Chase Date: April 29, 2012
Roger Hill, Russ Contreras, David Drummond
Miles Logged: 519
States Chased: TX
Tornadoes Witnessed: 1
Largest Hail Encountered: 3.5"
Highest Wind Encountered: 65MPH
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks
I knew from the get-go that it would be a late night drive back to Norman, so I slept in pretty late finally getting out of bed around 11am. The forecast for the day was pretty local, and the SPC had removed almost all probabilities of storms in the area.
David Drummond and I headed southwest towards Seminole, TX where we ate at the Dairy Queen and then sat around most of the afternoon waiting for storms to fire. Towering CU were very prevalant, but nothing seemed to want to take the punch and get going.
Finally we started heading a bit north and ended up stopping west of Brownfield to take time lapse video and stills of the storms going up both by Brownfield and by Levelland. We made the wrong decision going after the Brownfield storm which was literally eaten by the storm to it’s north.
That storm would go on to be storm of the day and produce a possible tornado along with very large hail. We intercepted the storm east of Ropesville where the RFD was actually wrapping around pretty well. A funnel had been reported, but we were unable to see anything at the time inside of the storm.
We headed east to FM1730 then north to FM1585 where we got into Golfball sized hail. I definitely have a few more dents due to that.
There was a definite lowering in the correct spot at this point, however, we were unable to make it out fully between lightning flashes. The hail was starting to pick up, and I decided to bail east towards US87 and then southbound on US87.
I stopped at FM41 and sat across from the gas station, looking west into the storm when I saw what could possibly be a tornado. Judging by radar images, it is very well possible to have been one at that point in time.
I headed south some more on US87 once golfballs started hitting the road next to me. David didn’t get out in time, as he was talking to the station and ended up losing his windshield to some baseballs.
I stayed south until the storm had moved east of US87. Many cars came south out of the storm completely smashed with hail. One truck even had a dog in the back, but the dog seemed alright.
Knowing that I had a 5 hour drive and the fact it was 10pm, I decided I needed to bail up to loop 289 to 82 to head back to Oklahoma for work Monday morning. It would turn out to be the best day of work in a long time.