Jackpot

It has been an incredible day here in Texas for us. Today we finally intercepted our first true storm of the season. After sitting in Gainesville, TX all afternoon sweating due to the sweltering heat and humidity, we watched in agony as a massive storm blew up to our south in the western suburbs of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex… the last place you’d want to even think of storm chasing. We relocated to Decatur, TX in hopes of catching a tiny storm that might tap into some greater instability and explode like its comrade to the south. This explosion of growth never happened. Instead, an even better thing happened. As if Mother Nature wanted us to get our first storm intercept personally, the Fort Worth storm began to split, and the northern split began moving North-Northwest… directly toward us in Decatur. We moved just a little south and soon found ourselves facing the storm’s wall cloud, the part of the storm where any tornado that may occur will happen. We watched as the wall cloud moved less than a quarter mile to our south. The wall cloud was clearly rotating, and we felt a tornado could easily occur any minute. Alas, it didn’t, and we flew north to avoid hail that was confirmed 2″ diameter.

We traveled north along a farm route, just to the west of the storm, and found a nice open hilltop to watch the storm drift off to the north in the waning daylight. The storm appeared to try once more to produce a tornado, but once again to no avail. Instead we got to watch an incredible lightning show as the storm drifted away, a fitting end to an incredible chase. We had a celebratory dinner at the IHOP in Decatur, and settled in for the night as another line of thunderstorms began to light up the sky to the west, heading our way. I must say having been on the storm chase last year, this was by far one of the best intercepts I’ve experienced, as far as having great storm structure, visibility, and position goes. The only thing we didn’t get was a tornado.

As I write this, rain is pounding against my window (which I’m afraid has a leak judging by a strange noise coming from it) and frequent lightning is lighting up my room. I may hear a few clicks of some small hail. All this because of storms being pushed through the region in response to a passing cold front, which could very well be the last gas for the 2009 spring storm season, as well as the 2009 Storm Chase. From Decatur, TX, this is Andrew Smith, saying goodnight.

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7 responses to “Jackpot

  1. Sounds like some memorable moments, hope you got some good photo’s!!
    IHOP- yoohoo!!!!

  2. Brian (Blacksburg Skywarn)

    Sorry you didn’t see your tornader in Decatur but it sounds like you saw the next best thing, a great wall cloud. Keep the faith in the chase! Good luck!

  3. Sandy...aka "Sander"

    Wall cloud–woot woot!! Congrats!!! A well deserved wall cloud after a few days of close to nothing…Good job guys!! 🙂

  4. That is awesome! Are we going to see some pictures and video soon?

  5. I thought you guys had great positioning yesterday. Ya’ll beat the slight risk and the MD to the punch. I was sure once that monster blew up south of you that something would go further north as well. I watched that cell split and the stronger one head straight for you guys in Decator. Great job guys, good luck!

  6. Neil & Judith

    glad to see you hit the big time…great writing…keep up the positive vibes !

  7. Wow! Awesome pictures! Y’all were indeed up close and personal with that storm wall!

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