Birthday Tornadoes

Spearman, Texas - May 22 2016
Day two of our 2016 storm chase and it turns out to be our second tornado day in a row. This time southeast of the town of Spearman, Texas.... On my birthday no less! Because my birthday falls in late May, it's not uncommon for me to witness tornadoes on my birthday, and this year it was a bit of a surprise.

The storm that we had been tracking was looking unimpressive on radar and visually, and we were in the process of giving up on it and started driving away a bit frustrated. Luckily, Jaclyn Whittal wasn't done with the storm yet and urged us to turn around and check it out one more time. Well that certainly paid off. The storm ramped up, became tornado warned, then started producing at lease two tornadoes. The first had a classic "elephant trunk" look to it as we raced to get closer to it. Once that tornado lifted, we turned around and started heading east, and suddenly, we noticed that a second, much larger tornado had formed behind us. This second tornado looked very strong, so we kept our distance as it churned away in a field.

The tornadoes didn't hit any towns, which is good considering how strong the second one likely was. I'm so glad that we turned around. Persistence pays off!

Spearman 01

Spearman 02
Approaching tornado #1
Tornado #2. This one was much larger.

Spearman 03

Spearman 04
A wider look at the Spearman, TX storm.
Mark Robinson, dashing out of the car to snap some pictures.