Chase Day: March 28, 2007
Briscoe - Donley Co., Texas Tornadoes
By Martin Lisius
A nice, cyclonically-curved middle to upper-level jet stream was scheduled to be in place across West Texas by afternoon on March 28, 2007. Models were forecasting a dryline and good instability. The Storm Prediction Center was predicting a severe weather outbreak, with tornadoes, from West Texas to western Nebraska. Where to go? I opted for the area where the jet winds were most perpendicular to the dryline. My target? Childress, Texas.
As I approached Childress, around 3:00 PM CDT, I had decided upon Silverton as my updated target, based on information and opinions from William Reid, who was watching the weather from his forecast center in California.
Upon arrival in Estelline, I noticed two towers going up rapidly in the sun to my immediate east and north. Bill said, "forget those" and look toward the southwest. Better air awaited in that direction. Soon, a cell popped up not far from Plainview. I headed west to Turkey and spotted a tornado to my southwest just after 5:00 PM. This was the storm just southwest of Silverton. I drove up onto the Caprock and watched a black cone shaped tornado move up and down. It soon became difficult to see in a curtain of rain, as it passed near Silverton, just to my west. A new storm had formed to the southeast that looked even better. So, down to Quitaque I headed where I watched another tornado develop and dissipate, followed by a new area of circulation right in front of me, to my west. This new circulation spawned a fairly long-lived tornado, peaking with a fat, sun-lit tube in Caprock Canyons State Park. That tornado crossed the Red River and turned a ghostly white in the sun as it roped out northwest of Lakeview while yet another new circulation formed in front of my position, just to my west. It was obvious by that time that the storm was a cyclic supercell, developing one circulation as the older one occluded. The new circulation produced a tornado just west of Hedley which roped out at dark. I noted very strong east-southeast inflow and a deserted town at Hedley. It was eerie there with all the windows darkened and the wind whistling through the wires.
It was somewhat difficult to count the tornadoes since they had a "bouncy" nature to them. At times, condensation or dust confirmed a tornado, while at other times there was merely a funnel halfway to the ground. It was tough determining when a tornado began and ended.
As dark arrived, I departed the greater Hedley metro area for home. As I was outbound, I was met by an incoming convoy of CoT's, complete with flashing lights and spinning things, driving down the center double yellow stripe right at me. Also, I noticed a large group of citizen chasers that had amassed alongside the road (always traveling in a group, pointing this way and that at the sky). I left the circus in my rearview mirror and relished the memory of the more natural setting the storm had passed through hours earlier.
See this footage at www.stormstock.com