Commentary adapted from the original SUMM.
I have this one in low res too!
And unfortunately the slide has taken a beating, as I passed around the original all throughout the remainder of the trip (rookie mistake or what!). Chased with Bob Kleyla of the Fort Worth office. Met him around 9 and he plotted a sfc map by hand, which I was smart enough to ask if I could keep as it was my guide over the next few years for learning how to pleth and analyze!
I should scan that and throw it up here! We headed up the “Highway to Heaven”, US 287, turned right at Bowie, and then up to Nocona (passed the boot factory and promised myself to get a pair of Ropers – still haven’t done that!). Bob noticed that the dryline had jumped east so we high-tailed it east through Gainsburgers and then north at Whitesboro towards Oklahoma.
I was starting to realize at this point that no matter how much I had read about chasing and how much chasing I had done around SW Ont, I had so very much more to learn! The great thing about chasing is that axiom NEVER changes. So we crossed the Red and made a quick gas stop and as we left a TOR warning came over Bob’s radio. We topped a large hills and then pulled over, finding scatted tennis-ball sized hail, which I photographed. Suddenly there was very rapid cloud-based motion (what I later would come to recognize as a rather vigorous RFD) off to the NE and then this formed:
Lasted about a minute or two and then was gone. We headed N then E but got blocked my damage from the Kingston Tornado. We headed back W and ran into a roadblock (we were heading away from the storms!) and the local Deputy (he was maybe 20 yrs old) insisted we head north into what was a very prominent hail shaft (probably baseballs)!
Bob explained he was a meteorologist from Fort Worth and he eventually let us continue west to head home. Bob reported the tornado back to the office and when I returned called Don Burgess (IIRC correctly because I has seen him in the NOVA program back in ’86!) and send him slide dupes and other details (I also made sure the FTW FO has copies).
He related that they had surveyed and confirmed a weak tornado near Lake Texoma where we had been looking.
If only all chases were this easy!
As I referenced it in the the Al Moller tribute below here is a little more from that day.
This was the peak of the daytime action, looking NW from South Bryce TX:
In attendance were Tim Marshall, Carson Eads, Sam Barricklow, Bill Lende/Ruby Williamson, an NBC News crew, and Dallas Morning News reporter Bill Marvel – and that’s all. On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in a TOR Watch Box in the TX Panhandle. That was it.
Oh, and Stormtrack Assistant Editor Rich Herzog drove up at one point in the middle of nowhere. These days it would be a very different scene, with many, many more chasers out and about!
A Ruby Williamson shot of us with this scene made it as a Stormtrack cover page photo the next year and this day became the focus of the Dallas Morning News feature on chasers. Sam Barricklow also has a write-up and images from that chase.
In retrospect, this T-genesis failure was possibly due to a weak or cool (i.e. stable) RFD, and can’t recall if it ever even reached us at our location.
In honour of the big day in the TX PHDL, I thought I’d add something from the set of old lo-res slide scans I had done some years back. I should get some more done.
This was a reasonably electric cell out W of Tulia on 24 May, 1996 (unless my memory is all mixed up – I hope to one of these days go back and digitize the old lo-res 8mm video)