On Thursday, April 16th, Jenny and veteran storm chaser Ric Burney packed up all their gear and headed out to the Texas panhandle for another round of storm chasing. (Queue “On The Road Again” theme music!) Both Jenny and Ric had to work that morning, so they got a bit of a late start. The forecast was challenging once again due to the potential of having several target areas to choose from, and none of the short-range forecast models seemed to be handling the current atmospheric conditions very well at all…such as a cold frontal boundary across the western panhandle complicated by outflow from early morning convection.
Their initial target area was between Childress and Clarendon as the environment there was projected to become very supportive of supercell thunderstorm development along and ahead of the dryline later that afternoon. However, mid-morning convection west of Amarillo ended up increasing in strength by mid-afternoon, becoming severe and dropping large hail across the Amarillo metro area. When a storm, or cluster of storms, becomes dominant like this, they tend to ingest all the other storms within the area and you won’t see much additional development at all around the dominant storms. This pretty much blew Jenny and Ric’s initial target area, leaving them no choice but to reposition to the north and try to intercept.
They were able to make it to McLean Texas shortly after the southern-most storm in the complex became tornado-warned and dropped brief tornados near Conway and Groom. These were later confirmed and rated at EF-0. They were able to find a road off Hwy 273 and grabbed a few shots before the storm could overtake them. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, the storm cell recycled several times and developed several impressive wall clouds, but if there was a tornado, it was rain-wrapped and not detectable visually…although the radar painted a different picture. The two kept pace with the storm all the way into Shamrock about 30 minutes before sunset. Spying a second target developing east of them across the OK border, the two decided to leave the Shamrock cell and head for the new target. Sadly, that cell ended up dying out by the time they got there. Hungry, and tired from driving since noon, they called off the chase about a half hour after sunset. They grabbed a bite to eat with some chaser friends at a Denny’s in Sayre, Oklahoma…and watched live local news coverage of a large cone tornado about 25 miles to their northwest from the storm they’d left an hour before. (facepalm) Such is the life of storm chasing!
Be sure to check out the photo gallery below, plus a link to some of Jenny’s iPhone video via KDR Media and David’s video of what appears to be a rain-wrapped tornado near Kellerville, TX.
Video…click the “gear” and select 1080p HD for best quality!
David’s view of a possible tornado near Kellerville…although this one has not been confirmed.