Back to 'Days' Page
>>  Neal Rasmussen's On-line Chase Documentation   <<

                                                     May 5th, 2002
 
   Birth of the Happy, TX Tornado

Forecasting Amarillo to Childress in the wee hours of the AM, when I awoke at 5AM, I head up to Childress. I hear Doug and Richard on the scanner, two chasers also up from DFW, and as they attempt to find the Childress Library, I pop into a motel lobby and check the Weather Channel. Its satellite loop and a local feed of AMA radar confirms that I'm heading the right direction. A severe cell was to the NW of AMA, and more where popping down to AMA's SW. So off I go, my new target is 10 N of AMA to 20 S AMA. Seeing that Doug or Richard is on a cell phone, and that they're going on the right roads to intercept the crisp south edge of an anvil, I "tag along". Actually I was just using them for a "shield of tarrain based radar(s)". :-) I see one carrot base N of the Happy cell's core, and don't slow down a bit. I wanted to see whatever was putting down that Low Precipitation core. Dense, but very small. I get about 5 NNW of Happy, and there's the base. Lowering or wall cloud developing, so I set up the "DashCam I" timelapse. This TL is a little blurred as the wipers would leave streaks. Also note that you're looking WSW and the initial plume of dust is straight line from the core! Followed by a seperate plume of dust that very much does not blow in a linear fashion. This confused the heck out of me in realtime. I saw the initial straight line core driven dust, and within 5 seconds determined it to be straight line. I look down on cameras or maps and such, and 10 seconds later I look up to see the second plume of dust, which I mistake to be part of the first. Which perhaps in a tornadogenesis way it is, but wow! This second plume was certainly not straight line! It was twisting like a mad top.
   Timelapse of "Birth of the Happy Tornado"
   Location: 4 mi NNW of Happy, TX
   Time: 38X : That's the interval of my windshield wipers! :-)
Huge
Medium
   Tornado Moving through Happy, TX

I move to about 3/4 of a mile east of Happy, and set up the timelapse again. I catch a bad view, as there is so much dirt, stinky dirt, lofted from the first part of the tornado, the visibilty is terrible. The tornado can be seen to reform, or perhaps a new sub-vortex setting down just to the left and above the car lights that park on the road. 
   Timelapse of "Tornado Moving through Happy, TX"
   Location: 3/4 mi E of Happy, TX
   Time: 39X : That's the interval of my windshield wipers! :-)
Huge
Medium

 
   TORNADO!

That's what I yelled to the crowd of chasers as I saw this obvious tornadic swirl, quite a bit further east of Happy, but
on the same cell. . Folks looked at me as if insane. That may well be, but does not negate the fact that it is the start of a 
tornado. Sorry, but that's all the longer the footage goes for, as the rain poluted Rear Flank Downdraft swept around
and it started to pour even this far to the SE of the circulation. I also would have had about 5 minutes of TL before this,
but had the Canon aimed about 45 degrees further right, or straight north, as I thought that was the center of rotation.
Don't worry, some nice rich type person will fund me and I'll get a second Canon to cover more places! :-) 
Hey!  It could happen! 
   Timelapse of "TORNADO!"
   Location: approx 10 mi E of Happy, TX
   Time: 10X : 
Medium