April 28, 2016


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Childress, TX
El Reno, OK 12:20 AM 4/27/2016
Vernon, TX 10:55 PM 4/28/2016
Floydada, TX; Paducah, TX
0 mph
RFD Clear Slot, LP Tower


Marginal upslope play on the Texas Caprock. Intercepted high based supercell near Floydada noting inflow dust, lowering, and hail shafts. Shot photogenic supercell structure west of Paducah before storm dissipated.

Crew and Equipment

Solo chase. Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon t2i, Canon EFS 10-22, Canon EF 50mm, Sony HDR-xr500v.




There are certain inevitable things in life that I have come to accept. One of them is that I can spend a week roaming around the southern plains in search of tornadoes only for there to be a pretty tornado less than an hour from my house back in Illinois. It's happened many times in the past, and it will happen many times more in the future I'm sure of it. And I even know it's going to happen. A real outside chance on what's supposed to be a downer day, but there it is: a warm front draped across Illinois ready to surprise. Yet I still let it go. I'm out here in Oklahoma to chase the big days that wind up busting. Why would I drive all the way back to Illinois for such a marginal play only to turn around and have to come all the way back to Oklahoma? I'm sure this trend will continue, with a Thursday and Friday bust down here, followed by tornadoes in Oklahoma once I go home. But that's alright. I've learned to roll with the punches and appreciate other things in life. Like turtles. Day 4 living in the van in the Great Plains. I camped on a deserted road south of Minco, OK. I was checking data in the driver's seat this morning when I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. I turn to look and here is this big snapper just walking down the road like, "don't mind me." After I took his picture I visited the Twistex memorial outside of El Reno. I love how many chasers stop there. I made six new friends today. It's really become a gathering point for the chase community and has brought a lot of people together.
My fifth day living in the van and chasing storms, April 28 looked like a real modest play with only a 2% tornado from the SPC. The setup featured upslope flow across the Texas Caprock, marginal moisture, and a shortwave trough. Despite the marginal parameters and forecast, these are the kinds of setups that get me excited. Just enough ingredients on the Caprock can lead to some real photogenic magic. I was hoping for a pretty storm, and this day did not disappoint.

Developing Storm
8 miles SE of Floydada, TX
5:25 PM
Winds were howling on the Caprock. I caught a developing storm near Floydada. It had a high base, but it was solid and texture. The updraft was even lifting some dust off of the ground (left).

Inflow and Updraft
8 miles SE of Floydada, TX
5:39 PM
A lowering condensed down from the storm's base to meet the inflow rising up to it. The display was mesmerizing and the storm seemed to be gaining strength.

Hailshaft Rd.
5 miles ESE of Floydada, TX
5:54 PM
Moving north and east I came upon a road that seemed to line up with a hail shaft.

Inflow Dust
Matador, TX
6:50 PM
A big plume of red dust getting pulled into the storm's base by strong inflow winds.

Photogenic Supercell
6 miles WSW of Paducah, TX
7:29 PM
Heading east toward Paducah I passed a number of chasers and a brushfire in the distance. The smoke was interacting with the storm's winds, getting pulled into the base or pushed away by outflow. Once I got a few miles ahead of the storm, the supercell structure lit by gorgeous evening light emerged. This is the shot I wanted out of the day, and I was able to capture a nice time lapse sequence.
I stopped for Mexican in Vernon and bumped into a father-son chase team, chatted for awhile, and then found a quiet camping spot north of town.


This was a real low expectations day with the hopes of just getting a pretty storm shot, and the Caprock did not disappoint. The supercell structure time lapse made this chase for me, and this day wound up being the most photogenic day of the whole trip.

Lessons Learned

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