Chase Accounts

May 26, 2001
Pictures from this day.

This chase began on the evening before as I began a marathon drive from Conway, Arkansas to Aspermont, Texas in order to meet up with chase partners Scott Blair and Eric Nguyen. On my way there, I observed a beautiful 3 a.m. lightning show, but since I was more than ready for a rest, I decided to forego stills and keep pushing toward Aspermont while filming the lightning and jamming to The Doors.

Nearing five in the morning, I finally arrived at Scott and Eric's hotel room at Aspermont and proceeded to rest for about an hour before getting up and preparing for the upcoming chase day. Despite very little rest, I was quite upbeat since this would be the first day of my chase vacation, and I was more than ready to get on the road. However, there would first be one obstacle to overcome, the most disgusting insect invasion I have ever witnessed. I had heard stories of how bad the black Texas beetles were this year, but the enormity of the situation didn't register until I witnessed it first-hand. And with sunrise, I found out just how bad the infestation was.

Upon opening the hotel room's shades to the morning light, I looked on in shock at what must've been thousands of the huge, black, cannabilistic beetles. They were literally covering the parking lot and sidewalks. The few living beetles that remained, having escaped death by sunlight up to this point, were running for their lives, trying desperately to find shade while munching on their deceased brethren. Then, there were the flies. Not only were these flies also quite overgrown (I guess everything really is bigger in Texas), they were covering all three of our cars, obviously enjoying a feast of insect carcasses. The entire scene was a truly fascinating yet disgusting sight. Once we finished our morning forecast, we did our best to evade the crunchy beetles and swarming flies as we jumped in our cars and headed for our target area; Jayton, Texas. We expected a few supercells to fire once a shortwave interacted with the north/south oriented boundary that was draped across the Texas panhandle.

After hanging out in Jayton for a while, I pulled up a satellite image at 2:30 p.m. using my cell phone/laptop internet connection and noticed a cumulus field developing in the panhandle. At this point, Scott and I opted to head north to Plainview while Eric decided he'd hang around a bit longer before deciding what to do. As it turned out, Scott's and my decision to head north was a good one. At 5:30, while observing a developing LP supercell near Plainview, SPC issued a tornado watch for our area, which was quite a surprise considering the large temp/dewpoint spread.

The storm continued organizing and began developing a decent precipitation shaft, but it continued to be quite high-based. We tracked the marginal supercell on Hwy. 70 from Plainview, and although, it tried its best to organize and lower its base, it never could really get going. However, the storm did present some beautiful photo opportunities, especially at sunset, and we had a great time meeting up with several other chasers who were also on the cell. While we didn't catch the beast of a storm I was hoping to get, it was a fun chase and a good beginning to my vacation in the plains.


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