22 May 2016: Spearman, Texas, tornadoes and wild wind
May 22, 2016: Kathy Velasquez and I targeted the north-central Texas Panhandle today. Two tornadoes, including a large one that went from a wedge/fat cone to a multivortex beast, were the payoff for a crazy day of colliding storms and camera issues, along with filming while being blasted with wind and rain and dodging peril as rear-flank downdraft winds knocked down telephone poles (watch the video for the grungy results). Photography was challenging to say the least, but it was a visceral experience in person.
This is video - including time-lapses - of grungy tornadoes and wild winds that made for a crazy close encounter near Spearman, Texas, on May 22, 2016. For best quality, click on gear symbol at lower right of video and choose 1080HD. Video by Chris Kridler.
Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.
We targeted the north-central Texas Panhandle, stopping in Dumas to gas up and look at the clouds.
We headed east and eyed the towering cumulus clouds.
We hung out with chaser friends as the clouds developed.
Chasers chat as a budding storm gets a mushroom-cloud appearance behind them.
Ah, yes! We decided to go after this pretty storm to the northeast.
The storm looked interesting, with a lowering and rotation, as it moved over a wheat field.
As more cells were ingested into the storm, it would briefly look more exciting and then get messy again.
Rain and hail fell, lightning was intense, but the storm still teased us.
After another stormy collision, near the end of the day, it got interesting again - with real rotation. We tried to figure out where to look.
We had a terrible view of the first tornado.
We sped east and tried to catch up to the next one - a wedge/fat cone.
Rain blasted into the car as I tried to get a few shots of the multi-vortex tornado.
For a bit, it looked like a nice cone, but it was all obscured by rain - one reason my photos look so grungy. That and the continuing blast of wind and rain into the car.
Afterward, we moved east to see the storm's incredible structure. I simply couldn't capture all the long inflow bands streaming into the storm.
Here's a shot (a panorama of three images) from Canadian, Texas, looking northwest near sunset.