Monday, June 04, 2007

Day 9 June 3, 2007

Our crew had a good lunch at IHOP and did some shopping in Lubbock and headed south towards Odessa for today's target. It was a nice and easy day with little travelling. We were expecting today to be similar to the storms from the other night, with the cap breaking later in the day.

As we were heading further south, we saw darkening skies off to the southwest around 2 pm. I noted a couple of inflow bands, one coming from the east and the other coming from the north. Baron had detected 2 inch hail and the updrafts were increasing. There were quite a few CGs and some positive strikes as well. Sandra had noted that the temperature dropped 6 degrees a half hour later. We had crossed a boundary.

Behind this little storm was a larger supercell that had popped up on radar around a quarter after four on the New Mexico/Texas state border and was due east. A tornado warning had been issued. We went through Odessa and took highway 302 westward. We saw the Tornado Intercept Vehicle once again on this trip, parked on an overpass. A wall cloud appeared just west of town. Ron noted that this storm had become a right mover... oh boy! Things were going to get interesting. We actually had trouble finding a good viewing spot to get ourselves in position. A bunch of desert trees were in the way. Trying to watch a wall cloud with tornado potential through all that was quite frustrating. About 10 minutes later, we parked at a good viewing spot. At around a quarter to five, all of a sudden we saw it... a wedge shaped tornado! Holy crickey! I've never seen one this big before so this was definitely new to me. According to Ron, this was approx 20 km away from where we were, so the tornado must have been almost three quarters of a mile wide. We got reports on the radio that a sherriff had reported a tornado on the storm. Wow... okay so we weren't seeing things afterall! The tornado went from a wedge shape to a stovepipe and then fizzled out a couple minutes later. I was really glad that it hit somewhere in the middle of nowhere on a county line and not right in town.

After all that excitement, we continued a little more east to get some structure shots. Wow what beautiful undercut wall cloud structure. There was actually blue colours in the undercut area! We watched this for a good several minutes as it came towards us and got great imagery. Since the core in behind was coming this way, we decided to head south, closer to town, to get into a bit of hail. We stopped on the side of the highway and watched in amusement as one inch stones pounded the vehicles and accumulated on the ground in some spots. The road was pretty much covered in the stuff before the rain came.

After that, we decided we were pretty pleased with what we caught today and headed to our hotel in Odessa. We had a beer and steak dinner at the restaurant located in the hotel but the overall quality was somewhat mediocre. Half of the steaks were not cooked right and they weren't as tender and lean as other steaks we've had several days ago. Plus it took forever to get our food and our tickets. The place wasn't even busy. We managed to get a free drink on the house for the poor steak quality and then waited and waited for our tickets. Dave went up twice asking for our tickets, but somehow the manager couldn't figure it out. After waiting too long, we gave up and left. Okay so today wasn't bad afterall... a tornado and free dinner!

Tomorrow it looks like we are headed right down the highway not too far from here. I must say that Ron's uncanny when it comes to predicting storms right down to a highway.


  1. LMAO nice!
    A tornado and free dinner (not to mention those free drinks you guys got on the house) hehe :)

  2. Well turns out we had to pay before we checked out of the hotel the next morning... I would've left it if the waiter wouldn't have to pay for it but chances are he would have if we didn't pay. He was fine, it's the stupid idiots further up....

  3. saw this post back in 2007 of this tornado just west of odessa. I just came across the exact url for this site that I wrote down back then so I thought I would check that it is still here. on june 3rd 2007 I was an otr truck driver and headed eastthat day towards odessa. I am originally born and raised in Tucson,Az. and that is where I reside now. I have never seen a tornado other than little dirt devils. This day changed all that. I saw the dark clouds and figured it would get a little rough but I figured it would just be a real bad down poor with some winds. I radioed ahead on the cb and all the other truckers said it was fine. That is until the real bad winds came and there was stuff flying all over the place in different directions and hail large hail. it was so fast I couldn't hardly even move the truck anymore I was in the highest gear I could get and I was doing like 10 mph I had no could but to stop on what I thought was the shoulder of the road. I couldn't see anything most of the time. when I could see the ground I saw nothing but ice it looked like it snowed for a whole day. I then realized it was probably a tornado so I got in my bunk so I wouldn't be near the windows and grabbed all I could and put on my rain coat. I called my mother and my wife on three way and they heard me I was so scared they strated crying and I started to cry and say good by to them I thought I was going to die. It felt like it lasted for ever and the truck was just about to tip it was rocking and pounding so hard. when it let up I could see that I was on an over pass so I figured I should move . so I did but I kept looking out the windows in the sky for a tornado. I saw all kinds of cars under the over passes and the stayed there and the winds got worse so I parked again on the frontage road for about 4 hours I was so affraid that there was going to be another tornado. well I tried to keep this short but I have been wanting to tell you ever since I saw this blog that there was cars in this tornado or atleast a truck and it is very scary knowing that this whole summer in 2007 I was where almost every tornado was in michigan and indiana even kansas I saw first hand a few days after this tornado the damage that was caused in greensburg,ks. by a tornado about a month before this. thats what made me stop trucking because they have no real warning system for truckers and we cannot just turn around on a narrow two lane freeway that is wet and muddy and even the weather band doesnt tell us exactly where a tornado may be it ussually tells us what county the warning is but we navigate mostly by roads and mile markers from city to city and state to state and hardly ever pay attention to the countys on the map, this would almost be impossible. shelter is very far in between especially if a trucker that is unfamiliar with the area doesn't know where one is. well that is my story hope all the storm chasers hard work can continue to help provide warning systems and work on getting more shelters for residents and travelers. thanks for the dedication. David

  4. sorry here is a link to the only picture I got after I got off the phone and moved the truck I saw an old weigh station that the other trucks used for a parking area and snapped this pic to remember this day. (ha , like I will ever forget, near scarred the fecise out of me, haha)