USA STORM CHASE 2015
As expected today was a travel day back to Norman, Oklahoma for our flights home tomorrow.
We took our time to head back north passing through where we were exactly two years earlier as we documented the monstrous El Reno tornado that ripped through the area.
The evening was spent with the majority of our group enjoying our final night together as we shared drinks and stories from this season's chases.
Tomorrow is a sad farewell as we go our separate ways until next season when many of us will reunite to once again chase nature's fury.
MAY 29 2015
This was likely to be our final chase day of this season, it was a marginal set up and finally it would be a chase that was finally outside of Texas as we moved west into New Mexico.
Our target was just north of Tucamcari, and when the storms fired they were quite picturesque for a time. This combined with an idyllic location made for nice photo ops.
The storms themselves never really organised and quickly became merged and linear. We let the core of the storm come over us, and when it did, so it began to die very quickly.
We decided to start to head back NE back into Texas before ending the day in Amarillo.
MAY 28 2015
Moving south today to get onto another decent set up with the parameters virtually identical to yesterday's with nice shear and CAPE values.
We soon intercepted a storm outside of Childress that had beautiful structure and a frequent lightning producer, with a persistent mesocyclone for a while.
However It struggled to organise properly, so we headed south further to let the core hit us around the town of Paducah.
The storm had a lot of greenage and produce some significant hail of 2 inch .
Eventually the cells began to line out and become very outflow dominant as they all turned into a big HP mess. We decided to call off the chase and head for dinner, before finally relocating back in Abilene to position for tomorrows chase.
MAY 27 2015
We had high hopes for today as we headed north out of Abilene to chase a 5% tornado risk in the NE Texas panhandle region.
Storms began to fire around the early afternoon and we got onto a storm with great structure around the town of Canadian. This storm was the only show in town and it's development was watched by a massive chaser convergence.
We saw the storm develop strong rotation and we decided to relocate slightly further east to gain greater visibility.
As we headed down the road we saw a tornado develop behind us and we jumped out to watch it intensify into a beautiful photogenic 'stove pipe' tornado. After a few minutes it began to rope out and we witnessed the decaying stage
We headed to a hilltop and watch the storm sit almost stationary close to the town for a few hours. During this time two more brief tornadoes touched down just SW of Canadian, before we decided to call off the chase and head to Shamrock for the night. We had steak to celebrate and then watched the storm produce a nice lightning show well into the night.
MAY 26 2015
Again another 5% tornado risk was forecast today, with good potential as we were expecting decent CAPE values of 2500.
We headed out of Dallas and got onto a well organised storm just east of the town of Breckenridge TX.
It had beautiful structure which finally produced a rotating wall cloud which didn't quite tighten sufficiently to produce a tornado. We also saw a beautiful shear funnel as we viewed the storm from the roadside.
We then proceeded along the road to the town of Ivan where the storm became more electrified but the bases were not so low so tornado genesis would be more difficult.
The storm cells eventually began to merge and become very linear with a lot of precip, so we decided to call off the chase and head to Abilene for the night.
MAY 25 2015
Today we had a moderate risk for severe weather in our area. However the storms today would prove to be fast moving, Nevertheless we chased east through Texas trying to get ahead of the bowing line of storms around Denton, to see if there would be any good cells popping up in front of it, or to see if it became a deracho.
It was just moving far too quickly for us to get ahead of it, so we eventually called it a day and spent the night in Richardson, but we did get to eat at Pappadeaux and got to view some beautiful mammatus at sunset.
MAY 24 2015
The SPC outlook showed that we had to head back north a ways to get into position for todays storms.
Again a 5% tornado risk, with decent CAPE and shear we hoped that our long trek south yesterday would bring about some chase success.
We headed to Denton where we were pretty much in the bulls eye of where we needed to be and played the waiting game hoping for storms to fire. However the cap proved to be the winner today as the daytime heating was not sufficient to prevent today's chase from being a total bust.
Unbelievably storms fired in Kansas which was not even in a risk area for today This supercell went onto produce a wedge tornado after dark which fortunately missed all residential areas during it's life cycle.
What is it this year with storms firing outside the risk zones? and storms not initiating where the models suggest they should?
We eventually headed to Shamrock for the night. Hopefully tomorrow will bring better luck for us.
MAY 23 2015
Looking at the early morning forecast models the potential for Colorado seemed weaker than in central Texas as there looked at best to be a chance of isolated storms embedded in rain in our area.
This meant that today would be a long travel day as we headed south for better storm potential in central/north Texas tomorrow.
We set off for our target of Witchita Falls and after a long days travel we eventually reached there at 11.30 pm. Lets hope our luck changes tomorrow...
MAY 22 2015
We had two target areas today. The potential seemed the same both with 5% tornado risk, however one was in SW Texas and the other in NE Colorado.
Storms in Colorado tend to be more photogenic if they fire, so we decided to blast north and head for those.
We arrived in Colorado and headed to the town of Hugo to watch the storms initiate. We then tracked it through Genoa, but it was struggling to get organised due to a lack of moisture. We headed back further west towards the town of Bethune where we witnessed a brief funnel cloud, some other chasers reported it as a brief tornado which we could not verify from our position. It seemed improbable to us as we could see no visible rotation.
Amazingly the radar images of the storm intensified showing a lot of rotation with a meso marker/TVS marker visible. We could not see any of this visually looking at the skies, in fact the storm seemed to be linear and generally dying, but radar indicated strong rotation still with a likely tornado imminent.
We eventually called off the chase and headed to Burlington. This is becoming one of the most frustrating chase seasons we have had. It is just too cold over the plains right now, I am not quite sure how any storms are firing!.
MAY 21 2015
This cold front is driving us crazy, it is currently 7 degrees here in Amarillo and the blocking pattern is preventing the moisture from sweeping into the plains to initiate the storms that we have come to chase. There are still isolated storms firing but they are so insignificant that they are very tough to target.
We decided to head to the south western area of the Palo Duro Canyon and take some photographs in this photogenic region.
Tomorrow there is an increased level of storm activity possible as the moisture and heat will begin to move in. We are in a good position to head either north or south for whatever setup looks best.
MAY 20 2015
There was a slight chance of storms in SW Texas today but in reality the potential was too low and had we headed down to the severe weather area we would most likely put ourselves out of position for chases later in the week.
We decided to travel north to Amarillo, and visit the Big Texan, where we enjoyed some beer & steak. One of our chase group decided to attempt the famous 72oz steak and managed to consume 56oz, a great effort.
There is currently a stable cold front over most of the plains that is cutting off the flow of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and inhibiting storm potential.
MAY 19 2015
Today’s set up was pretty much the same as yesterday's. We had a slight risk of severe storms in our target area with CAPE values at around 2500 but the tornado risk had increased to 5%.
We headed north towards the vicinity of Childress and waited for the storms to initiate. A series of storms eventually did fire, however the line of storms began to merge into a big HP squall which produced a lot of precipitation with small embedded hail. We eventually came out of the precip and witnessed some nice structure as we looked back at the storm.
Most of the lightning it produced was embedded in rain and difficult to photograph, so we finally headed to Childress for the night, and viewed the storm from the motel.
MAY 18 2015
Today was our first official chase day of the trip. There was only a slight risk of significant weather within our target area with a 2% risk of tornadoes.
We headed south out of Childress towards our target town of Pecos. As we approached the town a few cell began to pop up. The storms were high based which meant that the main threat was of large hail of around 3 inches. As we entered the town we decided to take shelter as the core was about to hit us. As it did we encountered hail of around an inch as the main core of the storm passed to our south at the last minute.
We decided to drive south where we witnessed hail drifts the covered the entire road several inches thick, it was like driving through snow!.
We decided to head north and came across intense flooding close to the town of Coyanosa. We eventually navigated our way through it before heading to Odessa for the night.
Whilst in Odessa the storm came over us producing some significant lightning which we attempted to photograph until it passed over us and headed north.
MAY 17 2015
We had hoped that there would have initially been active weather to chase in our vicinity but it became obvious last night that the storm system would have pushed too far to our east and out of range. After the storms blew through today, our area was caught in the cold outflow, meaning we were stuck on the wrong side of the storms.
We decided to head south and relocate in Childress, TX to be in position for the slight risks that would be around that area for the next 2 days.
Let us see what tomorrow brings in our first active chase of the trip.
MAY 16 2015
We arrived to our chase base in Norman, OK, after a pretty uneventful flight for a change. We didn't get delayed or struck by lightning whilst flying in to OKC this year.
Nevertheless, we arrived once again on an active weather outbreak day for the third year in succession. Severe weather had impacted the States of Oklahoma and Texas with several tornadoes reported.
As we drove to Norman we could see lightning to our SW as the storm progressively followed us home. As we got there and checked in, the storm had virtually caught us, so we grabbed our gear and documented the storm as it came right over us. Eventually it pushed on to the east and we hit the hay at about 5.30 UK time.