Well, we're done. After the trip out and the planned trip back, we were left with two days to chase... Yes, we should have planned more time. It's easy to say that after the fact.
Anyway, let me tell you about the whole thing. First, I am sorry I didn't post anything last night. Unfortunately, death warmed over doesn't discribe how I was left feeling after our long haul. Tonight is the first real time I have felt as if I am up to the challenge of a blog entry.
Yesterday (Wednesday), Rob and I spent about six hours on the road and staged to catch a cell around Borger, Texas. The cell we were tracking was moving very slowly from Fitch, Texas to the northeast. After about an hour "held up" in the parking lot of an abandon gas station, waiting and watching, we observed what appeared to be the cell dissipating. The sky seamed to lighten up and those 70 and 80 db readings that typically indicate hail were falling off of Amarillo's radar. Darkness was also quickly approaching. I we both decided to "pack it in" and point the Kia toward the no-tel motel. Before leaving, Rob made use of the time by filming his homegrown documentary. I sat in the car, shaking my head. I'd hoped for just a bit more... but I kept telling myself that it was the first day of the chase. It was about then the alert on the weather radio went off. Our cell had been met with a tornado warning.
I was nearly in disbelief as we headed back into Borger. We were seeing a great increase in the number of clouds. People were scrambling, some for cover and others for a good look at the storm. Seems as if we were not the only folks that wanted a look at the cell. We circled the town, looking at out the sky and noting a weak rotation. We found a place just to the south of town to pull off and observe. We waited and watched for several minutes, then decided to make another pass through town. As we made the pass, the sky opened up and we found ourselves in a torrential downpour. This was followed by a wave of hail. We decided to make a turn for cover at a local gas station to avoid damaging the vehicle.
After several minutes of waiting, the rain ended. Rob and I decided to grab a quick snack at the gas station, so we went inside where we met two local Skywarn spotters. I didn't get their names, but they were really cool folks. After some discussion, I discovered that they had trailed the storm and observed the rotation. They contacted the NWS and the cell was placed under warning as per their advice. From there, it was a five hour drive back to the hotel.
Today (Thursday) started with a look at the weather channel. They called for a much greater chance of a tornado than the previous day and striped the area from southwestern Nebraska through the eastern Texas panhandle and back through Weatherford Oklahoma. We decided to move north and found ourselves in the town of Woodward, OK. We decided we'd make our stand here. We killed time while we waited. I had a burrito, we walked the local stores, and at about 3 PM, we went to the outskirts of town. After looking at radar and revised convective outlooks, we came to the conclusion we should call off the hunt. We pointed the Kia back to the east and started the long drive home.
... and that leads me to where I am now, typing this update. Granted, today wasn't where I wanted to leave our adventure, but Monday morning calls my name. We did get a good, solid understanding of how to handle things. Rob and I may have even learned a thing or two about putting up with each other while on the road. As far as a cool tornado picture, well, there were some weather pictures, but a shot like that will have to wait for another year.