May 22, 1995
Vortex NCAR Aircraft Mission #10
Takeoff time - 1926 UTC
Landing Time - 0257 UTC
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Severe weather was forecast for the Texas Panhandle. The Electra flew over
Hobart and Frederick before heading northwest to intercept developing
convection near Amarillo. Several thunderstorms were identified on the
nose radar. The Electra descended to 1000' AGL at 2023 UTC and flew an
east-west leg between two thunderstorms. The legs were terminated when the
two cells began to merge. The numerous thunderstorms in the area made
flight patterns difficult to set up. As a result, approximate north-south
legs were flown on the west side of the storms. At 2118 UTC, a tornado was
spotted visually by the crew. It appeared to develop from one of the
earlier storms that the Electra collected data on when it first arrived on
the scene. A decision was made to break off the flight pattern and fly
north to the tornado to collect dual-Doppler radar data on the vortex. The
tornado appeared to dissipate after the first pass.
At 2245 UTC, the Electra flew to the southern-most cell in a line of storms
for data collection. Coordination with the P-3 aircraft began at 2252 UTC.
The patterns continued until 0059 UTC when operations were terminated.
The coordinated flight patterns were successfully implemented with very
little difficulty. Unfortunately, the supercell storm did not produce a
tornado during the entire data collection period. There were some
recording problems during the last hour of the mission. The extent of the
problem is currently being examined.