May 26, 2014: Tornado-warned rotating southwest Texas storms
May 26, 2014: Today, Peggy Willenberg and I hopped east to Stanton, Texas, from our starting point in Midland to keep an eye on developing storms. We ran into friends there, including Dave Lewison, Scott McPartland, Robert Balogh, John Mann, Anemometer Steve Barabas, and The Weather Network's Mark Robinson, Jaclyn Whittal and Michel Millaire, whom we met on and off all day. We targeted a storm to the northwest and chased it for a while, then switched to a storm developing behind it. It was a day of stunning structure and rotating features, some of them dusty, and while many of these spinups were reported as tornadoes, we didn't see any tornado I'd hang on the wall of fame.
Video of tornado-warned southwest Texas storms on May 26, 2014. For best quality, click on gear symbol at lower right of video and choose 720HD. Video by Chris Kridler.
Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.
In Stanton, Texas, on I-20, Peggy and I met up with friends, keeping an eye on developing storms to the northwest.
We committed to a severe storm that developed a tornado warning as we approached, west of Lenorah.
We went back east a short distance and north of Lenorah to get a better look.
It appeared a possible wall cloud with rotation was almost dragging on the ground. Huge amounts of dust were being kicked up.
Here's a slightly wider shot.
The lowering crosses the road.
It advances farther, and we decide to take a northeast road out of Lenorah to stay in front of it.
Peggy drives her Prairie Schooner, trying to stay ahead of the hail core.
We stopped for a look at the advancing storm.
Here, you see Peggy, left, and Ericka Gray checking out the storm. There were many, many chasers on the scene.
Another look at the storm moves southeast.
This was shot as we fled south on 87. Nice "greenage" in the hail core!
The storm looked toothy.
Such a pretty storm!
The tornado-warned beast had lots of hail.
Green color like this often signifies hail in a storm.
Here's an interesting feature on the leading edge.
As we got into Big Spring, we opted to let this storm pass to our northeast and go after the next one coming from the west.
Here's a first look at Storm No. 2 over the Big Spring train yard.
What an updraft and anvil! South of Big Spring, we dropped south on 33 to get ahead of it.
We stopped to look at the lowerings under the base.
The base looked interesting.
This appeared to be a developing wall cloud.
The wall cloud looked very serious as we turned east at Garden City and stopped just beyond the intersection. This is looking west-northwest.
Some chasers said they saw a multi-vortex tornado about this time. (Time of photo: 6:04 p.m. CDT, shot just east of Garden City looking northwest.) We certainly saw the dust under the base that you can see here, and my impression was that it was rotating, but this was not a very persistent tornado - if it was one.
Still, it looked pretty ominous.
The wall cloud nears.
We opt to move down the road a bit.
The green is still in there, suggesting large hail.
Peggy checks out the storm.
We got into some frustrating hills that obscured the storm.
Still, interesting features began to emerge under the base.
In the green light under the middle, a funnel-shaped cloud (real or not) appeared.
It was persistent.
The funnel-like feature extended toward the ground, but we could not see the ground. There was another tornado report around this time.
Later, we meet up with friends - among them Bill Hark, center, and Robert Balogh, beside Peggy.
Scott McPartland, left, and Dave Lewison look skeptical. Later, they will allow themselves to be cored by big hail just for fun.
The line of storm-chasing vehicles.
The storm began to assume a stacked-plates appearance. It appeared that the storm behind this one was pulling inflow around it in a swoosh of cloud.
Toothy scud clouds under the base were suggestive of funnels.
Now the plates were getting really nice, about 7:30 p.m. CDT.
Another look at the beautiful striations and wall cloud.
Look at the layers extend and stretch.
The storm was weakening, or at least pulsing down. Here, the Prairie Schooner (Peggy's Suburban) is parked in front of it.
Yep, it was going to cross the road, but it was losing gas.
Bill Hark and Peggy Willenberg check out the storm.
We opted not to play in the hail and instead headed northwest toward the sunset.
A weak rainbow appeared over the wind turbines.
And the sun set behind more wind turbines.
A very pretty sunset developed.
Peggy shoots the mammatus clouds that appeared.
Here are the mammatus clouds as darkness began to fall.
One more shot shows the pretty mammatus above the wind turbines.