Storm Chases

April Fools’ chase near Benjamin, TX

April fools! Outlooks for this chase day in northwest Texas didn’t promise a whole lot. The chance of tornadoes was relatively low, and hailstorms were the most significant threat. At the end of the day, although no tornadoes occurred we were treated to quite a lightning and structure show. There was even a gustnado (small non-tornadic area of swirling dust and high winds associated with gust fronts) that chased us down Highway 82!

As we approached the storm, we were greeted by a mean-looking wall cloud that seemed like it wanted to drop a tornado at any minute.


We pulled off the road for some CG (cloud to ground) lightning strikes while we waited for the storm to get a bit closer.


We found a better vantage point among cacti and barbed wire to watch the whole supercell tighten up. (Note: when chasing in NW Texas, beware of rattlesnakes!)


Gustnadoes can still be a damaging threat, so we snapped a few shots and grabbed some video before it had a chance to chase us too far down 82. For a day that didn’t hold a lot of promise, it was still a gorgeous storm and one heck of an adrenaline rush!

West Texas storm chase, October 12, 2012

Damon Bearden and I journeyed to eastern New Mexico and west Texas on October 12 for a fall chase. We spent some time in Clovis, New Mexico meeting up with Kris Nation, a meteorologist with KFDA News Channel 10, the CBS affiliate in Amarillo. We’ve chased with the KFDA team on several occasions in the past. We find the opportunity to chase with members of the news media very rewarding. It enables us to better document the severe weather we observe, and it provides the media with more information about the weather situation to relay to their audience.

True to 2012, the day started out slow but we, along with many other chasers, stayed patient and waited. However, the storms did not begin to strengthen until after dark, and that’s not the safest time when you would want to chase storms. Tornadoes were spotted that night, but by a select few chasers. We took the daylight footage we had of the slowly developing storms and began the long journey back home to Norman.

We briefly chased a supercell near Plainview, Texas. It was quite picturesque at the base of the panhandle. While we didn’t see any October tornadoes that day, we witnessed some great storm structure and met up with some fun folks in the media.

KFDA’s storm chase vehicle in Clovis, NM