16 May 2016 / Texas Panhandle Supercells

Looking southwest from 13.0 miles southeast of Canadian, TX (8:54 pm CDT)

Looking southwest from 13.0 miles southeast of Canadian, TX (8:54 pm CDT)

We crossed into the Texas Panhandle on I-40 at 3 pm, and ended up stopping in Groom around 4:30 pm.  Our hope was that an east/west boundary near I-40 would be the focus for severe thunderstorms, but that didn’t end up being the case.  For an hour, we watched storms on radar near the western end of the Oklahoma Panhandle.  By 5:30 pm, we had given up on the I-40 play and started west toward, and north from Amarillo.

Tornado production was done by the time we met up with out first storm near Cactus just before 7 pm.  We found one storm in the lead that may have still been surface based, but a broken line of storms that extended to our west was clearly elevated above outflow that had been racing south.  We were able to jump in front of the lead storm – a high precipitation supercell – as it tracked across Spearman toward Canadian.

By the time the storms reached western Oklahoma, a solid line had evolved with some impressive storms embedded in the line.  We allowed one storm to pass over us at Durham, Oklahoma to see what kind of hail it had.  We were disappointed to find no stones larger than one inch, and even more disappointed that we allowed the line to surge east of us.  We never made it back in front and the resulting drive home was through high winds and heavy rain all the way back to Okarche.  One of the main problems that arises when you allow yourself to be overtaken by storms.