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May 13 - Tornadoes in Texas

***Update below: video & GIF added***

Hello from Lubbock, Texas!

Well, today was a nice surprise! We started the day in Amarillo, TX and made our way south toward Lubbock, TX. It was a very marginal storm day so we didn’t have high hopes of getting much of anything but maybe some pretty structure. The Storm Prediction Center outlined a MARGINAL risk for the area with a  2% tornado risk for our target area.

Storm Prediction Center's risk for May 13 issued on the morning of May 13.Storm Prediction Center's tornado risk for May 13 issued on the morning of May 13.

A weak dry line was forecast to move into the area we were targeting around and east of Lubbock and this was where we though the storms would fire. 

After grabbing a quick lunch, we decided to head out of town to be able to get a clearer view of the sky and horizon. Some cumulus started to go up and die off quickly and we spent a long time on the side of a lonely highway just south of Lubbock. Finally a few storms east of us started to really build up and show up on radar. We decided to head east.

Since the storms were to out east, we had to punch through them to get to the other side to get a nice clear view. After driving through their heavy rain, we emerged on the east side of the storms in and around the Guthrie, TX area. We watched the storms and they showed some promise showing weak signs of rotation. We headed up the road a bit more to get a clearer view, about two miles east of Guthrie and turned to watch. This was our position.

Our position from which we viewed the tornadoes.

At about 5:50pm CT, sure enough, a wall cloud formed and a small funnel appeared. It reached about 70% to the ground. We can’t confirm if it was on the ground but it sure looked like it was. At the same time as this funnel started to lift a few minutes later, another strongly rotating wall cloud formed just north of it and dropped a cone shaped tornado! From our vantage point it appeared to be out of the town. We attempted to submit a tornado report but our connection kept failing. I was able to get a tweet through and we’re told the proper authorities saw the tweet. This tornado was likely on the ground for 5-10 minutes. All photos can be found here. I haven't had a chance to edit video just yet.

UPDATED: Video edited shot by our chase partner this season, Matt Grinter. Radar GIF also added below.

Radar GIF loop of reflectivity and base velocity on May 13, 2015 from 5:06pm - 6:32pm CT.

Once it lifted we kept up with the storm. It kept producing wall clouds but wasn’t able to organize itself enough to put down another tornado. We did come across a small smoldering pile of brush in a field due to a lightning strike. However, because of all the rain Texas has been receiving, it did not spread and was quickly going out.

This was our first tornado of the season and our first tornado since the El Reno tornado on May 31, 2013. It was Matt’s first tornado ever.

Tomorrow looks like another chase day in this area then we head north, way north, to chase the weekend set up.

Storm Prediction Center's risk for tomorrow (May 14).