After chasing after tornadoes in the plains much of the spring, I semi-stumbled on one right in my backyard yesterday! At 7:30PM Friday, I was at work at TWC, when a severe tstm warning was issued for our county. I decided to go driving in search of some hail. After driving no more than 1 mile west and northwest of TWC, I was south of a very dark core with frequent CGs, when lo and behold, I looked to my west and witnessed a lowering with strong upward motion and rotation, although there was no "classic" funnel. I was in its path, so I could not stick around to watch, so I blasted north. After a half mile, I looked back to the south, and rain mostly obscured my view, but there were strong NE winds and I saw a power flash. There was no visible damage back down the road I was on, but a Dairy Queen and other structures were damaged right where I saw the lowering earlier about 1 mile to the west! So it is my first eastern tornado, but I have no video or pictures, since the "chase" was so impromptu.
I think that this tornado was caused by some sort of cell merger, since the synoptic situation was not favorable for tornadoes, and I doubt a supercell was involved.
Matt Crowther TWC
Gilbert's note: Radar did indicate that the two storms Matt was chasing did indeed merge. -Ed.