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Chase May 24 2003

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Route:Amarillo (TX) - Borger (TX) - Pampa (TX) - Mobeetie (TX) - Miami (TX) - Pampa (TX) - Amarillo (TX)
Chasepartner(s):Saskia Mulder


CHASE LOG:
Again there was a good chance of storms forming in the Texas Panhandle. Strong daytime heating and an outflow boundary could do the job and later this day a cold front moved in from the north. In the early afternoon we went to the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument near Lake Meredith, but it looked closed for visitors. To our north we saw a line of towering Cumulus clouds. They were pretty high based, but it looked like they could break the cap at any minute. And they did, but the anvils were blown off quite rapidly. Should we stay near these high based showers? I had some doubts, but Saskia tried to convince me. Soon the clouds started to look better. We went to the base of the storm, but it was really small. No, this is not the storm we were waiting for. To our east we saw another updraft that looked better defined, so we went thru Borger and east on highway 152. West of Pampa we stopped and saw this cell trying to get its acts together. It had a nice low base.
We followed the storm southeast on highway 273 as it got bigger and bigger, but just south of Lefors the most southern part of the storm suddenly died. Wow, I've never seen a large storm die that fast! To our north we saw another storm that looked good. Just north of Mobeetie we found a spot where we could wait as the storm was supposed to move in our direction. There were frequent CG's visible to the north. Strange enough the storm didn't come any closer, so we went northwest. Near Miami we saw a spectacular updraft of a supercell storm. It had a nice clear slot, a large wall cloud and a tail cloud. We stopped north of Miami for some photos and we didn't want to go any further as this storm was probably producing some very large hail. That updraft must be coming our way! Near the updraft we saw many CG's and they struck within close range.
When the rain closed in we left our spot and turned on the radio. And there was a tornado warning on, for this cell! Whaaa...just now we heard the storm was moving southwest! It had produced a brief tornado near Hoover, about 10 miles to the southwest. What a miss! We went southwest on US 60 and near Pampa we closed in on the storm. We got in a complete cloudburst there! Later on the hail started and we turned around to avoid large hail. We heard there were reports of baseball sized hail in Pampa earlier. We headed NW on highway 152 again, but soon we heard the storm was not that active anymore and lost it's tornado warning. Well...it was almost dark now anyway. We tried to find a spot for lightning photography and succeeded on highway 207. It was too early for a long exposure, but some shots turned out to be quite good.
We followed the storm for a few hours and tried to get out of the rain, but that was impossible as storms covered almost the entire Panhandle region. Furthermore, the lightning activity became less and less, so we called it a day. This was our last succesfull chase. We busted a few times and the last days of our vacation were dominated by high pressure and early summer heat.


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© 2003 Bernard Hulshof