Green Sky Chaser

17 March 2008 Chase Log



Target Area: Gainesville/Graham/Wichita Falls, Texas (Click on city names for Yahoo! maps links)

Chase Area: Graham/Vernon, Texas

Observations: one thunderstorm, lightning, and a family of boars (2 adults and ~12 piglets)

Distance: 500 miles

Time: 12 hours

Chase Team: Esther White, Andrew Barrett, Dan Peake, and myself

SPC Convective Outlook: Slight Risk (upgraded to Moderate) (Click to see SPC products, data, and storm reports)

Chase Setup: Large upper low in north Mexico and surface low in south Oklahoma with cold front draped across southwest Oklahoma into New Mexico and a dryline extending south through west Texas. Surface dewpoints in the low 60s, but depth of moisture expected to be problematic. Low-level shear expected to assist in the development of supercells with some hail and tornado threats.

Chase Log: On our way to Graham on a nice, sunny day (a bit too sunny), I saw what I thought was a calf starting to cross the road. Cruising along at 70 mph on a straight, two-lane Texas highway, I quickly slowed down, and to my amazement, I realized that the "calf" was actually a large wild boar! The boar, followed by a second large boar and a dozen or so piglets, hesitated in the road before deciding to stay on his side of the road until I passed. I had heard that there were wild boars in Texas, but this was my first time seeing any.

Once we got to Graham, it was still sunny, so we walked around for a couple of hours waiting for the cap to break. The cap proved a little too strong this day, and moisture depth was less than hoped for.

We did find that Graham boasts America's largest downtown square...according to a mural on the city courthouse, anyway! Perhaps it was at the time the mural was painted, way back when.... We did have quite a bit of fun hanging out in this small Texas town.

Eventually a small storm formed nearby, so we took off chasing it towards Vernon, where we stopped for dinner. The storm didn't appear to be rotating until after we gave up. We did see some lightning pretty much all the way back to Norman, though.

There were a few tornado reports in the end; two southwest of Graham (one earlier in the day, before we even arrived on the scene), and another report in Arkansas. I did notice that many left-split storms strengthened on this day, as opposed to the more common right-split. I also noticed that there were a couple of strange-shaped hodographs in the area, with wind profiles first backing with height and then veering with height (a slight S-curve). This could support my observation of the left splits, as winds that veer with height tend to favor left-split (anticyclonic) storms.