Chase Day #2: May 21, 2013
Starting Point: Joplin, Missouri
Ending Point: Denton, Texas
Mileage Traveled: 430 (Trip Total: 1099)
Before heading out of Joplin this morning we drove through some of the area that was hardest hit by the EF5 tornado that struck back in May 2011. A few of us on this trip had visited the area about 15 months ago and were glad to see a much improved scene. A lot of construction has happened in that 15 months and the area was very active today with construction crews hard at work.
After that short detour we headed towards our destination for the day Paris, Texas. We choose this area for a couple of reasons:
1) During our weather briefing there were some storms just to the south of us from central Oklahoma into the Arkansas area; to the north (where we were located) the temperatures were in the low 60s and to the south of where the rain was located temperatures were already in the mid to upper 70s. This was setting up a well defined boundary which is a focus area for forecasters in regards to the development of severe weather.
2) There was a strong cold front and dryline moving through the central and western parts of Texas. From the forecast models it appeared these would merge while crossing the state of Texas and intersect the boundary mentioned above and move through the northeastern part of Texas.
While we thought we could intercept the storms around the Paris, Texas area in time we did have a concern that by the time the storms arrived it would be a squall line or a quasi-linear convective system (QLCS); both of which are terms for a line of thunderstorms usually associated with strong frontal boundaries. To get from Joplin to Paris we had to drive through the rain that was mentioned above. At times that rain was very heavy and there were some locations that had flash flood warnings being issued due to the large amount of rain falling over a short period of time.
We did a quick check of our forecast and had a quick lunch in McAlester, Oklahoma and everything was on track as we had predicted except the boundary between the warm and cold air had shifted further south then we had anticipated. By the time we arrived in Paris, Texas the squall line was coming into town. We stopped and watch the storm come into town and captured this video. Not the most impressive looking squall line but once the leading edge passed us we were once again encountering very heavy rainfall, some strong wind gust, and some small hail. The following video clip below was shot by Ashley Vedvig from one of the vehicles as we drove west to get out of the heavy rainfall; you can hear the rain and the very small hail in the video clip.
It appears that Wednesday (May 22) could be a down day for us as there are is no significant chance of storms in the area. We will most likely be using that day to visit the Dallas-Fort Worth area before heading out to set up for Thursday's threat of severe weather near the Texas Panhandle. We will update the blog once we do the morning weather briefing.