Sunday, May 14, 2017

April 11 2016 Chase Log


An initially promising day with a readily-apparent OFB draped across north Texas. A supercell rode the boundary for well over an hour and almost managed to become fully surface-based but never appeared to be able to fully get ingest the boundary and get into the unstable air south of it. The storm would go on to drop some gorilla hail in Denton where we decided to stop for some good burgers at Rooster's Roadhouse.

An interesting triple point setup began to take shape roughly 2 days before this setup. A subtle impulse was progged to run right through the S. Plains. This day ended up being my first jaunt into the state of Texas for the year with Austin King, Kelton Halbert, Corey Godine and Sean Ernst.

We rolled out of Norman relatively early, around 11 AM CDT to head towards north Texas where an OFB from an earlier convective complex was setting up juxtaposed with the dryline. The 18Z sounding from FWD appeared promising and we made our way down I-35 with an initial target of Nocona, TX.

Although winds appeared a bit weak, initial thoughts concluded that boundary interactions and a gradual increase/backing of sfc winds ahead of the dryline might be able to pop out a tornadic supercell.

By the time we arrived in Texas at roughly 19Z, initiation was underway at the intersection of the OFB and dryline near Archer City. We moved west along US 82 towards St Jo. At this point, it became apparent that the storm was hugging the OFB and drifting ESE. After entering St Jo, we made a run for Montague/Bowie down Texas 59. We got our first view of the storm on Texas 59 between Montague and Bowie.

The storm appeared outflowish with little indication of much low-level action in the updraft region. This continued as we traipsed southwest towards Bowie, with the storm never appearing to overtake the OFB.

We cut southeast at Bowie on US 287 as the storm began to leave us in its dust. The storm became tornado warned at this point but was still visibly suffering from being on the northern end of the OFB, with a raggedy and feature-less base. However, the steep lapse rates overspreading the dryline came into play as the storm began to show signs of some serious hail. We noted a decent amount of hail falling from the storm's RFD as we continued towards Sunset.

The terrain was generally awful along this stretch and playing catch-up didn't provide any additional photo opportunities. At Alvord, we again cut east as the storm began to maintain a more easterly course and took to the county roads near Greenwood and Slidell. We were never able to fully get in front of the storm as it headed for Denton but by this point it was a full blown hailer. We experienced golf ball sized hail with some tennis balls mixed in as we attempted to beat the storm to I-35. We entered Krum and then Denton unsuccessful and still being battered by hail. At this point, we began to give up as traveling across Denton with rush hour and large hail blocking an easy way across the town.

After letting the storm drift to the east towards worse terrain and worse roads, we settled down and decided on a place to eat. Austin, being from Denton, decided to treat us to the brisket burgers at Rooster's Roadhouse and we enjoyed a heart disease-inducing dinner before driving home to Norman.

Chase Stats
Miles Driven: 389
Cost: $25
Tornadoes: 0
Hail: Tennis ball (2.50")
Winds: ~30 mph

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