June 2, 1995

Vortex NCAR Aircraft Mission #13

Takeoff time - 2020 UTC
Landing Time - 0251 UTC


Supercells were forecast for the New Mexico/Texas Panhandle border. The Electra flew west over Cordell at 12,000' for a radar calibration. There was a slight northern deviation in the flight path to avoid a storm over Shamrock. Subsequently, the Electra turned to the southwest over Amarillo before heading toward Clovis, New Mexico. Storms were already in the formative stages in this area. At 2149 UTC, the Electra started a descent to a target storm the ultimately produced the Friona tornado. Approximate north-south racetrack patterns were flown on the storm. Turbulence encountered by the Electra restricted the distance from the storm to approximately 20-25 km.
Even though there were reports of possible tornadogenesis with the Dimmitt storm, the Electra stayed with the Friona tornado until 0034 UTC. Several passes by the Dimmitt tornado were executed before operations were terminated at 0150 UTC. Neither tornado could be seen by the crew due to poor visibility. The tornado track could be clearly seen by everyone on the Electra during one of the passes over Dimmitt. This was categorized as the roughest flight during VORTEX.

Roger Wakimoto