Tuesday 7th May 2019 – Tx Panhandle (Moderate Risk)

And so the day was here the big one so far for the season. SPC had a Moderate Risk with 15% Hatched for Tornadoes with a few strong to significant Tornadoes likely, also very large hail and damaging winds were likely when storms finally lined out. We started the day in Liberal and headed south with cold northerly winds and drizzle in temps of 10c clearly behind the front. The Main action today would be focused later in the afternoon along a dryline which was depicted SW Of Amarillo down to Midland. We grabbed lunch in Pampa and headed down towards the town of Panhandle. I did not want to get involved with the early convection North of AMA which looked like when it initiated it was clearly crossing over to the cold side of the front, meaning the front was only just North of Amarillo even at 2pm CDT.

One storm that went up with a little bit of room south of the front started to look nice tracking just west of Amarillo near Bishop Hills so we went to take a look, and nearly instantly this went Tornado Warned. Below is a look at the radar from that storm and the rotating wall cloud just to our west looking from Highway 287 about 15 miles North of Amarillo

Just after the above picture the wind switched from warm south easterly to cold north easterly and the storm fell apart clearly having been undercut. My mind was now set that the only storm that was going to be the Tornado producer was an isolated Supercell near Happy and Tulia (Tx) so we plotted a path down there through the canyons to emerge just east of there hoping we got there before it interacted with an Outflow Boundary. As we were driving it produced the first of its 5 Tornadoes South of Tulia. But having ingested the boundary this storm was still on a rampage moving east north east, our first view of it was of a stunning HP Supercell just west of Vigo Park.

The scalloped inflow going into the rotating wall cloud in front of us was the best I have ever seen and violent hail was getting wrapped into the storm, at the time above a large Tornado was being reported in front of us rain wrapped, the barrel was touching down with various multi vortex segments swirling around at times before the hail wrapped the tornado completely up. The radar in front of us at this time was telling of a violent tornado ongoing.

After the above we retreated back east then had to take the south option around to Silverton to catch back up with the storm as the North road would not be an option due to 80mph Tennis Ball sized hail being reported. When we caught up to the storm it looked very cold looking probably due to the front undercutting it as it travelled North East. We then went further east into Oklahoma and watched various tornado warned supercells in front of us viewed from the west near Hobart but gave up the chase around 9pm. On hindsight maybe we should have stuck with it a little longer due to storms firing in Southern Oklahoma in the warm sector with one of these producing a clear cone tornado near the town of Rocky (Hindsight and all that)

All in all a very disappointing Moderate Risk due to storms being HP in nature and most Tornadoes being rain wrapped.

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