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God Bless Texas

Ryan Wunsch Photography

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“God Bless Texas” A very windy storm blows across Texas in May of 2016.  

People often ask me if I ever get scared, or have had any close calls chasing storms. This year my answer was “not in Canada”… We chase as safely as possible and don’t do reckless things for the fun of it.

We could tell this storm was producing a lot of wind (you can see the dust along the horizon at the end of the road) the storm had become outflow dominant, basically collapsing into itself, dumping its precipitation and producing a lot of wind. Kyle suggested we wait out the storm - let it overtake us. My only concern was the hail size (I don’t like getting hailed on), he said it didn’t seem like the hail was very large on radar. It wasn’t. I should have asked him about the wind velocities…

We drove past the power lines, found an approach and parked off the road. Then the winds hit us. Then the hail. The storm truck was rocking, the wind was pushing against the drivers side, my side. We grabbed some luggage to hold against the windows and I put on my safety glasses and helmet, I was pretty sure we were going to lose a lot of glass at any minute. I could see the wind, the precipitation and debris, some of it coming straight down, hitting the ground and pushing out in many directions. It was ominous.

”Oh look, the storm now has a tornado warning”… a well respected storm chaser had just reported a tornado on our storm.

I checked the radar indicated wind velocities, (note to self… next time do this before waiting out a storm) I had never seen those 2 colors of blue on radar before. 90-95 mph straight line winds (not a tornado, but EF1 wind speeds) were pummelling us with hail and not going to let up for a while, they covered a large area, and we were in the center of that big blue mess. 100 mph wind speeds were reported.

The storm finally passed, the truck stayed on all 4 tires, no glass was broken, many new hail dents on the drivers side of the truck and new knowledge and experience was gained. Stretches of powerlines were toppled, semi trucks were flipped on the highway,farm buildings collapsed roofs were relocated.