Sunday, April 29, 2012

Today is a reason why we chase. A day full of excitement. We started out confused as to how the day really would turn out. The northern part of the Texas panhandle was supposed to tp be the best region for severe. Moisture was supposed to return via decent southeast winds.However, storms that went through last night re-enforced a outflow boundary that was  slow to wash out. Additional southeast winds kept upslop clouds in the air for a long time. Some clearing west of the boundary made me think that maybe north was a good thought, but temperature in the 60's and dew points struggling to get out of the 40's soon made me realize that further south might be a better call.

A well-defined outflow boundary was persistent south of Lubbock but north of Midland Texas. There was a persistent cumulus field along that boundary and a sustained theta-e bullseye along it. We traveled south of Lubbock and at Tahoka moved west. Even though the boundary was south, I could tell that moisture and boundary layer destabilization was arcing northwest behind the mesohigh near Lubbock.

Soon, cumulus towers were seen to be pushing up. It was less of a cap situation than a persistent convergence situation. But nature has a way of creating thunderstorms and soon one formed just to our northwest.

We watched the storm develop, initially high-based, but drawing air in. Scud sucking commenced but it became clear that cold air was blowing out. We shot east a little and came across of very well-defined gustnado. As we watched it a few hundred yards away, we saw that it was not doing damage so we decided to drive into it. That was fun. The best circulation was about thirty yards ahead of us. Very cool to watch nature spin.

A little later, we tried to cut north just ahead of the storm to find a road that was paved and crossed a little wet area. As we were traveling north, Ryan attempted to swat a large fly on the windshield with his hat. He missed but the little metal dingy thing hit the windshield and it spidered! We laughed because, I mean really?!?! Breaking the windshield with a baseball cap?!?!

We then laughed and proceeded north. About 200 yards before the turn, hail commenced suddenly. And not just a little...but golf balls and maybe bigger.Of course one of the first stones hit the windshield right where the the spiders hit. Of course it spidered even worse. The windshield needs to be replaced. No one else received damage but we eventually got out of the hail.

Plow winds, gustnadoes, hail, scary lightning...it was all there!

Then we chased a supercell south of LBB. Chad saw an OFB and thought it might do something. It did. A tornado warning was issued when we were about 14 miles from it. We were unable to see anything with significant inflow dust and the fact that it was dark!

 We all had a great time and were excited and scared and it was intense and fun!

And we had a good chase on trip 1!!!