Area Chased: TX PAN
Discussion: I stayed overnight in AMA with Jason Poliette, Scott Blair, Scott Currens, and Amos Magliocco, and there must have been a dozen other chasers that stayed at the Amarillo Super 8 as well. We looked at morning data and were interested in the Tulia, TX area off I-27. We left that afternoon and drove the short distance south stopping at Tulia for lunch. Towers began to develop over the higher terrain in northeast New Mexico and in the vicinity of Hereford, TX. We quickly drove NW watching a tower explode only to watch it quickly die. The weird thing was that we all stopped to top off and it must have taken 15 minutes to put 2 gallons in the car. The pumps were very slow in Dimmitt. We stuck around Hereford for a while until a new convective tower developed to our immediate northeast. We waited a few minutes to make sure this tower was going to sustain itself and we weren't disappointed. It didn't take long to flank it from the east and watch as it developed a wallcloud. Despite having decent rotation at cloud base, the over-all organization was lacking. This was clearly not the storm of the day. Still, we stuck with it for a little while until we heard of a tornadic supercell to our immediate south producing a tornado near Happy, TX. We made the decision to abandon our storm and go south as the organization was getting worse with time.
We all took I-27 south and near Happy, I reached an overpass that was BLOCKED by idiots afraid of the penny sized hail. The storm was well to the south and these cars were not budging. I laid on my horn to let them all know how stupid they were, and finally after several minutes they began to move. Clearly a big vehicle with a brush guard is needed when you encounter these types of idiots. Blocking a public freeway out of stupidity is one of my pet peeves. I dove south and turned east on 285 to flank the storm from the north. The storm was HP and the only decent rotation was where the updraft had completely occluded and was wrapped in rain. After that dissipated we dove south towards Wayside and Jason and I stopped to observe the storm from the east. It produced two tornadoes, one on the occluded updraft on the backside of the storm, and the other on a new wallcloud. I thought this was one tornado at the time, but Scott Currens and others were luckily much closer to the tornado then I was. Jason and I didn't get out of the car as the lightning was insane. Once the wallcloud dissipated and new meso develop and quickly occluded. The result was a strong tightly rotating updraft that was stretching and shrinking horizontally at the base. Jason, Amos, and I blasted west towards this feature and watched as it morphed into a tornado, hitting power lines at one point causing some power flashes. A second vortex developed on the backside of the tornado and remained a separate feature, almost seemed to be wrapped around the shrinking updraft. The tornado dissipated as the newer one strengthened. To our due west, the precip was being dynamically forced to the ground and an extremely rapid rate. This was unusual looking and the speed at which the rain was descending seemed to be more amazing to me then the tornado itself. Later on Gene Moore commented on seeing this later on as the storm went off the caprock. A guy from National Geographic stopped by us saying he had lost the "twister sisters" because they thought they were in a tornado. They were in this cascading precip to our due west. When we followed the storm off the caprock, I stopped and watched as the rain bands arced around the meso into the canyon, and I questioned whether I wanted to enter the canyon or not. Instead I opted to remain safely on the outer edge and watched as the storm continued to the northeast. When Scott Blair, Jason Poliette, and myself made our way home, we drove past the tornado damage, and where the cascading precip was at, was a Porsche that had slide off the road into a flooding ditch. This wasn't the first car to lose control in the water, a cop car was found upside down submerged in water with the cop down the street walking to a neighbors house. Scott, Jason, and myself endured the horrible flooding that covered the road between Wayside, TX, and I-27. It probably took us over an hour to go 10 miles. At times, I wasn't sure if we would make it. The water wasn't rushing, so no danger of drowning, however it was deep enough that I was concerned. Luckily we made it out and in time to eat at Jonny Carinos in Amarillo, TX, where we celebrated our very successful chase. After we had our fun, we stayed the night again in AMA. Luckily we weren't independent and had others to share costs with. ;-)
East of Happy, TX, we observed strong rotation from an occluded updraft just of Hwy 27. It previously produced a tornado near Happy, TX.
We dove south to near Wayside, TX and got on the southern supercell which had great structure. The right hand image is prior to two tornadoes that touched down, however I didn't get any good pix of them since we were too far away. Scott Currens was lucky enough to be in position to film them both, one from the wallcloud and another from an occluded updraft back to the west.
Since we noticed the only significant tornadoes that were occurring were well after the updraft occluded, we raced back west towards this occluded updraft and were treated to a tornado.
It hit some power lines and caused power flashes. Also, a second vortex developed to the west and eventually took over as the previous tornado roped out.
The storm went off the caprock into a valley. Strong RFD was blasting down into the canyon.
NW of Wayside on our way back to I-27, we encountered 15 miles of flooding. It took us over an hour to drive 15 miles. A cop car was found upside down and eventually was submerged, however the cop made it out okay.