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CHASE REPORTS

MAY 15th 2003

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We had high hopes for today as the SPC had issued a high risk for the opportunity of severe weather.

We headed North from Childress, TX with Cloud 9 Tours as we chased with Mike Theiss towards the Amarillo area, and soon began to see a storm developing to our NW, which we decided was our best target area. We soon noticed towers beginning to form as we headed NW along 54 towards STRATFORD.

We arrived at our target area just in time to see a tornado developing to our west, and from it's structure it was clearly becoming a 'wedge'. It appeared almost stationary which allowed us to leave the vehicles to observe it. Within seconds another tornado was forming alongside the wedge. This was an 'elephant trunk' tornado which was only on the ground momentarily before roping out. However it back built and touched down again briefly before finally dissipating completely.

We were able to witness the two tornadoes on the ground simultaniously...spectacular!!.



The 'wedge' tornado was now in it's developed stage, with extremely strong outflow winds for a tornado that was approx a mile to our west.

Jim Leonard and Mike wanted to attempt to deploy the 'Dillo cam' and 'Theiss Device' into the tornadoes path, so we scrambled north to try to deploy them. Unfortunately the tornado became wrapped in rain and the visibility became poor.

We began to get hit by large hail as we entered the area known as the 'Bear's Cage.' Jim reported over the radio that his windscreen had been cracked by hail. Mike took some strong hits but we survived, however we decided to abort the deployment attempt and head south.

As we met up with Charles Edwards and the rest of the team we witnessed our third tornado of the day, to the west of our position, a brief rain wrapped white cone.

We realised there was further development to our south just NE of SUNRAY.
We witnessed some great lightning at sunset before another brief rain wrapped tornado touched down in front of us that was illuminated by lightning.
It was getting late and we were about to call the chase when a fifth tornado was spotted by Jim just north of STINNET.

Five tornadoes...what a day!.