The Lake Kemp HP and Vernon, Texas Supercells and Arcus

May 24, 2002

I chased with, my wife, Patti today.  We left the Dallas area around 2 PM.   I spent about an hour reviewing weather data.  The situation appeared to be marginal for supercells, with significant tornadoes being unlikely.  Winds aloft were relatively weak.  Instability was high.  Since wind shear was marginal, the goal was not to intercept tornadoes, but instead to shoot storm structure and lightning.

Light rain and mid level storm "debris" (clouds), prevented clear views of storm structure east of the storm updrafts.  We did see some nice mammatus, but didn't stop to shoot video because we were rushing south near Lake Kemp ahead of an HP supercell that was reported to be producing baseball hail.

Just north of Lake Kemp on highway 183, we passed a group of about 6 large wild Russian boars.  They had just crossed the road and were in the grass a few feet off of the highway.  I didn't see them until we were too close to take evasive action, had one of them ran out onto the road.  Fortunately, they stayed in the grass.

Click on any image below for a larger version.  (Images from video unless otherwise labeled.)

02052401.jpg (11353 bytes) Looking south from about 10 miles west of Vernon at the north side of the "Lake Kemp" HP supercell.
02052402.jpg (15345 bytes) Looking west-northwest from Seymour, TX at the southwest end of the "Lake Kemp" HP.  A tornado warning was issued about 15 minutes before this image was shot.  The mesocyclone wrapped in precipitation as the storm quickly evolved into an HP supercell configuration.
02052403.jpg (12283 bytes) Looking west at the decaying HP supercell meso from a side road north of highway 82, about 2/3rds of the way between highway 183 and highway 25, south-southwest of Electra.
02052404.jpg (11992 bytes) Looking northwest at the "Vernon" storm about 5 minutes after it produced a weak mulit-vortex tornado.  The lowering near the center of the image is a new wall cloud that developed at the north end of the storm after the tornado, which had developed farther south. 
02052405.jpg (8305 bytes) Looking west-northwest at the remains of the mesocyclone that had earlier produced the multi-vortex tornado.  Note the RFD "clear" slot located left of center and above the wall cloud.
02052406.jpg (12280 bytes) Wide angle shot of the storm.
02052407.jpg (10267 bytes) Another shot of the RFD slot wrapping around the eastern side of the wall cloud.  At this time the mesocyclone was becoming undercut and elongated NE/SW.
02052408.jpg (11251 bytes) Looking west at the undercut mesocyclone.  Rotation was still visible above the arcus cloud / outflow boundary.
02052409.jpg (9873 bytes) Gustnado along the gust front.
02052410.jpg (9045 bytes) Another brief concentrated dust whirl.
02052411.jpg (8735 bytes)  
02052412.jpg (11210 bytes) Looking west at the approaching arcus cloud a little before sunset.
02052413.jpg (10190 bytes) Arcus, sunset and lightning.
02052414.jpg (11351 bytes) Same shot, one or two frames later as the lightning bolt fades.
02052415.jpg (21136 bytes) After the outflow boundary moved over our filming location, we returned to highway 25, turned north and drove about 3 miles to highway 287, then southeast back to Dallas.  We were treated with a spectacular lightning show along the way.  However, light rain prevented us from stopping and shooting photos.

Copyright 2002 - Samuel D. Barricklow - All rights reserved

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Last revised: November 28, 2008