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  • Writer's pictureMichael Thornton

Why I love the Texas Panhandle.

Hey everyone! It's time for another blog about one of my chases! Today I will be talking about a chase I did back on May 23rd. I left Norman and headed West on I-40 towards Pampa, TX around 11am in the morning. I had just chased 3 days prior to this on May 20th, and that day was one of the worst chase days that I've ever had due to the fact that my hotspot stopped working and my phone overheated and wouldn't turn back on. Which ultimately ended my chase very early that day. So on May 23rd I was hoping for a better chase day.

I made it to Pampa, TX around 3pm and found this absolutely cool abandoned gas station. Of course me being me, I had to take a picture of the abandoned gas station.

Near Skellytown, TX looking NW into a Severe Thunderstorm

1 hour and 38 minutes later I would head West on Highway 152 towards Skellytown, TX to chase the first Severe Thunderstorm of the day. The inflow on this storm was screaming North with wind gust's up to 25mph at times. I sat and watched the storm until I realized that the only road option North was Highway 70, which meant that I had to backtrack into Pampa, TX. So of course I did just that. While I was heading North on Highway 70 practically parallel to the now Tornado Warned cell, I noticed that there was extremely small chaser activity on the road. That was soon to change however.

Once I got to the intersection of Highway 281 and Highway 70 I decided to stop and watch the Tornado Warned cell as it came closer to me. Out of nowhere I noticed at least 50 vehicles headed East towards me coming out of the cell. This "convoy" of chasers were led by the famously known "TIV" [Tornado Intercept Vehicle] because of this I decided to head East on Highway 281 to try to get away from the chaser convergence and because I wanted to chase a new Severe Thunderstorm to the Southwest of Canadian, TX.

Looking Southwest into a Severe Thunderstorm near Canadian, TX.

When I got to the intersection of Highway 281 and Highway 83 I turned South and waited for the Severe Thunderstorm to come my way. The wait would pay off as this cell would put down a large wedge tornado. Sadly, my camera decided to die right as the tornado was in view. Meaning that I never got any footage or photos of the absolutely monster tornado. Here's footage from Brandon Sullivan of the tornado if you are curious as to what it looked like [Canadian, TX Tornado]

Tornado Warned cell near Miami, TX

After witnessing that monster tornado I decided to track Southwest to Miami, TX to chase a new Tornado Warned cell. This cell would begin to not show signs of being tornadic anymore about 20 minutes after I arrived on it. But even then, the storm structure did not disappoint. Thankfully I had my DSLR's charger on me and was able to charge my DSLR's battery while I drove from Canadian, TX to Miami, TX because I was able to take this photo and footage of the storm later. A local came up to me at one point and we talked about the Canadian, TX tornado that had just occurred an hour ago and about the storm to the North of Miami, TX. After that, I just stood out in a small field off to the side of the road and watched the storm pass by me. There is nothing more peaceful than chasing a Severe Thunderstorm in the Texas Panhandle and knowing that you do not need to be right up on the storm to view it because of the flat lands. My chased ended in Miami, TX that night and overall I would have to say that my chase on May 23rd was a complete 180 compared to May 20th. I saw 1 tornado, even though I never got to capture it on film and got some nice structure afterwards. The Texas Panhandle will always be one of my favorite places to chase in the entire world because of how flat the terrain is along with the fact that some of my most favorite and best chases have occurred out in the Texas Panhandle. If you have never chased out in the Texas Panhandle, you need to at least once in your life. I will leave a link below from the footage I captured on May 23rd. Thank you for reading my blog!



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