|2004 MAY 26: Tillman County Bust Sky|
We spent much of the morning agonizing over various targets, ranging
from Lubbock to Childress to Clinton to Enid to Coffeyville, Kansas.
Finally we rolled out of Wichita Falls around noon and headed west
toward Vernon. Around 3:00 PM, we set up camp west of Quanah and south
of Kirkland in a remote field, watching a boundary bubble and roil to
our north as a field of vigorous low cumulus slid toward us from the
south. The cu marked the northern edge of the best moisture fields and
we felt that when the moisture reached the convergence along the
boundary, storms would fire.
Eventually, we drove into Kirkland for gas and learned about the Tornado Watch to the north as we prepared to leave. We abandoned our target and headed for Altus, initially chasing the storm that approached Oklahoma City in the early evening. Steve Miller alerted us to a small storm exploding northwest of Quanah, so we turned to face this new convection.
We flanked the storm and, as we rolled along the eastern edge of the cell, it split. The northern split--which was mostly core--raced northeast as the primary updraft remained in place very near the Red River. The southern split died quickly and we rolled east in pursuit of the new dominant storm. Meanwhile, crisp and deafening lightning fell around us as we drove through the remnants of the south split core.
When we finally gained some ground on the storm in Tillman County, it collapsed and died as quickly as it had begun. We shot stills of a wine red hue painting the backside of the remaining updraft and called it a night.