May 23, 2007 Chase

After arriving home very late from our chase the previous day, Chad and I hooked up with Mickey as our usual motley crew, and headed towards northwest Oklahoma. We ended up in Arnett, where we stopped for gas and a last snack/drink before getting into chase mode. While we were there, we ran into Jay McCoy and Kanani Foster. We chatted with them for a few minutes, then jumped back in the car and decided to drift southwest, towards some bubbling cu we'd noticed in the last few minutes.

We worked our way down the barren landscape of the northeast Texas panhandle along US60, through the towns of Higgins, Coburn, Glazier, and eventually Canadian. As we rolled into town, the cu we'd been watching continued to blossom, and it was apparent our storm would come from this area. We moved on through Canadian, taking note of what a cool little place it was as we passed by. Once clear of town, we continued south and west through Lori and into Miami. By the time we got there, a storm had begun to develop from the area of cu, to the west. We jumped on RR283 out of Miami, and rolled towards the storm.

After a long, winding, hilly twenty miles or so, we finally came upon a clear spot just east of US70, northwest of Miami. We stopped here, got out, and rolled video. The storm's base was now in full view, and we were very optimisitc because the storm had developed so rapidly. Over the next several minutes, we continued to watch as the storm developed a wall cloud. It constantly changed shape and lowered, with chunks of scud being pulled into the updraft base. Not long afterwards, a lowered area began to devlop in the center of the wall cloud. We strained our eyes against the bad contrast, and it looked very much like a large barrel tornado to our eyes. We weren't completely sure, but felt it was likely a tornado. It dissipated after a minute or so, and by then the storm was starting to cut off our only escape route that would allow us to stay with it (TX70 just to the west), so we packed it up and moved west to 70, then turned north.

We worked our way north on TX70 as the storm eventually got away from us to the east. We turned east onto TX281 and caught back up to the backside of the storm. I was apprehensive about driving blindly into the backside, because it was tornado-warned and showed great rotation on radar, but we slowly crept up behind it anyway. We eventually stopped, as we were hit by 60mph winds coming off the backside of the RFD just east of us. After waiting a few minutes, we continued on. Eventually the storm moved north across the road and was now to our northeast, which allowed us to once again maintain a normal speed and get east quickly, to get around the storm once again on the southeast side. During all of this, we crossed US83 onto county road CC, and then turned north onto TX23, with the storm looming to the northwest.

We continued north, southwest of Lipscomb, and tried to see into this now-HP beast of a storm. We thought we'd seen a few rain-wrapped tornadoes, but it was impossible to be sure. After a while, we realized we were getting out of position on the storm once again, and we simply had no roads to keep up with it. A new storm was firing back west, and we decided to go after it. We backtracked to TX281, then flew west to TX70. From there, we turned south. The new storm was looking promising, but now it was starting to get dark. Our only option at this point was to stay on TX70, so wee decided to just start dropping south, in hopes the storm would produce a tornado before it crossed the highway and moved east. We found a decent spot for viewing and pulled over to watch as the storm neared the highway.

It had amazing structure but didn't look like it would produce a tornado in time for us to see it. We sat as it lumbered across the road, eventually crossing it as darkness set in. We started south again, with me craning my eyes out the back glass in an effort to try and see any tornadoes with lightning flashes. We never did see any, but a short while later other chasers who were positioned further east did see a large multiple vortex tornado from this storm. We decided to call it a day after this, rolled into the Pampa Taco Bell, and had dinner. The place was overrun with chasers, all sitting around scarfing tacos and recounting their day's adventure. We enjoyed a leisurely dinner, chilled out a bit, and then started home.