June 21, 2004
-Images are located below text-
There were two targets this day - the front range across northeast New Mexico and and area just north of Amarillo, TX. Both areas looked decent for supercells and isolated tornadoes, and wanting to be in a position to go either direction, I positioned myself in Clayton, NM where I had Wifi data. By late afternoon, initiation had occurred along both the front range and near Amarillo. After checking radar echo tops and seeing the top of the Amarillo cell being blown off in a V-like fashion, I decided to target that cell. I intercepted the cell north of Amarillo on Hwy. 287/87 as a wall cloud came into view to my southwest.1. I bumped further south and was treated to a nice blocky wall cloud and beautiful structure displaying a decent vault.2. The meso soon lowered significantly and a large inflow tail developed.3. Repositioning to Bushland, TX with the southeast-moving cell now to my northwest, multiple areas of rotation were evident, but the area of most concern was just northwest of Bushland.4.; 5. A small dust whirl formed under the meso and persisted for a couple of minutes 6. before a small, thin funnel formed above it at 7:14 p.m.7. The tornado moved south toward I-40 but fortunately dissipated before crossing the interstate. Bumping south out of Bushland to stay ahead of the meso, I met up briefly with friends Gene and Karen Rhoden and watched as the meso churned violently, finally producing a multi-vortex dust whirl tornado in the field adjacent to us at 7:34 p.m.8. The tornado dissipated shortly after. Diving south then east out Canyon, the cell was becoming a large cyclic HP supercell and the inflow winds created a large area of dust and dirt that seemed to stream for miles ahead of the cell. The cell still allowed occasional photogenic opportunities as it cycled through mesos.9. East of Canyon now and basically out of road options, I held my position and let the supercell continue to my south and waited for the core. With the biggest hail off to my west, I waited out the golf-ball size hail and continued back west to I-27 in order to intercept another supercell to the northwest that was moving southeast again toward Amarillo. I intercepted this cell about six miles west of Amarillo and watched as a large and persistent funnel/possible tornado loomed to my north.10. Fortunately, the cell became disorganized and the funnel dissipated before reaching Amarillo. The first supercell was a costly storm to Amarillo as large hail cause millions of dollars worth of property damage throughout the city.
This day effectively concluded my chase vacation, and an incredible conclusion it was. I must also extend my appreciation to Dave Lewison for his excellent nowcasting.