May 10, 2005

For the second time in four days, I would be headed out to the Texas panhandle. I intially had not made plans for chasing today, but with upper level winds being sufficient for supercells (southwest at 50 kt at 250mb, southwest at 40 kt at 500mb), and with temperatures reaching the low 90s across much of western Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, I was expecting storms on the dryline this afternoon despite a fairly strong cap (10C at 700mb). Although I got a bit of a late start (after 4pm), I expected to have at least an hour and a half of daylight to see storms in the Texas panhandle. So I took the Bailey Turnpike southwest to Lawton, then took US 62 west to the Texas panhandle.

Before I arrived in Lawton, I could see the anvil from a storm firing in the Texas panhandle streaming well off to the east. As I continued west on US 62, I could make out additional anvils from developing storms in the panhandle. The plan was to go for the southernmost cell, although I was unsure where that would actually be. Especially once I crossed the Texas state line and noticed there were storms as far as the eye could see - extending from the southwest to the northwest horizon. I was also entering an area of limited NOAA Wx Radio reception, which also made things a bit frustrating. By the time I got to Memphis TX, I could see the base of a storm off to my northwest, which I estimated to be near Clarendon. The base was rather high with some scud hanging down southwest of the precip core. However, there was another cell to its southwest that I feared may seed it. Even though I realized there were probably cells to its southwest that may have been seeding this storm as well, my options were limited due to diminishing daylight. So I dropped south to Estelline, then went west on Hwy 86 towards this storm. As I continued west, I was able to get good enough reception to find out this storm was near Tulia, a good 60 miles west of where I was. I figured there would be no way I would get there before the sun went down. But between Parnell and Turkey, I caught a glimpse of the sun setting in between the Tulia storm and the Clarendon storm, so I pulled over to get a look. I also noticed the Tulia storm was producing some nice crawlers, although not at a very frequent rate. As darkness set in the Tulia storm seemed to weaken, so I turned around and headed back to Norman.

After I got home, I learned that the storm near Clarendon was indeed tornado warned, although I never heard of any reports with that cell. One cell even further north in Ochiltree County even sported a nice hook echo on radar for a while. But the problem today seemed to be too many storms competing for the same airmass. No problem though, as I still got to see a nice sunset flanked by storms on both sides over a scenic area with very few people around.

Total Mileage: 494 miles
Total Driving Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

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