GAINESVILLE, Tex. — If you’re a meteorologist and it’s May, you know the atmosphere always has a few tricks up its sleeve. Storms over Kansas produced incredible displays on Thursday, but Friday was shaping up to be iffier. Nonetheless, I drove the 460 miles to my chase target in Wichita Falls, Tex., bought myself an ice cream and waited beneath blue skies.
Before long, a towering cumulus cloud bloomed into a massive rotating supercell, a telltale hook appearing on the radar where it began to rotate. Air spiraled into its corkscrews updraft as rain and hail fell to the north. Even on the edge of the storm, I was getting big hail. I knew this would be a nasty storm.