Brian Curran's April 12, 1996 Chase


Here's a portion of a email I sent to Roger Edwards and Rich Thompson:

          Ugly bags of mostly water:

          Beth and I left Bedford about 8:30 pm with the idea of going
          ne toward McKinney, getting ahead of whatever was out there,
          and doing some lightning photography.  We got into McKinney
          about the time the SVR went up for Denton county to our west.
          I decided it best to go east to Farmersville and take TX78
          south, giving me some latitude to go southeast of Dallas
          should the stuff sw of FTW take over.  We stopped on a portion
          of old TX78 about a half-mile north of FM 1778.  Overlooking
          Lake Lavon, I squeezed off a half dozen looking west, but
          there just wasn't a whole lot of CG stuff, but it was nearly
          continuous IC in the anvil.  I told Beth that this sure looked
          a lot like a late May storm from the amount of electrical
          activity.  Winds at this time were east at 15 to 20 kts.

          About this time we heard the TOR for Denton county, and KRLD
          was reporting backbuilding south into Dallas.  We moved south
          into Rockwall on TX205, where I could get onto eastbound I20
          or southbound TX205 if necessary.  Coming into town, we
          encountered about 30 seconds' worth of chuncky raindrops.  We
          stopped at a Sonic and opted to ride out the hail if any
          should come.  We were there long enough to get a large cherry
          limeade.  Something, what I don't know what, told me to go
          north.  We hadn't been on 205 more than a minute when I could
          see a ripped wall cloud about 10 miles north.  The structure
          was occasionally lit by lightning, and the best I can say is
          that it looked like a classic/LP hybrid...looking north, I
          could never see precip wrapping around the western quarter of
          the updraft.

          We went back to TX66 in Rockwall, then east to Fate.  Found a
          great spot about a half mile north of 30, and set up looking
          north over a pasture.  Despite the damned sodium lights a few
          miles away, I think I might have captured one or two good
          frames out of the 16 I shot.  The first circulation began to
          occlude (I guess) and a new one formed on its flank about 8
          miles nnw.  At this point, I thought about reloading with some
          Sensia 100, but 1.) the storm was moving northeast pretty
          quick, and 2.) both Beth and I had to visit the head.

          We went into Royse City, found a Texaco, then moved northeast
          on TX66 toward Greenville.  The storm started to peter out at
          this point, and I could see LTGIC back to my distant SW.  We
          got about halfway between Caddo Mills and Greenville before
          blowing off the storm and heading back home.  We got in about
          1:30 after about 180 miles and what might be a fruitful chase.
          I'm dropping off the film to Kodak in the morning...will let
          you know how they turn out.