Sunday, October 4, 2015

March 19, 2015 Chase Log


The first chase of the year on a marginal day across northwest Texas in the worst road network imaginable. A rather positively tilted trough was swinging out of Baja and a small lead impulse was progged to push through the southern Plains with a cold front hot on it's heels. Modest moisture in the upper-50s/low-60s were rapidly returning northward throughout the morning. Instability looked marginal at best, hovering around 1500 j/kg ML throughout the period. Shear was lacking but increasing westerlies aloft coupled with some slight PVA across the region provided the possibility for at least pretty hailers. It seemed almost identical to the setup roughly a year earlier down near Coleman, Texas in mid-March.

We initially targeted Vernon and made our way out of Norman early in the morning. Thankfully we had a lot of time to kill as we were still in the middle of spring break. After snagging the usual lunch and WiFi from the Vernon McDonald's we mosied over to the Subway to chat with Jason Boggs. After chewing the fat for a little bit, we decided to dip south towards Seymour where a small, flat CU field was slowly taking shape. After a close run-in with a hog coming out of the insanely unpopulated canyon-land that is Baylor County, The CU field slowly began to beef up as moisture continued to pump in from the southeast. The issue at hand was the persistent cloud deck due to the rapid moisture return that morning.

The first hints of towers appeared out of the haze to our southwest towards Dundee. This would end up being the first tower to catch and we rapidly hauled through Baylor County to get on US 82 heading east. We eventually caught up with the storm as it struggled to maintain a base below 1750m.

After about 20 minutes of watching the storm crap itself out, we jaunted back west from whence we came as new development took hold near Benjamin. We caught the storms on US 183 in Baylor County once again, with 183 being the only road option. Outflow started rapidly hauling out of the storms that were crossing to our north and we decided to bail east once again for the only cell that had managed to stay organized, just west of Archer City.

We made good time and were able to catch up with the storm just past Windthorst. The storm looked to be the best of the day by far and actually had a centered, organized updraft.

As we came out of the rain, a lowered base with a hard cut presented itself. Rain bands were rapidly wrapping in and it actually appeared as though the storm might attempt to actually organize some weak spin in it's mid-levels.

The shear appeared to just be a bit too weak and the storm's cold downdraft shredded the storm. We attempted to stay out in front but got chased into the heavily wooded/hilly areas around Jacksboro before calling the chase. We slowly made our way back to SPS before making the two hour drive back to Norman.

Chase Stats
Miles Driven: 507.7
Cost; $20
Tornadoes: 0
Largest Hail: None
Highest Winds: 35-40 estimated