Texas Storm Chasing

5/22/16 – Texas Panhandle

Chasing in the Texas Panhandle is always a great experience. If not for the storms, then for the rolling hills and plains, the Caprock, and winding roads through the wilderness. It was a long trip from Michigan to Texas with my good friend Cort behind the wheel. This would be the first official chase day for us. There was a very long Slight Risk area issued by the SPC which extended from Canada to Mexico. Within this corridor, there were 3 places of real significant interest. One area in the Nebraska/South Dakota region. One area in Kansas, and another area in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. The SPC would eventually upgrade a large portion of the Texas panhandle to an Enhanced Risk. We had already decided to play the setup in the Texas panhandle, and here’s what we saw. First, some very nice towers began building, and the first storms of the day sprang to life.

It wasn’t long before the storms really started becoming widespread, and we wanted to avoid big hail. With rather limited roads in certain areas, especially south of Clarendon, TX, we had to choose our routes carefully to stay out of the downdrafts as much as possible. While driving around them though, we were treated to some beautiful sights, including crepuscular rays, illuminated rain/hail shafts, and low angle rainbows over the fields and wind farms.

Illuminated rain/hail shafts

Low angle rainbow

Crepuscular rays

This was an especially brilliant rainbow we saw as we headed toward some of the storms near Clarendon. One of the best rainbows I had ever witnessed personally.

We were also treated to another phenomenon called anti-crepuscular rays. The display was wonderful as we drove in and around the storms. It was almost as if the sky was ready to beam us up. We also saw another very nice illuminated rain/hail shaft.

After this amazing ray display, the storms closed in on us, and started producing quite a bit of lightning. One strike of significance which is in the screenshot at the top of this article, I caught on video, and it was absolutely fantastic. Here is that video, which also contains a slowed down instant replay of the strike.

After a lot of driving, and getting cut off by storm cores, and even some road flooding, we weren’t able to see any tornadoes, but we definitely had a great day of chasing and seeing amazing structure and nature scenes all day long. As we drove toward Amarillo, TX where we would eventually spend the night, we were treated to a few more storm scenes, and a stunningly awesome sunset.

Ominous stormy scenes at the sun began to sink low in the western sky.

Some nasty looking storm clouds back toward the east from where we came, looking out the passenger side window.

Gorgeous scene ahead as we neared the edge of the convective clouds.

The sun setting as we drove toard Amarillo on a Texas highway.

Amazing view of the sunset lit anvils back to our east as we were just outside of Amarillo, TX

More of the sunset anvils to the east.

The high clouds from leftover anvils turned to fire in the western sky as the sun slowly faded below the horizon.

Below is the chase video from this day. Saw some beautiful scenes, some lightning, heavy rainfall, and street flooding.

Below is the SPC verification from this day. As you can see, plenty of severe weather reports in the Texas panhandle. All in all, a great first day, and the first of a string of really good days to come.

If you enjoyed reading this article and seeing all of the photos and videos, consider dropping a “tip” at paypal.me/chuckrussell333. Thanks for your support!

Chuck Russell

I shoot photos and videos of various different types of events related to weather, nature, motorsports, breaking news, and more and share what I capture with the world at StormyPleasures.com

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