Texas Panhandle Tornadoes
of March 28, 2007 - continued


All images and text
© copyright Gene Moore


The tornado continues northeast at a fast pace moving away from the road. My route north on highway 70 was coming up fast, but not fast enough for me.


It's tough to have a major tornado getting away to the north when driving east, but at this time I made the turn north and encountered a very large number of chasers.....called chaser convergence.


Driving north on highway 70 I was able to get beside the funnel just as the low sun angle put some rays on the bottom of the debris cloud .....really cool, huh? Click to enlarge this shot, it turned out nice.


The condensation funnel remains off the ground while red dirt is stirred up and lifted skyward. This funnel is hanging out the very back of the storm at this time as witnessed by the blue sky in the corner of the shot!


Churning debris cloud in the field to my east. I was beginning to think the funnel was getting weaker at this time, but that didn't happen.


Swirls of condensation wrapped around the side of the vortex as it continued to move north beside highway 70.


The funnel passes behind a large farmstead. No doubt nervous residents watched the passage to their west with relief.


The tornado strengthens dramatically and builds into a large trunk. Birds in the field spooked by the tornado were flying first south then back north in panic confusion....video captures follow.


Large tornado plows up red dirt as it moves across the flat fields just to our west. At this time the funnel appears to be getting stronger.


Mounds of red dirt swirl as the funnel climbs up a low mesa .


This was about the largest visually the base of the funnel became, about 1/4 mile wide I'm told, but it looks bigger.


The tornado was moving away from the road during this shot as highway 70 veers off a bit to the north-northeast. It continues to remain very large. Note the funnel flairs out then suddenly curves back in at the LCL or lifting condensation level (the old cloud base height). Cumuliform clouds boiled up the back side of the funnel above this level.


  sunset tornado

On the left, sunset on the caprock, extreme wide angle shot of the remaining daylight on the storm. The tornado looks almost out of place, like I just stuck it in this shot, but that's how it was.

Above image, funnel is entering the final stages before the rope out in waning twilight. This was a long telephoto shot as the funnel continued to get more distant. Soon after this time I broke off the storm to reposition further northeast.


My route was from the Brice police roadblock east to Memphis on highway 256. Interesting, I was "in the lead," so to speak at this time as many other chasers were caught up in the roadblock. As I got on highway 287 other chasers begin to show up behind me and the caravan travelled northwest to Hedley. At this time we could see a huge mesocyclone circulation stretched out across the horizon from 287 northward. In fact, it may have been two circulations side by side at this time, although rain blocked the clear view of the center of the system. I witnessed a large elephant trunk tornado north of Hedley, but it rain wrapped before I could get a good shot. I saw other funnels in this circulation as I proceeded north on highway 273. It was on this route that darkness changed the whole game. Some held back, but a surprising number of chasers continued north between the two mesocyclones and tornadoes.


Lightning shows a turbulent wall cloud to my ENE as I drove up highway 273 from Hedley to McLean. The tornado is on the right side of the wall cloud. Chasers making this trip referred to these circulations as meso-east and meso-west. We are looking at meso east and its tornado.


The funnel remains planted on the ground lightning provides another shot. There were few good places to park so I paced the two mesocyclones north to McLean. Bill Tabor got a great shot of this tornado.


Murky dark sheet lightning occasionally illuminates the trunk funnel to my north. It was closer than the shot depicts as I had the camera on wide angle to catch a wider field of view out the windshield.


Dimly lit sheet lightning gives another silhouette of the tornado to my NNW.


Lightning illuminates the whole area and the front of the funnel, shown between the gap in the trees. I got beside the tornado before it reached McLean, but pretty much messed up the photography. Oh well, there will be other nights. I was unable to follow the supercell on to the northeast as I was on empty and had to limp into Shamrock for gas. Austin chase partner Bill Tabor, in another vehicle this night, followed me in.....thanks Bill.


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