It was a wild day in the Texas Panhandle. Plenty of severe storms there. We started our day about 1:15PM Wednesday in the Metro. We followed the NW Expressway and Hwy. 3 all the way to Seiling. From there, we took Hwy. 60 toward Arnett. Then, we went north to Shattuck. From Shattuck, it was out Hwy. 15 into Texas.
Don’t ask us to name any of the roads past that point. Many just looked like squiggly lines on our GPS software. We spent a good 2 hours on a large storm near the Lipscomb/Ochiltree County line. Firefighters told us it had produced a tornado. We didn’t see one, but we did encounter decent rotation. The storm was trying very hard to get its act together, but it couldn’t seem to pick a place to tornado.
About 7PM we got the wild idea to head south and west to intercept another storm that was producing a tornado. We ended up on “River Road” – which winds its way along the Canadian River. Let’s just say we don’t recommend this road – to anyone. We drove down the dirt road for a good 10 miles, but the storm overtook us before we could back-track to the highway. As golfball-sized hail pounded us, we tried to get to safety.
In the middle of the storm – as the hail was increasing in intensity – photojournalist Rob Hedrick got out of our FAST Unit 11 to retrieve a brand-new satellite phone antenna. Let’s just say he was wet for the rest of the night. We actually had a Japanese TV crew with us today. Rob borrowed one of their helmets to protect his brain from the falling ice.
Traction was tough to obtain on the wet road – which really looked a lot like a river. We decided it’s appropriately named.
Anyhow, we’re returning to the metro safely. A late night and an early morning.
Jordan Williams & Rob Hedrick – FAST Unit 11