2007 Chase Summary Page
a work in progress

This is a collection of digital images I shot during the 2007 spring season. Most of them are from later in the season, but they may represent bits and pieces of any chase. As time permits I'll get summery pages posted that cover most of my important chases along with my scanned 35mm slides. Preliminary results indicate I witnessed 20 tornadoes this season, but few were large or significant during May and June. Also quite a few were not photogenic. There were many night tornadoes and quite a few obscured in the rain. For me, the most photogenic days were during the early season. On two of the very best days, May 4th and 5th I had problems that varied from a bad forecast on the 4th; I went too far north to the surface low, to an electrical system and equipment failure half way through the chase on the 5th. Unfortunately, many of the largest tornadoes occurred in this 48 hour time span. I was able to get on the Greensburg supercell two counties northeast and later experienced a close pass from the tornado that moved just east of Great Bend. My chase partner during that chase posted a video about that event on his site called "Escape from the Greensburg Storm." Unfortunately the video does not show when we were close to the tornado, so the title is not very accurate, but it did get him many hits. I do have quite a few funnel and smaller tornado shots from chases through June and will post them in the coming weeks. My most photogenic chase of the year was the Kyle, SD tornado. My tornado days included Feb 23, March 28th, April 21st, May 5, 22, 23 and 31st, June 2 and 6th, the 9th was a very weak tornado. Worst bust days, March 23rd, May 4 and 6th.

Images and text © copyright Gene Moore


West Texas hard convection near Lamesa

  NM supercell    

Updraft flank of the explosive Lamesa Texas supercell on June 1st 2007. The storm had strong rotation of hours but its movement over counties with few roads made it difficult to position on the south side of the updraft. In this shot a funnel is hanging out the back of the updraft, one of many we saw that day, but we got no tornado shots as the mesocyclone rain wrapped.


Telephoto shot looking at the underbelly of the anvil on the Lamesa supercell. Rock hard towers were turning under and coming back toward the ground, now that's convection!



Rotating supercell updraft southeast of Lamesa

  Lamesa supercell    

The spinning Lamesa supercell from June 1st. We had a tough time getting in position from the northwest, finally we cut through the storm just north of the meso on a road covered by hail and hail fog. The lowering to the far left was rotating and producing funnels, but we didn't see a tornado from this area. Dramatic anvil to ground lightning covered the county to the SE of the supercell and made getting out of the vehicle unnerving.


June 2nd southwest of Dimmitt, Texas


High anxiety filled the windshield as we drove north toward the monster overshooting top from the Dimmitt storm. On June 2nd our south target area was looking anemic so we went for plan-b, an outflow boundary in west central Texas I feared might wash out. It did anything but, as billowing towers taunted us on our way north. This time the tornado waited for us, although by the time we arrived it was shrouded in rain.


Growing quite large at times didn't help the tornado become more visible in the rotating rain curtains. Here it had narrowed a bit, but was still hard for the camera to pull out. Post processing helped, but this time our eyes were seeing it much better than the camera lens.


May 31st Oklahoma Panhandle


A pretty boring shot right? There is much more going on that it appears at first glance. While driving east we were keeping a close watch on a rotating wall cloud. Quickly a grey white tornado developed then just as fast became wrapped in the rain. I decided to shoot the scene anyway because sometime hidden features can be pulled out of the scene. In the distance a farmstead with trees. To the right a small dirt whirl in an otherwise blank scene.


A hidden funnel and tornado, is pulled out of the murky background with post processing. A thin rain curtain had wrapped around the funnel. Working in Photoshop with brightness, contrast and unsharp mask the dusty (front lit) funnel in the foreground reveals itself. Note the vertical column of condensation extending from the cloud base and an arm of dusty debris arching out from the base to the left.

  forming tornado  

More from May 31st in the Oklahoma panhandle. In this scene a rotating base is obscured by rain wrapping around the front of the circulation. Later it produced more funnels.


Dramatic funnel forming almost overhead was seen by all south of the supercell. It had strong up motion, but the horizontal rotation was relatively slow. It finally dissipated without producing a tornado.



Early season low topped supercell and tornado


Early season supercell that produced two tornadoes in the Texas Panhandle. Note the highly sheared multi-cellular structure caused by strong winds aloft combined with weak instability. Generally tornadoes with these type storms don't last long as the updrafts are quickly blown downstream and stretched out. Not to mention, it makes for ugly storms. You can see under the updraft on this image....seeing it and catching it were two very different things!


Funnel/ tornado near Hedley, Texas on Feb 23, 2007. This event kicked off an active storm season in the Texas Panhandle. Rain curtains wrapping around the meso on the far back side of the storm weakened the contrast on this tornado. Wild cloud motions this day, but at 60 MPH all motions are wild. I got so tired of rat race chasing through March and April. I'll put together a page on this event as time permits.



West Texas tornadoes from the early season


One of my favorite shots of the year. Super wide angle of the Brice tornado on March 28th. It looks rather out of place out there on the plains all by its self. Check in out in the Texas panhandle outbreak set.


Dissipating stage of the Olton, Texas tornado before the rope out. Sticking around to shoot this cost us the Tulia tornado, we just could not make the stretch and missed it by minutes. Other tornadoes were seen after dark though as the storm persisted until very late.


Funnels and wall clouds in Kansas on May 5th

  funnels funnels everywhere..... rotating wall cloud

Another reported tornado in Kansas, this one northwest of Pratt. SPC's log indicated this one did kick up dust, but I didn't see it. My shooting angle into the bright light probably had much to do with that problem.


Dramatic rotating wall cloud in Kansas on May 5th. Was responsible for numerous brief touch down tornado reports, but never produced a long lived tornado.


Strong wall cloud circulation in Kansas

  wall cloud kicks up dirt wall cloud east

Mud rises out of a rain soaked field as a churning wall cloud passes to our east on May 5th. The four wheel drive didn't help much, we were slippin-n-slidin on this slimy mud road.


Flying mud and something else in the air, pieces of trees maybe? We stop to let a churning wall cloud pass right in front of us. Dust and dry dirt is easy to loft, but rain soaked mud is not.


Forming tornado west of Stafford, Kansas

  funnel west of Stafford KS   funnel west  

Tornadic funnel passing west of Stafford, Kansas on May 5th. This one came down as a tornado a few miles further north according to SPC's log and images off Roger Hill's site. We didn't see debris under the vortex at this time.


Another shot of the funnel (tornado?) now north west of Stafford nearing St John, Kansas. Enlarging the image shows a thin filament of condensation headed to ground. Soon after this shot we lost it in the haze. Other chaser sites say this tornado was on the ground as it approached St John, but the trees blocked my view. I could kick myself for not going west on this, I didn't like the storm I was on and shifting west would have been a good move.



Funnels funnels pass the funnels

    funnel close to ground

Kansas funnel on May 5th kicks up light dirt while moving across rain soaked ground. Certainly not the strongest vortex of the day, but early storms produced strong rotation in the clouds and weak rotation on the ground. This one made SPC's log as a tornado, but some felt it didn't deserve the rating. The condensation was not planted on the ground, but it does take strong winds to raise "mud" into the air, so there was a decent circulation on the ground, although not violent.


Funnel close to the ground not far from Arnett, OK on May 6th. These storms went on to produce tornadoes across the border in Kansas. Most were rain wrapped, but some were photographed by chasers. Meanwhile, the anticipated big event for Oklahoma fizzled. This particular funnel was rotating very slow within a mesocyclone that was also spinning slowly.


A nighttime squall line in Kansas with too much wind for us


A late evening squall line pushed across northern Nebraska. We set up for lighting north of Norfolk and waited for the storm. It intensified just before hammering us with some of the strongest wind I've experienced in years. I did well to get back in the vehicle. As we fled the next WX-Worx scan told the story. A 149 MPH shear couplet over our position probably turned into a localized downburst.


This cell was moving northeast at 81 MPH to a point at the intersection below the arrow. That's where we were when the high winds blasted us. This is a good example of the lag in the WX-Worx Threatnet output. Fortunately it was not life threatning, but it did give us a thrill with very strong winds.


Blinding strike from a south Texas supercell

May 2nd in far south Texas near Ulvalde. A blinding bolt of lightning hammers the ground right in front of us. We were playing with a tornado warned supercell late at night. All we got for our efforts was flooding, too much lighting and real tired. There were many night tornado events this season!

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