June 21, 2004 Amarillo Tornadic Supercell
June 21, 2004 Amarillo Tornadic Supercell



This turned out to be a very interesting day. I was back home from OU for the summer and was waiting for Andrew to come over so we could find something to do that afternoon. While I was waiting I was watching this storm on tv just sit over the Canadian river about 45 minutes to SW of Borger. I noticed it had a decent hook and V-notch to it and that was enough for me to want and chase it. I grabbed my camera and was waiting for Andrew when he pulled up and told him to get in my car immeadiately. We blasted to Amarillo passing through the outer edges of the core between Fritch and Amarillo and the hube base came into view.

The storm held off on any major action till we made it to the west side of Ama on Soncy street. The inflow was incredible with this storm. I could barely keep from being blown over when outside the car, not to mention the small rocks that keep hitting me or the tumbleweed the size of a VW Bug that rolled by me when I was outside my car. We missed a few of the tornadoes just because we were so far away and they were not very big.

This storm also gave me my first experience with "hail roar". We were reposition south as the storm shifted south as it had been sitting on the boundry where it formed for an hour. We were stopped at the light in front of Home Depot on Soncy when were heard a erie sound. It was almost like a muscle car, but as we looked around there was not any sports car anywhere near us. There was no way the sound we heard was made by a car but we didnt know any better. When I found out this storm unleased softball size hail on the west side of Amarillo, I figured that was the most likely explaination. I thought for a while it might had just been the inflow into the storm because it was definitely the strongest inflow I have felt to date.

We repositioned along Soncy on the SW side of Ama. During this time we spotted numerous spinups or gustnadoes, though some were located directly under the meso and were very likely tornadoes. I consider them tornadoes and you can see a couple very clearly in the video. One of the these spin ups that I believe was just a gustnado went directly into some houses, about a 1/4 mile away. It was quite a site consider the few successful chases I had to that point. From this point through the rest of the evening we were running for our lives. We did not know about the softball size hail chasing us as the storm moved SSE, but I had a feeling it was big hail when we got clipped by golfball size hail on the southern tip of the precip hook near Canyon. The storm chased us all the way to Tulia on an empty tank of gas where I got hit with golfball size hail with twice before I got outta of the town and own my way back home to study for a test I had the next day in Chemistry (summer course at Ama college) that I did not study for.

Another interesting feature with this incredible storm was the large quantity of nasty lightning bolts this things was spitting out. I believe they were positive bolts because of how big and bright they all were. As were were being chased to Tulia we counted a half dozen fires as these lightning bolts rained down all around us. It was quite a site, I wish I had left the camera running on the dash, but I was a little worried about running out of gas at that time.

Here is a SPC page about this supercell and the damage it caused to Amarillo: Amarillo Solstice Supercell