Sunday, June 03, 2007

Day 8 June 2, 2007

We left Wichita Falls around noon after eating a good brunch at Denny's. We were going to head southwest around the Lubbock area today. I really liked the southeast backing winds this time. Today could turn out to be something more decent than yesterday. SPC had issued a 5% tornado risk area for the caprock. Supercells were likely with possibly a few tornadoes, but they could evolve into a bow echo later in the day from the upslope flow. Surface based CAPE was close to 4000 J/kg with a lifted index of -8.

I think we were in for one lucky day today. Sandra was sitting in the front passenger seat in the van and she had her window rolled down. All of a sudden, a bird crapped in the window right on Sandra's lower lip and I even got a bit on me - I was sitting in the middle seat! Scott said we were in for a really good day. Gross but I guess this was a sign of really good things to come!

We decided to have a break in Lubbock. The cap was still holding. Some TCU's would try to go up but would hit the inversion layer and get ripped apart. We grabbed something to eat while Ron went to download models. We stayed there for about an hour or so then Ron said we should go get our rooms and wait. I was really curious what was happening just to our north... I could see an anvil. I checked radar and there was a storm that was trying to go supercellular to the north about two counties away. After several scans, this thing was trying to organize itself. It also had pretty good hail from it and it was slowly moving to the east-southeast. I decided to tell Scott about this storm. Him and Lee just had a swim in the pool, while Sandra was working out on a treadmill. All of a sudden, Ron came in and said to pack up our things. We were going to intercept this storm since it was the only one out there. YAY! I must say I don't think we've ever departed so quickly yet on this trip before. We left at 7:30 and gased up quickly. We headed north towards Hale and Lamb counties.

The anvil was beautiful with its overshooting top. It just kept backbuilding. The edges of the anvil would go soft and then knuckle out again. At a quarter after eight, there was also a great flanking line, with the sun setting in behind and a corkscrewing updraft. What a great looking vault region! It made for great images. When we neared the storm we got reports of a tornado 5 miles east of Sunnyside... we were not very far from this at all, but I think we were several minutes too late to see the tornado. Ron said the core of this supercell was 10 miles wide, and it was moving 17 mph southeast. Ten minutes later, we saw a wall cloud forming near the flanking line. It was so neat to see with the sunset in behind. When we went through the town of Earth, we saw another wall cloud forming. We now had two areas to watch. A small light coloured funnel cloud came out of the new wall cloud, but didn't last long.

We continued to get more west. We then cut south a little bit. Baron had picked up two rotation couplets. We were keeping our eye on the second wall cloud when I spotted a funnel cloud going halfway to the ground! I really thought this was gonna be it. We went up the road a little bit and stopped to get images, but the funnel cloud had dissipated by then. I couldn't tell if there was a debris swirl underneath it, but it sure looked pretty good. It started to rain and we continued southward again and then east. We stopped once more to get some pictures. Then it started to rain, so we headed east and then south once again. The rear flank downdraft had opened up and dust started to get kicked up. We drove through the thick dust.

We would get ahead of the precip core a little bit, pull over and get some quick lightning images, but it wouldn't be long before we could hear the hail approaching. Dave had got pinged right on his upper lip by a hail stone. Ron came on the radio and said that a hook echo was starting to form. We got ahead of the hail again and stopped for lightning pictures once more. I got one really cool looking image this time. In the photo there was a tilted updraft that looked like it was corkscrewing slightly. A tornado warning had been put out for Lubbock and vicinity by now. The hail once again caught up to us and we went due southeast towards Lubbock. The storm started to weaken so we went for a quick dinner at McDonald's since nothing else was opened. It sounded like we would be basing out of Lubbock for at least another day.

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