June 23rd, 2023 Lamar/Holly Tornado
June 23rd, 2023 Lamar/Holly Tornado

After looking at the data most of the morning, I knew I wanted to be in CO this afternoon. Weirdly SPC didnt even have a Slight risk for the target area to start the day. They did add hatched hail at 1630 outlook, but still no tornado probabilities. I left Amarillo shortly before 2pm, as I decided to use some PTO and begin my drive north. As I passed Springfield, there was also a storm firing out of the Black Mesa near Kim. I was tempted, but the lack of roads kept me with my original target of Lamar. There was already a storm SW of Lamar with a 70+ dbz core, so it was an easy decision to keep going. I needed gas as I went through Springfield, but I wanted to be north. In hindsight, I had time to get gas. I was able to approached the storm while still West of 287. It was still 91/55 in Lamar so the storm was still very high-based, though I did have a possible spinup during this time. I tracked back to 287, but didnt want to risk hail. I dropped 5 miles south to have a long east option. While driving east, I found some calves outside of their fence. I stopped a nearby rancher on the road and alerted to him to the calves and talk about the storms for a few minutes. I had no visual of the storm less than 10 miles to my north. As i continued east down this county road, my windows instantly fogged up and the temperature dropped 10 degrees. I had crossed into the 70 degree dews feeding in from KS. I took the next north road I could find. It would take me straight to the tornado.



Once I had visual of the tornado, I stopped and took a few pictures. I knew I could get a better spot, so I continued on another couple miles until I had an unobstructred view. I could have pushed further NW, but I would have had to run SE sooner. I would regret bailing south later too. With a panoramic sunroff, there is only so much you can push it. I have seen baseball size hail throw miles south of a meso or even miles in front of a tornado. You just never know where it will fall. I watch this tornado go from a very stout stovepipe as it went over the DuVall farm, to a small rope after it emerged from the rain. It did a loop just east of the Duvall farm as it wrapped up. It popped out of this rain and dived SE toward me, while making all sorts of shapes. It did a wild 'Wizard of Oz' rope, which finally got me to move a couple miles south down the dirt road behind me.


After getting to a 'safer' spot, the tornado regained size once again and start to track more east. It never made it down to the spot I had stopped before, but it was about a mile and half. The chance of hail and crazy RFD winds that would completely blind my view would push me about 6 miles south of my original stopping point to watch the meso finally occlued and move the tornado west almost to my orginal stopping point. It was actually almsot boring watching it from so far away after my early view. The updraft tower would shrivel up faster than the tornado. At a point before the tornado lift, it look if the updraft was disconnected from the storm above.


Below is the occulsion and rope out sequence, with timestamps (on hovering and the filename).


I then started my drive east to see the storm had cycled down. I used this chance to get SE to Johnson City, KS to get gas. By the time I had gas, the storm was just NW town. I setup for a view by the Johnson City airport. The inflow went completely insane and visibility went to near nothing. I wasnt going to mess with the dust and susnset approaching. I broke off for the tornado warned storm headed toward Elkhart. I missed all the KS tornadoes on my original storm and the Elkhart storm met a quick demise once I was in range. I did see some fairly large hail on the ground in Elkhart. I then start my drive home to Amarillo, which I made it jsut after midnight.


Here is where I drove on this day.

Here are my videos from June 23, 2023.