Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Chasable Isolated Storm

Day 8: Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Chase Day in the River River Valley Area
Beginning City: Vernon, Texas
Ending City: Childress, Texas
Total Miles Traveled: 309 miles for the day, 3927 for the trip

Written by Jacob Strohm and Porter Vande Voort

Due to our placement within the best part of the risk area today, we were able to get a later start this morning. Our team met at 9:00 to discuss the conditions, which were favorable in the Red River valley region along the Oklahoma/Texas border. The dryline was forecast to move through Altus, Oklahoma where there was also some convergence occurring at the surface. We wanted to set up along these boundaries, because these features can force air upwards and aid convection. After updating at 11:30 we set out for Altus, Oklahoma. The storms were projected to fire between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. After watching many clouds trying to build higher and higher, one cloud finally broke the cap and we the chase began. We headed south back towards Vernon, Texas, where these storms began irritating. We had to circle around the storm and approach it from behind to avoid the precipitation core of the storm which in this one also included hail. Once south of the storm we continued to move back north with it back into Oklahoma. The storm was moving slowly, so we were able to stop and take some pictures multiple times. When this storm began weakening we targeted another cell to the north. This northern cell began weakening as well, but the southern one began to rejuvenate itself. The redeveloping cell was no where near textbook as its updraft had a significant lean to it. Below the updraft base there was scud  clouds (or low level clouds detached from the main part of the storm but being drawn into it.) This activity is worth noting at it could be an indication of the storm intensifying. We dropped back south to get a better view and follow this storm, which was beautiful to watch. We stayed with it until it collided with an outflow boundary from storms south of Wichita Falls, Texas. The storms kept going but lost their intensity so we called off the chase and began heading to Childress, Texas for the night. Along the way we were able to take a few lightning shots from the decaying cells and rainbow pictures as the setting sun refracted off the rain cores of the storms.
Looking at the underside of the updraft base. Photo by Porter Vande Voort.
Isolated storm that intensified but had an unusual lean. Photo by Jacob Strohm.

Near by lightning strike as we were sitting safely in our vehicles. Photo by Maggie Paucek.

To cap off the day the setting sun created a nice rainbow. Photo by Jacob Strohm.

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