Route notation: "USXX" denotes US highway XX, "I-xx" denotes Interstate highway xx, "SSxxx" denotes state (SS) highway xxx, "FMXX" in TX denotes farm-to-market highway XX. Wherever possible, cities having National Weather Service offices are identified with the appropriate 3-letter identifier.
NOTICE: Except for video frame captures, these images have been scanned from original slides, with some digital enhancement (touch-ups of dirt on the slides when scanned, and some enhancement of the original scanned images to make them look more like the original slides). I do not alter my images digitally to put in things that were not originally in the image or remove things that were originally in the image, and I do not make digital composites. I am personally opposed to such image manipulations unless they are admitted to clearly and obviously.
Updated: 21 June 2000: Added a link to my 1995 Tornado Review page, here. See this page for more images and information about the major tornado events I saw during 1995.
1. 22 May 1995
Route : Left Norman ... west on I40 to Shamrock, TX ... north on US83 to FM1288 ... west to FM 3367 north ... then south back to FM1288 to FM748 ... south to TX152 to US60 to TX171 ... north to TX70 to about 5 north of Pampa ... then north to a farm road about 12 north of Pampa, then south on TX 70 to Pampa ... then east on TX273 to Lefors to FM 2473 to Kellerville ... then south on FM453 to I40 ... east to Lela ... then south on FM1547 to FM 1036 to US83 ... south to Wellington ... then east on TX 203 (becomes OK9) to Mangum ... on home to Norman
A solo chase on a free day ... waltzed into Pampa and chose a storm that was not particularly the strongest or biggest, but it had a look that made me suspicious. After about 20 min of fooling around ... the storm was over the Canadian River valley and inaccessible by any public road (so VORTEX chose not to operate on the storm), so I stayed put and saw two tornadoes; the first one brief and the second lasted about 15 min. Then I chased the next storm into Pampa, which crapped out, so I continued south and east until I ended up east of Wellington, where I watched the biggest storm of the day from the backside until sunset ... then on home. Ran into Al in Mangum!
2. 29 May 1995
Route : Started in Ft. Davis, TX ... southeast on TX118 to Alpine ... east on US90/67 to Marathon ... south on US385 to near Big Bend National Park ... then north to Marathon to Fort Stockton.
A small storm the previous day near sunset drew us to Ft. Davis. Supercells developed in the Davis Mountains ... could see a wall cloud and rapid motions but not below the base due to the intervening terrain! Strong storms developed south near Big Bend park and got interesting looks, perhaps due to terrain lifting of outflow ... saw some one-inch hailstones after the storms passed, but almost certainly larger stones occurred.
3. 31 May 1995
Route : Started at Midland ...FM 1788 to TX115 to Patricia to LaMesa ... US180 to Gail to FM1609 to Ira to FM1608 to TX208 to Colorado City to Robert E. Lee ...TX158 to Bronte to Ballinger ... US83 south to FM1929 to Stacy Reservoir to FM2134 to Millersview ... FM765 to Doole to FM2635 to Lohn to FM 504 to US 283 to Brady to TX71 to FM1851 to FM1222 to Fredonia to FM286 to Mason ... US87 to Fredericksburg.
Saw a "Fist of God" blow up into a previously uninteresting multicell complex during approach to LaMesa ... high speed chase to Ballinger ... two brief touchdowns south of Ballinger at about 1740 ... wild spinup (possible tornado, heard wind noise ... later heard about damage to store and overturned pickups) near Stacy Reservoir (Lake O.H. Ivie) ... wild cloud structures (flared out, striated circular inflow) near Lohn ... also, grass fire just north of Lohn started by lightning... storm chased us to Fredericksburg.
4. 02 June 1995
Route : Started at Ft. Worth ... US287 to Decatur... US380 to Jacksboro ... TX114 to Seymour ...Guthrie ... FM 265 to FM193 to Afton to TX70 to Roaring Springs to FM684 to FM28 to Dougherty to US82/70 to Floydada ... US70 to Lockney to FM2301 to TX86 to Tulia to I27 to Plainview to Lubbock
LP supercell west of Matador went through three cycles of mesocyclones ... broke off after the third cycle and went after storm to northwest ... initially hard to see due to anvil and haze but emerged after a hard chase, mostly on FM roads, just east-southeast of Tulia. A larger, HP version of the LP storm (!) with cycling, shedding mesocyclones ... got fuel in Tulia with sirens blowing (they must have blown for at least an hour) ... next storm just to the southwest of the other ... two mesocyclones in yellow sunset light ... let mesocyclone go over us (under a bridge) ... winds east, then north, then hard southwest (no hail). On the way back to LBB, ran into yet another supercell crossing near LBB airport ... saw wild "wrap-up" on back side in lightning ... no images. Missed great tornadoes at Friona and Dimmitt, apparently from the second storm we saw dissipating at Tulia!
5. 03 June 1995
Route : Started at LBB ... north on I27 to PVW to FM788 to FM 2301 to FM145 to TX86 to Quitaque to Turkey to Estelline to US87 to CDS ... US83 north to north of CDS ... south on US83 to Paducah ... US70 to Matador north on TX70 to south of Turkey ... south again to FM97 to Flomot to FM1065 north to Quitaque to TX86 to Silverton ... south on TX207 to FM 2886 to Plainview ... south on I27 to ended up at LBB again.
Frustrating day ... initial development as long rain-free bases evolved into an HP supercell near Quitaque ... wrapping rain curtains with a possible embedded cone funnel ... several additional wrap-ups. Storm had fast northeasterly under and north of a very low cloud band running into the meso from the northeast, with another band wrapping around the developing precip area ... very reminiscent of the tornadic storm near AMA in 1989, but with no tornadoes! New storms would develop along and north of the original outflow boundary, above the cold air, adding their outflow and sucking on older storms. Created extensive tail/shelf clouds ahead of new precip areas. Essentially, elevated supercells over a dome of cold air ... produced a lot of tornado warnings but few tornadoes, if any. Old farmhouses all around in the area, including one we photographed years ago on FM1065 south of Quitaque.
6. 04 June 1995
Route : Started at LBB, again. Went north on I27 to near Hale Center then south to Abernathy...west on FM597 to near Anton ... then east to FM2528 to southeast of Shallowater ... then northwest on US84 to near Shallowater ... then southeast on US84 ... then northwest on US84 to northwest of Shallowater ... then southeast on US84 to FM2528 ... south and then north to US84 ... then southeast to Loop 289 clockwise to US87 to LaMesa to TX137 to FM828 to US87 to LaMesa ... back to LBB.
Yet another frustrating day, for various reasons. Storms forming west of LBB early were slow to intensify, though they did so gradually. Got a nice funnel (very close) near Shallowater ... began hearing about more tornadoes near Dimmitt which finally got us to go after it but a sharp anvil edge to the south stopped us. We started after it only to run into water on the farm road. We roared south and finally found a sculpted, very interesting supercell near LaMesa, bordering on the LP side ... it produced a dust whirl on outflow that could be called a legit tornado, but certainly was not very stable or photogenic, and we were too far away at that time. That night, we saw video of the Dimmitt tornado on 02 Jun ... finally remembered that 02 Jun was "my" pick for the best VORTEX day ... heard VORTEX was on the Friday tornadoes ... what delicious irony! Missed "my" day! I think I am not fond of "tag-alongs" in any case!
7. 05 June 1995
Route : Started at LBB ... north on I27 to FM788 to FM378 north then south to FM2288 to near South Plains ... south on TX207 to FM786 to FM602 to US82/70 to FM28 to Dougherty to TX 193 to McAdoo to TX70 south to Dickens to Spur to Girard to Jayton to US380 to FM2211 to Aspermont to US83 to Hamlin to FM 126 to US180 to Roby to Snyder to US84 to LBB (again!!)
Fabulous chase day! Relatively weak northwesterly flow gave low expectations, but we drifted north from LBB, looked at some high-based, ragged storms developing near Plainview; among these were some lower bases. These developed into a thunderstorm that built a wall cloud, then a tail-like inflow band, quickly manifesting lots of vorticity, including horizontal vorticity. We saw a multi-vortex tornado early that dissipated, then a brief cone wrapped in dust near South Plains. We stayed ahead of the storm and a major tornado developed northwest of Dougherty, first as a multi-vortex and then evolving into a wedge, under a cut-off, vertical rotating "tornado cyclone", passing southeastward west of Dougherty and finally disappeared after wrapping itself in rain. After staying with the storm for awhile, it was obviously gusting out and a new storm developed to its southeast, so we punched through its rain before it really got cranking; then it began to crank. We stopped east of Jayton and saw it wrap up a tremendous mesocyclone, apparently while it was producing a tornado southwest of Jayton. NOTE: This is the storm that appears early in the movie "Twister" and is the only footage of a real storm in the whole movie. Terrific lightning show from the storm! We stayed with the storm for awhile longer, finally punched through it as it was dissipating, but it had a new cell developing and its backside and we ran into some hail ... we saw hailstones up to about 2 inches but it had produced at least baseballs, perhaps softballs. What a difference a day (and a wedge!) makes! I think I have sold my video of the tornado to TWC.
8. 07 June 1995
Route : Started at DDC ... west on US50 to LHX to CO10 to southwest of Rocky Ford back to LHX on US50 to US287 to near Eads back to US50 to Lamar.
Interesting evolution. Storms slowly evolving until late evening and then relatively rapid development. Two adjacent mesocyclonic storms developed southwest of Rocky Ford, finally interacted such that the weaker of the two was wrapped around the stronger. Storms continued to explode as they got further east and northeast. Lots of tornado reports with no direct evidence of any tornadoes ... we saw something that looked like a tornado on the southwest side of a wrapped-up notch ... wrong position for a tornado, but who knows? Sam's video was ambiguous. Took many lightning pictures, but they probably will be ambiguous, too. Ended up in Lamar, late at night, as usual. Lots of trouble with TWC and have not been able to negotiate with them to sell the video; the process they have in place to acquire chaser video seems rather obviously flawed: late at night, when chasers are done chasing, there never seems to be anyone around who can make decisions about using our video. I think they need to work on the process if they really want good videos from chasers!!
9. 08 June 1995
Route : Started at Lamar, CO ... US287 to Boise City, OK to Dumas, TX ... to TX152 to Stinnett to Pampa to US60 to Canadian to FM1920 north .... then south to US60 to Glazier to Higgins to Arnett, OK to US283 to Roll, OK to OK33 west, then east to Roll, OK ... south on US283 to I40 to I240 to Sooner Rd. to home.
Great day!! Started in Lamar, CO and raced southward to get south of the cold air boundary ... after some anxiety in Stinnett about which storm to go after, called Harold who directed us to Pampa ... waltzed into Pampa and saw a developing tornado ... photographed and video'd it as it tore through Pampa. Another tornado formed as the main one was still on the ground ... went east and followed it, getting more photographs and some video. Roads meant we couldn't get close to the storm [actually, we could have but we missed the right road to stay with the storm] until it moved much farther northeast. By the time we saw it again, it ran into the cold air boundary and died. We should have left Pampa more directly via US60 and when we lost contact with the Pampa storm, we should have dived south after the monsters to the south that VORTEX worked. Anyway, after watching the storm in western OK for awhile, we went on to Norman and home. Trying to sell the video to TWC again ... they sounded rather more contrite than the last time I called. Perhaps Matt Crowther had a talk with them after I blew up at him in DDC (sorry, Matt!!). See the write-up by Al Moller in Storm Track for this day.
10. 09 June 1995
Route : Started in Norman, OK ...OK9 to Chickasha to I44 to OK49 to OK58 to OK19 to OK54 north and then south to US 62 to US 283 to Davidson, OK to US287 west to Vernon, TX to near Tolbert ... then east to Vernon to US283 north to Davidson, OK to OK70 east to Grandfield to Randlett to Ardmore to I35 to Norman.
After doing laundry, etc., as well as trying to sell video to TWC and turning in some film, went out to check out what had been a tornadic storm near Mangum, OK ... intercepted it southeast of Hobart (lots of chasers in the vicinity) ... kissed it off as undercut and hopeless, and dove south to Vernon. Watched an HP supercell west of Vernon ... slow moving, with many chasers (virtually every chaser still on the plains ... a real menagerie!) ... eventually, it produced a "dust bowl" tornado without a funnel for several minutes, and during a wrap-up, produced a rain-wrapped tornado. Another storm developed north of the main cell ... small but rotating. Eventually, we raced northward trying to get ahead of the hail ... just barely cleared the approaching hailshaft near Davidson. Drifted eastward with the storms to near Burkburnett, then broke off. TWC bought my Pampa video ... finally!
This year's chase was ended rather rudely by major league ridging ... saw a gusted-out mesocyclonic storm near Abilene on the 10th ... produced some very strong, cold outflow, hail, and was grossly undercut ...went to Ft. Davis for some RandR before packing it in. No doubt about it ... our best year ever! Almost every chase day, we saw either supercells or tornadoes ... only a few days of traveling without much substance to them. We made our share of mistakes and bad decisions, but the year was forgiving. We never seemed in synch with VORTEX, but I guess in some ways that was a good thing.