Storm chase log for 05-27-96 Robert and Dene Brock I took off work at 11:00 due to illness. Before leaving work I printed out a few surface, dew point, and lifted index plots. Even though I was sick I decided to chase if any storms began to develop. At 11:30 a.m. I saw a tower going up west of Waco and called Dene to begin the chase. I could not convince Dene to take off so I reluctantly went chasing alone. The dew point was 79 degrees with a heat index of 104 at 11:00 AM! Bruce Thomas, our local meteorologist, indicated the Waco storm was moving east. I took I35 north from Temple at 12:50. On the way to Waco I noticed a new tower going up like a nuclear bomb near Lorena and started chasing this storm. I was about 4-6 miles from the storm, parked beside the road, looking through binoculars when the first funnel cloud developed. I was able to take several pictures of the complete life cycle of the funnell before golf ball size hail forced me to move. I also did not know what direction the storm was moving. From my point of view it looked like it was stationary, which could have meant is was moving toward me. With another wall cloud developing almost directly overhead and south, I headed north to get away and hopefully get more shots. It turned out the storms were moving south right along I35. (By the way, the tornado warning did not occur until about 5 minutes after the first touchdown.) I was trying to wave and yell at people to call it in and take cover but everyone just ignored me. By the time I realized the storms were moving south, I was blocked from the view of the still occurring tornadoes by rain and large hail shafts and could not safely follow close enough to see anything. While pulled over trying to decide which way to go, one of the local TV stations (Newstrong 6) pulled up and interviewed me. I was later on TV. After the interview, I noticed yet another "Fist of God" going up toward Moody very rapidly and decided to chase down some FM roads. Took FM2837 northwest, then FM2113 southwest to Moody, Then FM317 south to Temple. Meanwhile the scanner was talking about tornadoes on the ground near Eddy then Troy and Pendleton. A tornado was reported on the ground at FM317 and Southland road just before I made it to Moody. I was still too far to see the funnel. As I drew close to Temple airport I could see yet another funnel cloud developing toward Morgans point and it was BIG. Fumbling with a Camera cooled by the truck air conditioner (the lens were fogging up faster than I could wipe them off, next time the air conditioner will be off when close to storms) I was able to take three or four pictures at the rest stop on FM317 just north of Temple Airport before very large hail started landing all around me. Again, I had to run away from excellent view of the tornado to stay safe. The pictures will most likely be poor due to bad contrast and foggy lenses. I retreated to FM317 and Southland road for several minutes while marble size hail continued to fall on me from the storm now several miles away. I farmer continued to plow the field at this intersection through all of this. At the same time, Dene was viewing the Morgan's Point tornado from the roof of King's Daughters Hospital in Temple. She said that at first it looked like a tall building in the fog, but quickly took shape and developed into a huge, multiple vortex tornado. She was extremely excited, but frustrated that she did not have her camera. HAM radio operators were continuing to report a LARGE tornado on the ground just west of Belton, then at lake Stillhouse. As it moved south, I continued the chase from a safe distance of about 7 miles. Took FM317 south to 6th street to I35 south at Belton. Going through Belton caused me to lose quite a bit of time. I followed the storm down I35 to Salado. At Salado, DPS had closed I35 (people were driving right into the storm apparently unaware of the tornado not visible but on the other side of the rain shafts). DPS and HAM reports were still coming in about a very large tornado just south of Salado (exit 280 and 279). Since I35 was blocked, I jumped over to FM2843 southwest, then FM487 southeast to Jarrell, attempting to go around and get in front of the storm. I was too late, arriving in Jarrell about 4:00PM within moments of the most devastating tornado in the series. I just missed it, but survive to chase yet another day. With the numerous emergency vehicles and the fury of the storm, I was pretty sure that some people died, but had no idea it was as many as it was. The weather radio was indicating another tornadic storm just northeast of Waco. The large back-sheared tower was very impressive driving north on I35 from Jarrell. I decided to pick up Dene at work. We took 36 east from Temple at 5:00 PM, then FM437 north, then FM320 north to Marlin. We caught up with this storm near Marlin. It was much better chasing with a partner but visibility was poor (less than two miles) and it was becoming difficult to stay in front of the shelf cloud, so we decided to call it a day about 6:15PM.
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