Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 1 Recap (Tornado!)

Video of Storm 1 Rotation

Yesterday we got to see more than expected.  After leaving Houston, we got caught behind both a State Trooper and Construction truck that slowed us down a little as we headed towards the San Antonio area.  However, if not for these occurrences, we may have missed the elusive tornado.  The first storm that we arrived at was just north of Three Rivers, TX.  Immediately, we could tell that it had great rotation.  Within minutes, it began dropping several different funnel clouds and shortly after, a brief tornado appeared!  For most of us, this was our first tornado that we have seen.  As the storm got closer, we decided to re-position ourselves so we could stay with this storm.  At our second location, we could see more funnel clouds, and possibly a few more tornadoes, but they were difficult to see because trees they were somewhat rain-wrapped.

Group with Storm 1

Panoramic of Storm 1

Group in Front of Tornado (look close for debris on ground)

We let the first storm go after this because there were more storms coming along behind the first one on what appeared to be on the moisture boundary.  We were heading back to the original location that we saw the first storm, but found a better viewing location along the way so we stopped.  While this storm looked equally as impressive, it did not produce any tornadoes however, it was an impressive site with some incredible lightning.

Storm 2

After the second storm we headed to Beeville, TX.  Here, we watched two supercells merged into each other to form a small MCS.  This only lasted for a brief moment before they separated and became supercells again. Due to the general lack of rotation of these storms with some small hail possible, we decided to let the storm fly over us so we could see the inside of a supercell's structure.

Beeville Storm

After about 30 minutes, we decided to call it a day and head towards our stopping point for the night in Victoria, TX.  While on the road, we passed through a section of Bee County that was experiencing some mild flash flooding.

When we got to our hotel and settled in, the storms were not over.  After a few minutes, we experienced more hail at our hotel.  It was only a little larger than pea size, but it was enough for us to scoop up in our hands and get our pictures taken.  All in all, this was an incredible first day of chasing.  After hearing other chasing stories, it has really been a humbling experience to know that what happened to us today is a rare experience.  With that, we are looking forward to the rest of the chase!  Will post more soon.

Hail at Hotel!

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