Friday April 24th, 2015 - Rising Star, TX Tornado Warned Supercell

We started the day absolutely torn on which target to choose.  We went to bed assuming Kansas was going to be the better play for us, but the morning models plotted terrible lapse rates and far less CAPE.  We decided to chase Texas, and south we went.

(Above:  Skip eating a bell pepper and bean dip for breakfast/lunch.)  Classic Skip!

Above:  Ready to start the chase!  We started our drive south with some morning convection.  We were really hopeful that all of it would blow off to the east and the air behind it would be able to recover.

Soon we had our tornado watch.

And a few hours later, we had our tornado warned supercell.  We drove west to meet up with it and take a look.


We got in front of a tornado warned supercell that was in HP (High Precipitation) mode, moving ENE at 56kt.  Dangerous and difficult to see any tornado if one was to occur - you have to essentially be right up in the inflow notch to see anything.  We nosed in to get a peek, and were only able to see a suspicious lowering on the back end of the horseshoe base. (cone funnel?)

The storm was surging forward quickly, so we didn't have much time to stop and watch it.  As quickly as we approached, we turned around and headed back east to stay ahead of the storm.  The inflow was sucking in columns of dust and dirt and smoke.

We put some ground on it and stopped to put gas in the tank.  We didn't have much time, but we decided that it was a good idea to stop really quickly.

We underestimated the closing distance of the storm and suddenly realized that it was nearly right on us.  We pulled out of the gas station in Rising Star and went to head South on a road that went Southeast, but quickly noticed the storm was too close for us to go south.  We turned around and took our east option, nearly drifting as we made the turn.  The gusting RFD caught us on our escape east but we eventually got back out from the rain and in front of the storm again.


We ended up on a road that took us well southeast of the storm.  The road network in Texas leaves much to be desired for chasing, as they are all NW/SE and NE/SW, rather than a N/S E/W grid.   If we went northeast we would have driven directly into the storm.  We eventually were able to pull back in front of the storm at the time it morphed into a giant HP linear complex with other storms around it.  We stopped near a school and decided to photograph the giant Whale's Mouth features (below.)  The sky was undulating and pulsing like an underwater creature.  I am always mesmerized by the motion in the sky on this feature.  You might have seen me staring up at the sky, mouth open in awe, like a child.  Not a bad way to end an otherwise pretty mediocre chase!