5/25/97 TX chase by Roger Edwards


From: Roger Edwards (tornado@COMANCHE.WILDSTAR.NET)
Subject:      Edwards Effect temporarily breached!

A "short" (by Sebenste standards) summary of our 25 May 97 chase:

Steve Corfidi and I left Norman at 4, after the meso had become apparent
in the storm to our SW (I'll call it the "Purcell" storm).  We couldn't
leave earlier because we were on duty at (   )!  After getting caught at
every possible traffic light and getting stuck behind a couple slow-poking
locals, we finally broke out of the anvil rain and saw a distant fuzzy
meso occlusion taking place to the WSW.  We missed the Middleburg hose by
10 minutes.  We headed S and got SE of a new strong meso which formed E of
the Middleburg circulation.  The associated wall cloud rotated quite well
for 10-15 minutes before wrapping lots of rain around the circulation.
Fearing massive chaser convergence and media frenzy as it headed for I-35
at Purcell, plus seeing the obvious HP transition, plus with it heading
for a right-moving rendezvous with the S Canadian River, we left it and
headed S.  Along the way, we met Gene Rhoden and Tim Vasquez, who had seen
and filmed the intermittently rain-wrapped cone at Middleburg.  Gene's
exact quote:  "You ruined our storm!"  Welcome to the Edwards Effect,
Gene.

We intercepted a weak storm with a brief wall cloud near Lindsay; but I
could not positively call this a legitimate supercell.  It was very small
and quickly got choked by lots of anvil rain falling into its inflow from
another big storm apparent to our SW (what I call the Pauls Valley storm).

We intercepted the Pauls Valley supercell W of Purdy, just as its meso
was starting to get well organized.  A big wall cloud formed under a
striated-bowl updraft and began rotating very rapidly, complete with
textbook clear-slot and RFD occlusion - but no tornado!  It did produce 2
short cone funnels during this phase; however the Edwards Effect was
still overwhelming the atmosphere.  This storm was headed into hilly
country with crappy road options; and we believed it was about to go HP
also.  Steve and I were not too thrilled about its prospects for anything
else photogenic.

So we noticed a tremendous convective explosion farther SW, W of Duncan
(the "Duncan" storm), followed quickly by the most rapidly backshearing
anvil I have seen in years.  We gassed up in Ratliff City and headed W to
an unmarked blacktop 4 W Velma, then pulled S for a look at a rapidly
organizing meso to the W.  The best view was from a farmer's driveway;
he not only gave us permission to park there, but held an umbrella
over me while I was filming, then gave us Pepsis and  opened up his garage
(which faced W) so we could observe the meso from dry shelter!  We filmed
a neat little tornado to the distant W (the same one that overturned rail
cars S of Duncan) which lasted about 8 minutes.  It was Steve's first
hose, and we quite clearly heard the hail roar up in the vault too (also a
first for Steve).

[Of note:  Steve  is now the first (   ) lead forecaster to directly
verify his own tornado watch.  It was nice to snag a tube in my 19Z MDT
risk, too.  Those feats were dang near impossible in Kansas City!]

That meso quickly occluded, spawning an even more spectacular (albeit
non-tornadic) meso that was striated and bell-shaped. We followed this
meso for over an hour, filming a very long, slender funnel cloud for about
3 minutes just N of Loco.  It occluded, followed by a 3rd meso with a
flared base over Fox.  By now, the storm was weakening, with extreme
tilting and greater forced ascent -- indicating the buoyancy/shear balance
was going bad.  [We later found out there were still tornado warnings
being issued.]  We stayed with it til dusk at Springer, then
headed home on I-35.

All in all, a very enjoyable chase -- probably not as "meaty" as those who
were able to get to KS -- but not bad under the circumstances!  It seems
as if every one of those KS storms S of I-70 dropped tubes at some point;
I hope to read some interesting accounts of those storms (especially the
apparent wedgefest S of Wichita) on here soon.  I hear that Hailstone Jim
Leonard was there...

                        ----------------------
*** No disclaimer needed; this is my personal account! ***
"I don't understand, meteorologically      ===== Roger Edwards =====
 or common-sensically, what the deal           (   ) Forecaster
 is here!" ---former NSSL chase partner      former NHC Forecaster
:::::::::: http://www.wildstar.net/~tornado ::::::::::
"I FEAST ON THE SMORGASBORD OF ATMOSPHERIC VIOLENCE."

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