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  • Writer's pictureMichael Thornton

Hail madness

Hey everyone! It's that time again, another chase to talk about. Today I will be talking about a chase that I did back on April 3rd. Now anybody who knows me, knows that I absolutely love chasing in Southwestern Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, and on April 3rd severe weather potential was possible in that same exact region. So with that being said I was pretty excited to be chasing in that region once again.

West of Hollis, OK

I left Norman and headed Southwest towards Hollis around 12pm. For those who might not be familiar with Oklahoma, Hollis is on the Oklahoma/Texas border in Southwestern Oklahoma or about 34 minutes from Childress, TX. I arrived in Hollis around 3pm. I found a spot West of Hollis and recorded weather observations at the time with my Kestrel. From there, I went even more West into the Texas Panhandle and stopped in Memphis, TX. At the time there was severe weather to my Northwest, but I decided not to chase those storms because I was waiting for storm initiation to the Southeast of those severe storms.

Looking Southwest into a severe thunderstorm in between Hedley and Memphis, TX

At around 4:30pm the first and only storm I would chase that day was beginning to form. I quickly moved Northwest and stopped off of Highway 287 in between Memphis and Hedley, TX. I watched as this storm became severe warned and moved into the town of Memphis, TX. Once the storm began to turn a little bit more East I decided to drop South and get on Highway 256 in between Eli and Memphis, TX so I could intercept this storm. At the time this severe storm was dropping small hail and at the same time not a lot of hail was falling.

Soon though larger hail began to fall along with a ton of hail stones falling. As you can see in this video I captured while chasing, practically hundreds of hail stones were falling out of the sky to the point where some people might even think it's snowing in the video! I quickly headed East back into Memphis, TX where I pulled off of the road and let the hail fall onto the roof of my truck. After the severe storm had passed, I continued Eastward on Highway 256 along side the severe storm.

Golf ball size hail

At the intersection of Highway 256 and Highway 83 I decided to pull over as the hail was beginning to become large once more. At this same intersection I recorded 1.75 inch in diameter hail, otherwise known as golf ball size hail. Once the storm began to track East into Southwestern Oklahoma road options began to become a problem. You see, out in Southwestern Oklahoma and parts of the Texas Panhandle there is not many road options that are reliable. Which meant that most chasers if not all had to take Highway 62 until they reached the Texas/Oklahoma border. Which is about 14 miles from the intersection of 62 and 83 in the Texas Panhandle. Once I got back into Southwestern Oklahoma I got stuck behind a ton of semi drivers who were going about 20mph on a country road because hail was falling, because of this I began to lose the severe storm and got trapped inside a hail storm in the Northwestern portion of the severe storm.

To the North of Elderado, OK looking North into the Severe Thunderstorm

Finally, I got sick of being behind the semis, and turned around. I headed back West towards Gould, OK and got onto Highway 5 which led to Eldorado, OK. At this point the storm was directly to my East and I could clearly see awesome storm structure with this storm. Once I got into Elderado, OK I had to stop to take this pretty cool shot looking into the storm with the sun setting behind it. From here I followed the storm North on Highway 6 all the way back to Altus where my chase ended. In conclusion this chase day was pretty great actually! Going into this chase day the possibility for tornadoes was small and the main risk was golf ball size hail, which did occur. I chased for about 3 hours without any kind of radar data so I mainly had to rely on chasing the storm visually. I will leave some footage that I put on YouTube from that chase day below. Thank you for reading my blog!



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