Category Archives: 1993

Stamford, TX Supercell – May 1, 1993

Supercell at Stamford, TX.

Supercell at Stamford, TX.

Over the past 10 years, I have developed quite an aversion to chasing in Northern Texas.  While it is possible that I could have better luck there chasing now (with all the improved technology), I don’t think I will ever get past how many disappointing chases I had during the 80′s and 90′s.

One of the better North Texas storms I have seen was this strongly rotating supercell near Stamford.  We never observed a tornado with it, but it apparently produced a large amount of softball size hail.  It certainly was mean looking enough.

Tri-State tornado day – May 5, 1993

11 years after my first storm chase, this day was just what the doctor ordered to make me believe that I could be at least a little bit successful at storm chasing.  I recognized the pattern, envisioned the evolution well, and maneuvered around supercells that tracked out of the Northern Texas Panhandle – across the Oklahoma Panhandle – and into Southwest Kansas.

I initially played storms that were forming in the immediate Liberal, Kansas area, but these never really had the desired look and I moved south toward storms across the Northern Texas Panhandle.  From about 12 miles east of Guymon, I observed a very large tornado to my southwest.  This first tornado of the day was on the ground for almost 30 minutes as it moved north northeast before weakening west of me.

As the first tornado weakened, several things started happening very fast.  First was seeing a distant tornado with another supercell that was west of my target storm.  Attention to this tornado, and another brief one a few minutes later was refocused to my original storm as it started to produce a classic Plains tornado close to Optima Lake.  This tornado was only on the ground for four minutes, but was very pretty as it danced across the open farmland.

It took another 23 minutes before the next tornado formed, which worked out well as it gave me a nice long period to observe in awe the incredible updraft structure the storm displayed.

When tornado number five formed, it immediately grew to very large proportions.  It would reach a width of 1200 yards and was on the ground for about 13 miles, with its final mileage logged in Kansas.  Tornado number six formed about four minutes before number five weakened and both were on the ground to the south and southeast of Hugoton, Kansas.  The sixth tornado was also very large and ended up receiving a rating of F4 as it passed near Moscow, Kansas.

It was a good feeling to go out and manage a big tornado day on my own.  It was also one of the last big events I would be a part of before roads started getting clogged with excessive numbers of storm chasers.