VORTEX Communications Summary

Friona, Texas tornado; 2 June 1995

In this summary, important information communicated over the VORTEX VHF frequency is summarized. A few vital transmissions are quoted.
All distances are in miles unless otherwise noted.
Times in UTC.
[gap] indicates that NOAA-43 internal communications made it impossible to discern the VHF radio traffic.
Windspeeds and motions in knot.
Editor's comments are in parentheses ().


BD      Blowing Dust
BWER	Bounded Weak-Echo Region
CG      Cloud-to-ground lightning
DV      Differential velocity observed on WSR-88D
FC      Field Coordinator
FM      Farm-to-Market road
GTG	Gate-To-Gate velocity differential on WSR-88D
MT	Radar-indicated maximum storm tops
N1      NSSL-1 (Mobile CLASS vans 1-4)
N2      NSSL-2
N4      NSSL-4
N43     NOAA-43
N43I    NOAA-43 internal communication channel
RFB     Rain-Free Base
RFD	Rear-Flank Downdraft
R1..R2  R1 is OU radar teams, R2 is Mobile Radar
WC      Wall Cloud
88D	NEXRAD WSR-88D radar

Time Src Communication

hhmmss 225848 N1 BD in the road to Bovina 230250 P3 Wind 120/25-35 kt; jump in theta-e 0256 FC Cloud base is lowering 6-7 NW of Bovina 0315 P2 ESE of Farwell 0356 FC Possible whitish WC near the edge of the core est 7 WNW Bovina on the TX/NM line [gap] 0450 FC Clearing just to the west of the WC 0520 P2 T = 26C, theta-e = 351K 0555 FC N2 should look for inflow temperatures of 22-24C 0605 ?? A new storm is forming just south of the target storm 0635 FC Motion est 240/20. 0714 N1 In Bovina, what is the target? 0810 FC Lowering continues near Bovina. Frequent CG's SE of the lowering. 0905 FC Rain is coming around the WC [gap] 1020 P1 Sees WC to NW from the N side of Bovina 1100 FC Second cell is raining just to the south of target storm; rain is wrapping around the Bovina WC 1150 FC WC becoming engulfed in rain 1200 P1 WC still visible from P1 1210 FC Southern cell is coming up on radar; updraft is 1 SW Bovina 1240 P1 At intersection of US60 and FM1731; pea to marble size hail 1300 FC Nickle sized hail NW side of Bovina 1305 P1 WC still visible 1310 FC WC not visible from Bovina 1330 T1 At 4 S of the FM2013 jog; 1.25" hail. RFB S. 1345 FC Lowering 5 NNW Bovina 1425 FC 26 GTG DV [gap] 1455 FC Meso to N; unknown strength 1540 FC 36 GTG DV just S of Bovina 1545 T1 SW wind, 20C at jog in FM2013 E of Friona 1550 FC T1 is in outflow [gap] 1708 FC Circulation on 88D 12 ENE Clovis, NM; or ~ 3 S Bovina; 36 DV 1755 FC Targeting this southern storm which is improving; this is the one just S of Bovina, moving NE [gap] 1930 P9 Nickle size hail... [gap] 2025 P1 Where FM1731 turns E; WC to W; rotation weak or unknown. 2030 FC WC is 8N, 2W of Bovina 2100 C1 There is another cell just south of Bovina with a lot of rotation [gap] 2133 C1 Rotation to the S-SW from the E side of Bovina 2203 P8 Wind gusts > 35 2210 FC 88D has circulation over Bovina 2240 P9 Wind gusts to 43 [gap] 2350 P2 Scud rising under updraft several miles E Bovina 2411 P3 Vis ~ 0 in BD 2430 FC Lowered base with rotation is just NE Bovina, moving toward Friona 2450 P8 Wind sustained 40; vis is low 2505 P2 Wind 125/25; dust storm [gap] 2630 FC ? 4 NE Bovina [gap] 2657 ?? Wind gusting to 47; sustained 35-45 from 110 2715 N1 Very low vis; looking for a launch site 2740 P1 ? 190/5. WC is over US60 4 NW Bovina or 8 SW Friona 2820 P9 Wind gust to 55 kt. At 529-728. 2830 P2 Wind gust to 45 kt. Vis 1/16 BD 2900 R2 Tremendous low-level hor shear. 2930 C1 R2 reports that info from location 525-798 [gap] 2945 P3 At 546-728 [gap] 3015 ?? Vis 0 in BD 3055 P3,P8 Power lines going down in inflow 3150 P6 ~4-5 N of WC on FM1731; wind 3220; at 641-850 3245 FC Strong surface meso 5 SW Friona; tornado expected 3255 P1 In (near?) Friona; wind 064/30; theta-e 355K 3300 FC P1 is in inflow theta-e 3330 P8 ? [gap] 3420 FC P8... do a U-turn; you won't make it to Friona before the tornado gets there. 3450 N43 BWER, MT 18 km, no hook 3524 P1 "There's a wall of dust rising into the wall cloud from the south on the inflow." 3530 FC "Probe 1; digits?" 3535 P1 "620-748" 3541 FC "OK, now, Probe1, are you on U-S-6-0 just southwest of Friona, now?" 3546 P1 "Correct." 3546 FC "OK; and the wall cloud is just south of you?" 3553 P1 "Just to our southwest; just to the left of the road." 3608 P1 "FC, there's no tornado on the ground." 3620 FC (Resolving confusion as the FC understood "there's a large tornado on the ground") 3625 FC WC is 2.5 WSW Friona 3640 N1 Headed south on TX214. [gap] 3740 FC 88D indicates BWER on lowest tilt just SW Friona 3745 P1 Definite larger-scale rotation 3814 P1 Rapid rotation in the wall cloud 3835 P1 At 609-763; WC is just to the S 3840 FC WC is 3 SSW Friona [gap] 3858 P1 "We've got dust on the ground now; we think it's rotating" 3901 FC "OK, let me know if that firms up for you" 3912 FC Core is 8 WNW Friona; 67 dBZ 3925 FC 66 GTG off of 88D 3937 P1 "We've got rotation in the cloud overhead now" 3955 C1 Wall cloud is coming down; pos 526-682 4015 P9 Heavy rain; very hard convection to the S. Pos 529-728 4100 R1 S of Friona, observing rotating dust in tight circle at the ground, but no obvious connection to the wall cloud 4120 P2 Developing storm to the S 4130 C1 WC is az 310 from 526-681 4200 P1 "FC!" 4201 FC "Team calling FC: go ahead" 4203 P1 "We've got a tornado on the ground south of us" 4225 P1 Tornado 1 S; they are heading into Friona on US60 4238 P1 At 627-743 4245 FC Tornado is 2 S, 1 W of Friona 4305 N43 Hook is forming 4333 FC Est motion from 250 4350 P1 "It looks like it's heading for the south side of Friona" 4404 P6 NW of the tornado; wind 240/42 4415 N43 Asc developing 4425 FC FC estimates the motion is east; then asks everyone to disregard. 4455 N2 In Black, TX; about to launch [gap] 4510 FC There are four storms to the S; all have mesocyclones 4537 FC Meso has moved from Bovina to Friona; thus out of due SW; heading toward Black, TX 4600 N43 Another echo is moving NE and will merge with Friona hook 4630 FC Tremendous WC, RFD 4633 P1 Still observing tornado just behind them 4645 P4 At 614-605; west of tornado about 2 miles 4703 P5 Large tornado to SW; at 661-651 [gap] 4718 P1 At 649-601. Tornado now crossing road right behind. 4735 P1 At 649-678. [gap] 4845 P1 Large tornado just N of US60; at 657-661 4915 FC Huge tornado 2.5 NE Friona 4945 FC All teams; we're in TOR-S (really? no kidding!) 4950 R2 Mobile Doppler data shows multiple folds 5015 FC Large, steady-looking "maxi-tornado" from our vantage point 5030 FC Motion 250/21 from 88D 5043 P1 "Damaging inflow on the south side of the tornado" 5055 N43I "Complete eye on the lower fuselage [radar]" 5105 P1 Tornado to WNW 5115 FC Tornado is 3 NE Friona 5135 FC Due east motion on tornado from 88D [gap] 5245 N43 "tornado hook is like a hurricane eyewall" 5254 FC "looks like a stead long-track tornado". Inflow and RFD are staying in the same relative spots with respect to the tornado 5303 P6 US60 is closed and is impassable due debris 5345 C1 Inflow tail NW 5415 FC 88D motion est is 278/19 5454 P5 Tornado continues NW 5515 P1 "Going much further north than radar says it is" 5550 P1 At 694-589; tornado is becoming rain-wrapped, still on the ground WNW 5605 FC Tornado is 3 W Black (tornado demise is shortly after this time apparently) 5655 P6 TX214 is closed on the south side of Friona; debris 5730 C1 Rotating updraft to the SW; at 611-605 5800 FC South end is acquiring rotation to S of Friona 5810 FC 88D indicates a new meso near Black [gap] 5850 N1 FM2397 is closed at Friona; debris 5855 FC RFD continues on earlier tornadic circulation; a new storm is 5 S of Friona 000024 P1 New WC developing SSW 0030 N43 Nacent hook and BWER on cell 5 S of Friona; hook is SW of that location 0155 FC 88D indicates a meso near Dimmitt 0305 FC 86 GTG NW of Black on earlier tornadic circulation 0320 FC Is anyone still observing the tornado? (No response). Inflow tail and RFD continuing. 0340 P1 Can no longer see the tornado; region is rain-wrapped. **********END OF COMMUNICATIONS SUMMARY ************* Return to Case Study Page