7/15/97 Chase by Greg Martin


From: "Greg Martin" (frodo@dallas.net): 

Gilbert,

Hi.  I've been a lurker at SCH, and on wx-chase for quite a while.  I'm a
novice chaser (but a responsible, safe one :), and I would like to submit
my first chase report.  It's not much, but my chase partner and I learned 
quite a bit from this one, not only with respect to meteorology, but
"chase logistics" and storm photography, too.

I also have a chase page at http://www.dallas.net/~frodo/chase.html, if
anyone's interested in that.

Thanks,
Greg Martin
frodo@dallas.net

Well, here's my report:

15 Jul 1997 Chase Summary

Route:
Left from my apartment in Dallas at about 4:15pm, to I-35E N, to US380 W, 
to TX101 N, to FM1749, to FM455/TX175, to US82 W, to TX148 N, to FM810, to
FM171 W, to FM1177W, to TX240 W, to FM368 S, to US82/287 E, to TX114E, to
TX121 N, to FM544 E, back to Dallas.  Total trip: 358 miles.


I'd been looking at surface maps all morning and early afternoon on this
day, and it looked to me (inexperienced as I am at forecasting) like 
north central TX should see some convection (from east of Dallas 
up into the Wichita Falls area). This was confirmed when the SPC 
updated the SWODY1 to include the DFW metroplex and much of 
northern TX in a slight risk area, and even more so when a severe
thunderstorm watch went up for that area.  So one of my chase partners and I
decided to go see what we could see.  We decided that northwest of DFW
would be the best direction to head, with a target area between Gainesville and
Wichita Falls.  Unfortunately, we couldn't leave until about 4pm (jobs and all
that). While  finishing up work, I was listening to my scanner, and occasionally
glancing out the ENE facing window of my 10th floor office located in Irving. 
As I'm listening to the RACES spotter network describe a storm moving into 
Dallas County from the NE moving SW (yes, moving SW.  I'm not going to 
argue with the 500mB chart...)

I see the neatest looking gust front coming our way. At that point, I knew
it was going to be a good day.

So, we left my apartment and headed NW.  It was really hazy around DFW, and
visibility was really poor, but we could make out towering Cu and Cbs to
the west and northwest, along with the remnants of the storm which had passed
through Dallas earlier, off to the south.  The whole time we were driving up
through Denton and Decatur, we could see towers trying to go up, and then fall 
apart. Finally, when we were near Bridgeport, we could see a nice one going up 
to the south.  It must have been near Mineral Wells, it was a good distance off.
It was a very crisp, solid looking storm.  There was also nice looking one to the
north, near Montague. We stopped just north of Bridgeport to take some photographs
of the two storms, and to decide which way to go from there.  

We decided to head NE and try to get around behind the Montague storm.  As 
we neared the storm, we could see a well defined base and rain shaft.  We
drove around to the east side of the storm giving it a wide berth, although it
didn't look terribly threatening.  It was a pretty run of the mill non-supercell
thunderstorm, but it did make for some nice photographs (and it was producing spectacular CGs here and there).  

As we were getting north of this storm, we noticed an even better looking
one off west of Wichita Falls, so we hopped on 82 and headed west.  It developed a
good anvil as we were driving toward it.  We went north on TX148 and found a
place to take photographs. We had a great view of this storm, and it looked ominous.

They were talking about strong storms in western Wichita county and northwestern
Archer, and I figured this was the one. We decided to try to follow it for
a while, and decided to go around Wichita Falls to the north.  This 
(and a pit stop) ended up being our downfall.  We had stopped in Burkburnett, 
and by the time we got back on the road, our storm looked like it had either 
gusted out, or had got eaten by outflow from another storm or something. 
All that was left was the anvil.  Since it was just about sunset, and we
had a long drive home we turned back toward Dallas. The anvil did 
give us some nice shots of mammatus on the way back, though.

What did we learn?  Well, don't expect anything to be left when in your
target area when you leave so late.  We probably should have gone to the 
Mineral Wells storm, we might have seen more.  I got a little more experience 
with forecasting (I'm still waiting for my Severe Local Storm Forecasting 
Primer to come in), and Chuck learned that pushing the red button also turns 
the video camera _off_.

Did we bust?  By some standards, probably yes. But as far as I'm
concerned, nope.  It was a great chase.

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