Structure, Hail and Tornadoes in Central TX

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Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: April 26, 2015
Chase Partners:
Jon Stone

Chasers Encountered:
Alec Scholten, Adam Lucio, Jeff Piotrowski, JR Hehnly, Russ Contreras

Miles Logged: 820
States Chased: TX
Tornadoes Witnessed: 3
Largest Hail Encountered: 4.25"
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:

After driving late into the night and arriving home at around 2am from Illinois, I headed pretty much straight to bed with an expected departure of 9-10am. Getting up early wasn’t easy, but I was sure glad I did it as I got down into Texas early enough to be on one of the initial tornado warned storms.

Originally we had targeted along I-20 near Abilene or just east, but as I neared Graham, TX it looked like the storms off to my west near Throckmorton and southwest of Throckmorton were becoming quite organized and they actually even issued a tornado warning for the storm near Anson. Luckily storm motions were not nearly as intense as they were on Friday and I was able to still make it down in time to be on the storm as it was tornado warned west of Albany, TX, despite a long annoying detour on 283 south of Throckmorton.

We watched 2 or 3 cycles of the storm near Albany before realizing it was likely becoming outflow dominant. Meanwhile, the storm to our south was looking amazing visually (anvil) and on radar, so we decided to make the jump down there.

We headed to Cisco then south across I-20 and down to Rising star, then kind of got screwed by road options. We were trying to avoid hail, so we dropped south to Comanche and then northeast towards Dublin.

We saw an amazing meso structure and really thought a tornado was possibly imminent, so the plan was to head north into Dublin and east. Unfortunately we encountered some very large hail and lost our windshield to hail in excess of baseball size. As we headed east, we finally got out of the battering of my poor car with baseballs and bigger, and saw some amazing structure.

We continued east to Hico continuing with the structure show. We really thought the storms to the west would produce tornadoes possibly, though, so we bailed back west to get back into the thick of things.

As we got into Dublin again, we were in extremely cold surface air and even hail fog as incredible amounts of hail had fallen all around the area after we drove through it the first time.

We continued northeast towards Stephenville, encountering a brief very weak tornado just to the side of the road and passing behind us as we filmed it.

We headed further southeast on highway 67 before heading north on FM2481. We were looking at 3 wall clouds at one point, all from 3 different occlusions. One of them produced a nice white cone tornado from our vantage point. Most of the people on the storm were off to the east enjoying the structure and missed it.

We again dropped southwest to Stephenville and further SW after I ran into JR Hehnly, Jeff Piotrowski and Adam Lucio. The rest of the evening would be spent on this dominant supercell which cycled many times as it went through Erath, Somerville and Johnson counties.

Well after dark in Johnson county we dropped out of the rain to the south and encountered some more hail and a night time tornado near Cleburne State Park. It was extremely hard to continue threading the needle so we eventually headed back up towards US67 and headed into Cleburne.

While more tornadoes were ongoing, we decided to call the chase and head to Buffalo Wild Wings just up the road in Fort Worth before heading home, arrivning back in Norman around 330 am.