Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: April 22, 2010
Miles Logged: 1670
States Chased: TX
Tornadoes Witnessed: 1
Largest Hail Encountered: 1"
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:

It had been a couple weeks since the last setup in Iowa, and Thursday April 22nd looked like the first real setup of the southern plains for 2010. I left Michigan on Tuesday evening, the 20th and headed down to Rolla, MO where I spent the night. On the way down, a big supercell blew up just west of Amarillo and north of I-40. It ended up dropping a big cone tornado, streamed live by Brandon Green of ChaserTV.

Wednesday could have been a chase day, but I had made previous plans and didn’t have time to make it to West Texas before things started firing. Wednesday afternoon would end up being the highlight of my entire chase week.

I stayed at my friend Steve Miller OK’s house in Moore, OK on Wednesday night. Scott Bennett came down from Omaha, and Steve, Hans and Scott went together. I ended up getting ahead of them before we even got on I-44 and would be chasing solo all day Thursday.

I headed down I-44 to US62 in Lawton, then west to Hollis. I fueled up in Hollis and then headed west. I took a ‘shortcut’ that I named ‘Bobs Road’ to get from 62 to 287. Little did I realize they had gotten a ton of rain in the last week, so the road was pretty crummy. The highlight was that I came over a hill and there was a huge snake crossing the road, and I ran it over.

I drove down Highway 86 towards Turkey, which was my target for the day. I ended up sitting tight for awhile, waiting on initiation between Turkey and Estelline. It was around this time the Storm Prediction Center upgraded to a Moderate Risk for the day.

The cells that would end up producing the half a dozen or so tornadoes up north started firing to my northwest. I could have gone after them, and really thought about it, but I wanted to stick to my original forecast of Turkey as I knew some better stuff should fire more south and move into a much better environment.

I met up with Kris Hair back at US287, and we agreed to start heading towards Turkey again. About that time some cells started firing right over the city of Lubbock, so we dropped south to FM97 then west to intercept. FM97 was the road we had a close intercept of a Tornado on April 29, 2009, so driving down the road gave me some good memories.

We sat just east of Lockney waiting for the cells to get their act together. The cell that went over us looked the best, however, the one to the south became dominant. We had a little period of time, however, that it looked like the cell we were on was getting it’s act together. We drove right by the same house that we drove by last year on April 29th.

We ended up giving up on the northern cell, and went to highway 70 where we had to core punch a bit south to get in position for the Matador, TX cell. The Matador cell seemed to be getting it’s act together in a hurry, and I thought for sure it would drop a Tornado. I headed up FM94 to get somewhat closer, but storm motion really left no good routes to get on the right side of the cell. I could make it around the core, however, if I just took FM94 almost all the way to Childress, then dropped south on US62/83. Turns out, FM94 was closed at the fork, so I had to take Ranch Road 1440 towards Cee Vee.

About the time I was in the core, the reports of the large wedge started coming out. While I am not sure what I saw, it did appear that there was some sort of cloud in contact with the ground from my location when I came out of the core. My best guess is that it was just a real low and massive wall cloud, especially after learning there was no real damage to be found.

Nightfall came, and the storm was an absolute beast by this point. I sat on US62 and observed for awhile before giving up on it and going north to Childress. It was about this time that I started getting text messages and saw facebook posts of how big everyone scored up north. While this day provided me with a massive beast of a supercell, I still feel like I busted since just about everyone seems to have scored half a dozen tornadoes easily.

I filled my truck up in Childress, which was flooded massively, and started the trek east on US287 towards Wichita Falls. I wanted to play Arkansas/Louisiana on Friday, but everyone started talking about Iowa/Nebraska/Missouri so I sat at Jack in the Box in Wichita Falls for a bit going over the forecast. I decided that I would still go for the southern target on Friday, and Kris Hair offered me a place to crash in Sherman, TX so I waited around for him to catch up then headed to Sherman.

Overall, I was on the most massive beast of a storm for the day, but I missed all the tornadoes up north, so to me it was somewhat of a bust, although given the information I had I would have played everything the same way again I would imagine.