Chase Summary, 4/19/95

From: WAMJK@ttacs.ttu.edu
Subject: Tornado on 4-19-95

Chase account on April 19, 1995:

I departed Lubbock around noon and drove southeast on highway 84 in search of the warm front/dryline intersection. At that time the warm front was located between Abilene and San Angelo and I expected the front to move north as the surface low moved east. The dryline was located from near Lubbock and extended southward to just east of Midland. A few miles north of Snyder I broke out of the soup and encountered strong southeast winds with towering cumulus to my immediate southwest. I turned east out of Snyder on highway 180 at approximately 1:30 pm. At 1:53 pm I stopped on highway 180 12 miles east of Snyder and observed a developing CB about 15 miles to my west-northwest. The developing towers were quite tilted but were becoming more upright with time. The new thunderstorm was moving northeast at a pretty good clip and I decided to stay in front of the storm as much as possible. Entering the town of Rotan at 2:26 pm I decided to move north on highway 70 toward Jayton. The storm was about 10 miles to my west as I moved north and was becoming better developed with time. The rain free base was expanding but little in the way of precipitation was falling northeast of the updraft. Large rain drops began to fall as I moved east on highway 380. Things were becoming more complicated. East of Jayton heavier precipitation started to fall apparently from a newly developed storm to my southwest obscuring my view to the west. Still moving east strato-cumulus cloud bands started racing to the west. At 3:22 pm plumes of dust were being caried into the storm on the toes of increased inflow. I turned north on route 1646 near the town of Swenson and stopped about two miles north of highway 380 as an apparent cell meger occurred at 3:30 pm. At that time I observed the first wall cloud and possible funnel cloud 8-10 miles to my west-southwest. The first hint of a rear flank downdraft appeared as a clear slot in the lowering. The inflow started increasing once again as I moved east on a dirt road at 3:45 pm. While moving east a new rotating wall cloud developed about 5 miles to the southwest. At this point I called in my report to the Lubbock WSFO which was immediately relayed to WSO Abilene. A severe thunderstorm warning had just been issued and was upgraded to a tornado warning. As the wall cloud moved to my northwest a rear flank downdraft developed. At 3:56 pm a weak tornado developed less than one mile northwest of my position as a dust whirl underneath the rotating wall cloud. By 4:00 pm the tornado had dissipated.

After the tornado dissipated I moved east again and emerged onto highway 83 north of Aspermont. I turned north and watched the storm pass the road in front of me as it continued to move to the northeast. There my chase ended. Roads became few and far between and the storm left me behind.

Bruce Haynie

WSFO Lubbock