Storm Chase Details


Chase Date: June 2, 2024
Miles Logged: 653
States Chased: TX
Tornadoes Witnessed: 3
Largest Hail Encountered: 3.5"
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:

After a long week of chasing, I was looking forward to a couple of down days. We had a chaser gathering in Norman on Saturday the first and I slept in until almost 1pm. Since I have AWIPS-II running at all times, I saw the water vapor loop running as soon as I sat down at my computer. The ‘bullet’ coming out of New Mexico was unmistakable, and is one of the things that will get me out the door.

12z Observed Soundings

The atmosphere was very warm and moist. The 12Z Amarillo sounding had a MeanW of almost 15. An overnight MCS had gone through Oklahoma leaving a west and southwestward moving outflow boundary from the storms.

The outflow seemed to back the winds, turning them almost due easterly in Oklahoma and the border area of the Texas panhandle. Dewpoints were very high, with mid 60s at Lubbock.

Departure

I texted Adam before jumping into the shower. Luckily for him, he was delivering nearby and he just showed up before I departed for the Texas panhandle. We departed in a hurry and were on the road by 2pm heading southwest on the HE Bailey Turnpike. I had not even refilled my car from the trip back from Midland, so we had to make a quick fuel stop.

The 18Z Amarillo sounding was out and it was not looking bad. Between what I had observed on the water vapor loop, the outflow boundary and this sounding, we may really see a decent storm.

19Z SPC Mesoanalysis

We continued to Lawton where we took US-62 west. Neither of us had eaten, so we ordered a pizza ahead and picked it up in Altus while continuing west to US83. We took US83 south into Childress to FM94 which we took all the way to Matador. I topped the tank in Matador then continued west to Floydada. By this point, multiple storms had fired. The most established ones were the storm near Happy and then the storms further north in the panhandle.

22Z Mesoanalysis

Amarillo and Lubbock VAD 2318Z

These were the hodographs from the Amarillo and Lubbock radars at 618 pm. They matched up similarly to the 18Z Amarillo sounding, and were quite favorable for continued supercells and possibly tornadoes.

Picking the correct storm

There was also a smaller storm southwest of Plainview that was a little LP guy and seemed to be strengthening. That was my first target storm, but I was keeping my eye on the storm up near Happy. I was using Echo Tops, VIL and visible satellite to monitor the storms. Eventually, I noticed the storm near Plainview getting a soft, glaciated look on top while the Happy storm was crisp and showing multiple overshooting tops. The decision was made at this point, and I headed north to the Happy storm.

Mammatus

As we continued north, we were presented with a beautiful mammatus display. This was near South Plains as we were heading northbound towards Silverton.

Happy/Silverton Storm wrapping up

As we approached Silverton, we continued north on FM2301 towards Vigo Park. The storm had moved east of I-27 at this point, and the updraft was quite wrapped up and had beautiful structure.

Silverton Texas Tornado

The first of multiple tornadoes. I was trying to get south to Silverton and east of town to setup for this tornado. It didn’t wait, and I headed as close as I could reasonably get without chancing it on wet/muddy roads.

Silverton Texas Tornado on June 2, 2024

Repositioning for the next Silverton Tornadoes

After the first tornado roped out, I headed south to highway 86 and then 256 and east through the city of Silverton. No sooner had we made it east of town, that the tornadoes were back on the ground. Not wanting to lose time repositioning more, we just stopped and tripoded in the right-of-way.

Silverton Texas Tornado Time Lapsed

Here is a video of the tornado at 15x speed

Dropping into the Canyon

Due to lack of roads, we started down into the canyon. It seems like there was an orographic affect on the storm from the canyon – a true Caprock Magic day. This means the storm kinda fell apart as soon as it came off the top and into the canyon. As I was sitting down there, some very large hailstones started falling. Luckily I was able to escape. They looked to be close to softballs as they cracked on the pavement.

Lubbock Radar VAD right after tornadic event

As I headed back west on TX-256, I took a break at the Rest Area on the rim of the canyon. We met up with Mason and Cassie and I pulled this hodograph VAD from the Lubbock radar. Sickle shaped hodograph.

We headed home generally the same way we came out. We took TX86 to Turkey, then FM656 to FM94 back to Childress. A quick stop at the Pilot for fuel and Arby’s and we were home about 1:30 am.

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