20151226: Texas Storms & Tornadoes

Lane and I chased on 12/26 and 12/27/15. We started in Waco and waited. By the time we were done chasing we were in Rowlett and then Rockwall at the Fire Station ready to assist on standby. Lane was there at that point mostly to observe, but my Navy training was ready to assist. We sat in the Rockwall Fire Station for several hours as reserve units until we decided to head back out. It took us hours to just get back to the Interstate. We tried to offer assistance in Rowlett, but they would not let us into the staging area.

We missed the Rowlett tornado by no more than 10 minutes. Had we not stopped for gas we might very well have been on the I-30 when it came through. Instead, we went through the aftermath. Cars strewn about, thrown from the overpass, buildings damaged, people walking around aimlessly, emergency crews just arriving on scene, power lines down on the Interstate.

The cell we were chasing that led us to the Rowlett was the cell that cross the I-45 into Rosser, TX. We were able to visually see a stovepipe near Rosser and reported it to the NWS. We did not think we had a visual of the tornado until we went frame-by-frame in the video and we actually got a small glimpse of it as it crossed the I-45.

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Sunrise would find more flooding in Texas as we headed toward Houston. Nothing severe popped up that afternoon, just more rain and more flooding, especially after they were forced to open the flood gates at Lake Conroe.

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