Michael Thompson's Storm Chase Diary
23nd May 2007 - Lipscomb County, Texas, HP Supercell

All photos (except video stills ) clickable for larger size

A supercell forms just west of Woodward, Oklahoma
Rotating updraft near Laverne
A supercell forms just west of  Woodward, Oklahoma

Rotating updraft near Laverne

After a night in Salina, Kansas I checked the models and predictions for the 23rd. A moderate tornado risk watch was over the northern Texas Panhandle.

I did not think that the drive down to Texas Panhandle would be that long, again I was wrong. I headed southwest through towns I had only seen in books and TV, Great Bend, and Dodge City. I was originally going to keep heading straight SW, but I liked what I saw southwards.

I hung around Woodward for a while trying to access the situation. Severe storm warnings went out for a large storm in the NE Texas panhandle. However a cell exploded ( and I mean exploded ) just west of Woodward.  Looking south I could see that the anvil outflow from the panhandle storm would eventually kill my storm, but at this early stage the Oklahoma cell was sitting free. I could not resist, I knew 90% of the either chasers were in Texas, so I went for the Oklahoma=lahoma cell. The gamble near paid. There were a few chasers on this cell not many, but one had doppler and the news report was quite stern in its warning that rapid rotation was occurring in the cell.

I chased the cell northwards and encountered very large hail on the ground. Despite the obvious rotation, no tornado developed. By now the anvil mass from the panhandle storms was invading and convection shutting down, therefore it was time to join the crowd in Texas.

Hail from the Oklahoma cell
Massive inflow band to the Lipscomb county storm
Hail from the earlier Oklahoma cell Massive inflow band into the Lipscomb county HP storm
Beautiful HP structure
Lovely cloud tags, but no tornado
Beautiful HP structure, but how it refused to drop a tornado had everyone wondering

I headed SW into Texas. At first there was little structure to be seen, other than an anvil stretching way upstream, but slowly a very long inflow band appeared.  When I mean long I mean many, many miles or kilometres. I have never seen such inflow before in my life.

Along with scores of other chasers I pulled over and watched this slow moving storm. It was obvious that anything, or anyone in the core was getting battered - later reports suggested upwards of 6 inches of rain a Wolf Creek.

Despite the structure the storm simply refused to drop a tornado. I started to get dark and the storm even seemed to realise this weakening rapidly and moving off NE.

Although now weakening I was very interested in this phase
The storm now outflow dominated
Although the storm is weakening I am interested in the structure to the right centre

The storm is now otflow dominated

The storm now outflow dominated
Panorama of the HP supercell
I let the storm pass by, before I head north Panorama of the HP Supercell

I headed back to Woodward to spend the night. It appeared that every other chaser on the face of the earth had similar intent I failed to find a single room. So I hit the road yet again, finally finding a room in Clinton, Oklahoma at midnight.