Anytime, any place there is a storm to chase, that is where you'll find the Hunters of Thunder.

May 28th - Texas Dust on New Rubber

The Memorial Day holiday started out with sunny skies in Pratt, Kansas and Brad's unlucky and now annual pilgrimage to Walmart Tire and Lube for a new tyre and a leak repair for another.  Thankfully it was quiet and I was first customer so by late morning we were on the road south through Oklahoma with our target being Vernon, Texas.

Parameters looked reasonable, with CAPE (instability) looking high for the day well into the 3000 J/kg range, with shear 30-40 knots over the 0-6 km range storms looked like going HP but there was the chance for some structure. The tornado potential looked relatively low with surface temperatures approaching 100F and 60F dewpoints meaning the spread was too large.

We intercepted the first storm of the day near Seymour, Texas and watched it form a solid rain free base and throw down some impressive daytime CG strikes, some pulsing enough to be photographed hand held.  The storm looked to be structuring up well but we were expecting it to go HP (high precipitation) and this storm mode can be hit or miss when it comes to being photogenic.

'Texas Supercell' - Red dirt, aqua hail cores and big as HP storms. Welcome to Texas. Photo: John.

A storm is consolidating it's rain free base and producing a CG barrage near Seymour, Tx.  Photo: Brad.
We repositioned south and east to keep in front of the storm as it was going HP and witnessed some awesome blowing red dust which made driving even more hazardous at times.

'Wall of Dust' - Punching into the unknown and through gustnadoes within the inflow and outflow dust  to try and get position on the now HP storm. Photo: John.

Red dust races across our path and at times cut visibility to 5m!  Photo: Brad.

Vorticity certainly was not in short supply as we stopped to enjoy an incredible view into the eye of a local area of rotation almost directly overhead. 

Rapid rotation directly above us was incredible to see.  Photo: Brad.

Several strong storms were now in progress with little seperation so decisions had to be made which one we thought would have the best chance to thrive. We continued to position east and south hoping the storms would answer that question for us as but they were playing games!  Two storms were producing wall clouds simultaneously with us located between them.  The one to our east produced the most convincing funnel of the day, albeit short lived while the original storm stretching from behind us and to our north tried and tried again but never really looked like producing anything more than a few half-baked funnels from several wall clouds.
Two storms were producing wall clouds within our view; this one to our east produced a brief funnel.  Photo: Brad.
A wall cloud to our north looked good, then didnt, then did and produced a brief funnel shortly after this.  Photo: Brad.

We continued to position near Graham, Texas but as daylight faded we positioned for hail and wind as the storms moved across.  

'Dark Squall' - When we positioned for wind and hail the storms weakened and offered little photographic opportunity. Photo: John.

As tends to happen on weakening supercells and after the rain has passed, we were treated to a great but short display of lightning including some crawlers and a rare opportunity to capture 'up lightning'.

'Up lightning' - a rare sight, this bolt was captured near Graham, Tx.  Photo: Brad.
'Twice the Bolt' - Lightning can get a little boring so it was time to get a little creative. Photo: John.

The next day saw us chasing in Oklahoma, hoping for the chance at another tail-end charlie storm in what looked like a nice environment for supercells. 

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