Friday, April 23, 2021 — Northwest TX


A well-timed shortwave brings the Rolling Plains of NW TX to life for the early season, mercifully ending end half a decade of chasing doldrums for me.

Observed 5 tornadoes.

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Left around 2 and made it to Crowell by 5. I was very ambivalent about latching onto the northern storm as I watched it approach from the WNW, given the cold look along the baroclinic zone and surrounding low clouds. In fact, I started to meander S back toward town multiple times, only to think better of it -- mainly because the southern cells never looked serious about taking off. Thank goodness they didn't, or I quite possibly would've blown the redemption opportunity I've been waiting for since 2016.

Video shows TOR #1. TOR #2-3 (dusty whirls) E of Margaret:

TOR #4 at Rayland:

TOR #5 E of Lockett:

It's been a rough stretch of chasing for me -- and I know for a lot of you, too -- the past several years. Congrats to everyone out Friday; especially newer folks who've had to endure endless scarcity since they started. Let's hope this is only the start.

One logistical comment: I've been suspicious the past few years that some extended data outages I encounter are the direct result of chasers overloading towers, and I think that was all but confirmed on this event. I went almost a full hour without a single radar update through Verizon starting toward the end of TOR #1, after having zero issues beforehand (even wandering 5-6 mi. from pavement NW of Crowell). It is what it is, but it's pretty frustrating, and could've been far more so on a messier storm! I'll second what Andrew said above in that the hordes, while also somewhat irritating logistically (waits to pull back onto road), were well behaved overall.