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A Storm Chasers Perspective

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Tuesday, May 28th, A Storm Chasers Perspective

The day was primed for severe weather as plenty of heat and humidity poured into the area in the wake of a retreating dry line. By the afternoon hours the first supercell of the day formed in the southwest panhandle near Friona pounding the city (and us!) with golfball to tennis ball hail.  This storm quickly died out as another supercell formed in western Deaf Smith county near Bootleg. This storm quickly produced a rope tornado, then baseball hail that did significant damage to our stormchase van.

This storm started moving very slowly to the northeast as the third and most powerful supercell of the day formed along the Texas/New Mexico state line north of Farwell. This storm quickly intensified and started producing tornadoes in west central Deaf Smith county. As the storm continued to intensify it made a right turn and started moving due east towards the Amarillo metro area.

I typically do not chase tornadic storms after dark but this was a very special case as a populated area was being threatened. At this point I positioned myself west of Amarillo on Arnot road where I had a very good look at the wall cloud. Within a few minutes of setting up I observed a very distinct funnel cloud hanging down from the storm just south of Bushland.  After a few minutes this funnel dissipated and about ten minutes later another funnel cloud formed and lasted for about two minutes before dissappearing.

This is when I repositioned to I-40 and the mall. Looking off to the west I could see many low hanging clouds associated with the cold wind rushing out from the storm and I could also hear the roar of the large hail as it was moving into the west side of town. Studying the clouds closely I could not see any more rotation from my vantage point. As I continued to stay ahead of the storm I could easily keep an eye on almost the entire leading edge of the storm as it moved across the city. All the low hanging clouds that I could see were outflow driven; this means the clouds were forming on the rain cooled air and were being sucked up into the updraft. When this happens it is a good indicator that the tornado potential is rapidly falling off. This also means that the storm is becoming much more of a wind and hail threat along with the potential for flooding.

I continued to follow the storm well east of Amarillo and noticed that the trend continued to show hail and straight line winds as the primary threats, the storm was also weakening steadily as it moved towards Pampa.


Allan Gwyn
Newschannel10 Meteorologist

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  • Allan Gwyn

    Allan Gwyn

    A native Texan, Allan was born and raised in the Amarillo area. A graduate of Canyon High School he also attended WTAMU and earned his Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University.
    A native Texan, Allan was born and raised in the Amarillo area. A graduate of Canyon High School he also attended West Texas State University and earned his Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University.