Target Area: Wichita Falls, Texas
Chase Area: Bust - storms too far away
Observations: supercell cloud tops and fish and chips at IHOP
Distance: 300 miles
Time: 6.5 hours
Chase Team: Dean Narramore, Jeff Makowski, and myself
SPC Convective Outlook: Slight Risk (Click to see SPC products, data, and storm reports)
Chase Setup: Storms expected to initiate along a cold front from the Texas Panhandle through northwest Oklahoma, southeast Kansas, central Missouri, and out towards New England. Largely zonal flow in place with weak upper-level winds of only 15 to 30 knots all the way up to 250 mb. Greatest CAPE (2000 J kg-1) found in southern Oklahoma into central Texas, with dewpoints in the low to mid-60s over much of the Southern Plains. Steepest lapse rates found in west Texas and just south of Wichita Falls. Greatest helicity values (200 m2 s-2) located near Abilene. Possibility for some weak supercells to form along and south of the cold front, perhaps with some hail and high winds.
Chase Log: This is the last chase I went on with Dean, before he flew back to Australia. It was a marginal day for supercells at best, but we decided to try our hand at finding some nice storms one more time.
We drove straight to Wichita Falls, hoping some supercells would form ahead of the cold front in the unstable environment of north Texas. Unfortunately, once we got to Wichita Falls, we realized that storms were indeed forming, and we could see them in the distance - but they were all the way down in Abilene, forming along an outflow boundary that we had not counted on. We left late in the day, as I had to work in the morning, so with some disappointment we called off the chase so we did not have to drive back too late.
In the end there were some large hail reports around Abilene as the supercells formed an MCS, but there were no tornadoes. On the other hand, there were a few tornado reports in Kansas, Illinois, and Ohio, near the cold front.
After driving around Wichita Falls, checking out some nice houses as well as the not-so-nice part of town, we ate dinner at IHOP before driving back to Norman.