• Michael Thornton

Muddy roads and HP Supercells

Updated: May 13, 2019

Hey everyone! Today I will be talking about a chase I did back on May 7th, 2019 in the Texas Panhandle. Originally, I was going to actually skip chasing on May 7th, and chase the next day. But on the morning of May 7th the weather models just looked way too good to pass up this chase day. I left Norman at around 11:30am and headed West on I-40 towards the Texas Panhandle. Once I got into Amarillo a Severe Thunderstorm Warned cell just to the West of Amarillo caught my attention.

Near Gentry, TX [West of Amarillo]

I began chasing this Severe Warned cell just to the West of Amarillo, and at 4pm this Severe Thunderstorm would become Tornado Warned. Since I was to the Southwest of this Tornado Warned cell I was able to see some pretty awesome structure. This storm however would soon began tracking Northeast and with very little road options I was forced to track West into the town of Bushland, TX and head North on Highway 2381.

Golf ball size hail near Gentry, TX

Once I got the intersection of Highway 2381 and Tascosa Road the entire area was filled with fog. This was because so much hail had fallen from this Tornado Warned cell that the air just above the ground had cooled down to the dew point temperature. After I got done recording hail data, I began chasing the Tornado Warned cell again. The storm, however, would began to die as it moved closer to other severe cells near Abell, TX. I decided that it was best to leave this severe cell and blast South to Claude, TX and intercept a Tornado Warned cell that was moving Northeast towards the town.

The Severe Thunderstorm near Abell, TX

Looking South into an HP Tornado Warned cell near Claude, TX

I arrived in Claude, TX at around 6pm and immediately began to go South on Highway 207, but as soon as I began to do that a storm spotter reported that a rain wrapped tornado was on the ground. With the only road option South being Highway 207 and since the Tornado Warned cell was going to be going over Highway 207 I was forced to turn off of Highway 207 and head West to let the storm safely pass to my Northeast since I wasn't in the correct spot to safely chase this cell. Once the cell had safely passed to my Northeast, I looked at my road options and saw that the quickest way to catch this storm again would be to take County Road 8 straight North to Highway 1151. Now, anybody who has chased in the Texas Panhandle knows that "County Roads" aren't always paved. This was the case for County Road 8. Even with a 4x4 truck with all terrain aggressive tires on the vehicle, my truck still struggled to stay straight as the mud tried so hard to pull me into a ditch. Thankfully, I was able to make it to Highway 1151 safely and continue chasing. Nighttime began to fall soon after and I decided to end the chase. Overall, my chase on May 7th was a pretty good chase. I got footage of storm structure and some nice photos. I will leave a link down below to a video showing the storm structure. Thank you for taking your time to read this chase blog.


Storm structure timelapse video


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