTED BY HAM RADIO OPERATOR. (FTW)
0014   4.50   6 W GRAFORD PALO PINTO TX 3293 9836 REPORTED BY STORM SPOTTER. WINDOWS BROKEN AND HAIL DAMAGE TO STRUCTURES. (FTW)

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