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February 23, 2007 Storm Chase

Chased with Scott Bell today. We left thinking we would head west on I-40 and jog north towards Woodward, Ok or south towards Childress, Tx. I had been thinking the area from Woodward and just west of there would be the prime area. Once we got past Elk City I noticed that there were some cumulus going up along the dryline from just into southwest Kansas all the way down towards Big Springs, Tx. More importantly was the area of enhanced cumulus that was near Lubbock, Tx. Once we saw this we decided to head for Childress, Tx. From there we would be in good postition to get onto anything that came out of the enhanced cu field.

While we were going through Childress the first radar echoes began showing and just past Childress we were able to see some thin wispy anvils just after 4pm. A little after 430pm the cells began to show up stronger on radar and we centered in on a storm that was on the northern end of the area of showers and shown below.
and satellite and radar with position estimate for same time.

More storms were becoming organized just south of our storm and more cells were going up further south from there.

The storms werent quite as fast as I was expecting so we got into position fairly quickly. Looking west from between Hedley and McLean, Tx - we saw a weak updraft base.

And a little bit later, same storm, but from north of McLean, Tx

By this time, however, our storm was now basically in a bunch of other crap and becoming somewhat indiscernible so we questioned for a few minutes on whether to shoot south and get on a nice storm just a bit farther south. We were a bit hesitant but finally we started south. We were on Hwy 273 and we took that to Hwy 2473. From there we went about 6 miles to Hwy 1443 south. Luckily though we didnt make it far enough before we looked to our right and saw this!

We were within a couple miles of I-40. We pulled over for a couple minutes then decided to go ahead and backtrack towards the tornado. We seem to be about 5 1/2 miles east of the tornado.

And then it began roping out and soon it was gone.

Here is video of the Tornado

After looking at radar next day... The storm we were originally on moved north of I-40 north of McLean. It began dissapating and getting caught in more convective junk. Meanwhile, another storm was coming quickly in from the southwest on same path towards McLean. While we were pulling off the first storm and heading towards the larger more intense southern storm northwest of Childress, the storm that was moving on the same path towards McLean as the first storm we were on produced the tornado as it was a few miles north of McLean. The storm that produced the tornado continued into northeast Oklahoma.

We continued back towards the storm and soon we were on the backside looking east.

We were just hoping that we would get some storms during the late afternoon and then shoot lightning all the way back to Arkansas. So getting a tornado during the day was definately unexpected. I thought if any storms developed during the day they would be much more intense than what we observed but considering its February I am certainly happy! There wasnt much lightning with the storms so we went ahead and headed home after sunset.

Here is a picture off of the new toy showing our chase route..