Green Sky Chaser

7 April 2008 Chase Log


Target Area: Lawton, Oklahoma to Wichita Falls, Texas

Chase Area: Wichita Falls, Texas

Observations: one wall cloud and one supercell

Distance: 320 miles

Time: 6 hours

Chase Team: Andrew Barrett, Matt Lewis, David Skeet, and myself

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

Chase Setup: Another great-looking dryline setup, though dynamics less than ideal. Surface low situated out in the Texas Panhandle with a dryline from the low through the east Texas Panhandle and a warm front from the low through central Oklahoma. Dewpoints in the mid- to upper 50s near the triple point, with favorable low-level wind profiles and helicity values of 250 m2 s-2. CAPE of 2000 J kg-1 from Lawton to Wichita Falls.

Chase Log: We headed out a little late this day, aiming for Wichita Falls. By the time we got to just north of the Texas border, on I-44, a large east-southeastward-moving supercell was blocking our path. With baseball-sized hail being reported on the storm, we were afraid to continue driving on the freeway.

Bridges across the Red River are few and far between, so we had to drive some 20 miles east before we found a bridge to cross. The supercell was moving very slowly at this point, so we still had to drive back westward in order to intercept it properly. In the time it took for us to drive back to the supercell, it had already produced a tornado.

Unfortunately, we missed seeing the tornado by just a few minutes. We did see the strongly rotating wall cloud that produced the tornado, and a few scud fingers, but we missed the primary show of the day - both the tornado and the large hail.