22 May 2011: Allison, TX funnel cloud

I am dead tired right now, but wanted to put forth a frame grab showing a funnel cloud that we witnessed near Allison, TX, a few miles west of Denton, at about 7:43 p.m. this evening.

Allison, TX funnel cloud (contrast enhanced)

Funnel cloud about 2 mi. S of U.S. Hwy 380 near Allison, TX, at 7:43 p.m. CDT. Video frame grab (contrast enhanced).

Dan and I went chasing with a colleague, Aaron, and his girlfriend Meredith. Our initial target was Ardmore, because we were working within some schedule limitations. However, convection near Jacksboro, TX tempted us across the Red River, and after ditching a wrung-out LP storm near Forestburg, we skirted around the forward flank of a right-turning supercell approaching Lake Bridgeport from the west. After several minutes on gravel roads, we caught sight of a lowering in the cloud base from the lake shore just north of Wizard Wells, TX. We were forced to escape southeast through the town of Bridgeport, TX as the storm turned hard right.

The north Texas storms had all had only tenuous grasps on supercell characteristics, and became increasingly amorphous as time went on. After calling the chase off, we drove east along U.S. Hwy. 380 toward Denton, TX. Meredith noticed a lowering to our south, which began producing tapered scud fingers, two of which were clearly funnel-shaped, appeared in the same place with respect to surrounding cloud features, and lasted 20-30 seconds apiece. We reported this funnel cloud at 0046 UTC, just south of Allison, TX. A TVS appeared in the exact same location, accompanied by a minimal hook structure, in the subsequent 0047 UTC volume from KFWS, providing validation of our observation. As my husband noted, sometimes you’re done with a storm, but the storm isn’t done with you!

As we drove north along I-35, I happened to catch on video a CG bolt strike about 1/4 mile from our vehicle. It clearly beaded as it dissipated, and can be seen near the end of the attached YouTube clip.

Tornadoes produced from the same synoptic-scale system devastated Joplin, MO and portions of my old stomping grounds in Minneapolis, MN. My heart goes out to people impacted.

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