2007 April 21
Copyright 2007 Eric Nguyen
 
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Chase Area:  West Texas
Amos Magliocco and I targeted Plainview, Texas, for the development of tornadic supercells later that day.  We arrived early to our target and spent several hours at a hotel WiFi spot in Plainview, waiting for convection to fire.  The question that day was moisture, which seemed to creep northward out of eastern Mexico.  By the time storms developed, we had finally reached dewpoints near 60F.  Something we didn't expect, was a weak northwest to southeast temperature gradient near Plainview.  Also, surface winds backed and increased into the 25-30mph range as strong surface pressure falls began to occur in southeast New Mexico.  Every time we did a data check, the area we were in appeared to be the most favorable for long-lived supercells.
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Tornado #1 - Olton, Texas
Amos and I left Plainview, Texas, when storms developed in our target area to our immediate southwest.  The air was quite dry with dewpoints in the upper 40's, so we waited for the storm to reach the deeper moisture closer to Hwy 385.  We drove east on Hwy 70 through Olton, Texas, and went south on Hwy 385.  It appeared to be high based as we expected, so we decided to drive back north and east on Hwy 70 to flank it, rather then east and north.  This ended up being the best move we made all day.  As the storm came into view, we began to see funnels under the updraft.  Structure and inflow was rapidly improving with time.  The tornado touched down at approximately 2355 UTC 6-8 miles SW of Olton, Texas.  As the tornado approached, we moved east more to get out of the rain and hail.  We stopped just east of Olton, Texas, and watched the tornado pass to our south and cross Hwy 70 hitting three homes.
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Tornado #1 Continues - Hart, Texas
The structure was amazing to watch, as the rotation observed in the midlevels of this storms was very strong.  This is probably some of the fastest motion I've ever seen on a storm.  The tornado continued north-northeast and became a large cone tornado.  The tornado roped out at 0035 UTC.   A second tornado developed from a new wallcloud east of the Olton tornado, however this tornado was short-lived.
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Supercell Continues - Southwest of Tulia, Texas
The storm didn't seem as organized as previously observed, however it did develop a wallcloud or two.  We also saw some anticyclonic swirls to our north as we slowly crawled northward.
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Tornado #3 - Tulia, Texas
We observed a third tornado that went through the western side of Tulia, Texas, destroying many industrial buildings and a few homes.  A Ford dealership was also hit, blowing out the windows in all of the cars as well as the building itself.  It's tough to see, but multiple vorticies were observed under the wallcloud as well as a debris cloud lofting debris into the air.  A satellite tornado was observed to our northeast on the outer edge of the mesocyclone.   The destruction in Tulia was quite scary.  On our way north to Amarillo, Texas, we observed a 5th tornado east of Hwy 27.
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Copyright 2007 Eric Nguyen
 
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