04/26/2011 Tornado near Ben Wheeler,TX

04/26/2011 Tornado near Ben Wheeler,TX

A potentially dangerous tornado risk was expected across the northeast Texas area.
From Canton,TX I drove south, core punching a cell that produced some light hail
to get to the rain-free base area. The cell already had a history of producing
funnels and tornadoes and was warned.
I stopped at the intersection of Highway 19 and 858 and observed the wall
cloud and subsequent funnels.

Repositioning east I stopped a few times along the way to take a few pics and video.
A very brief white rope funnel was seen briefly over the southern portion of Ben Wheeler,TX.

Continuing east a stopped briefly to observe a very low, ominous bowl
shaped wall cloud that was close on my heels.

I stopped near the intersection of 858 and FM 314.
I readjusted my position a few times to improve my view.

After the tornado had passed I checked the occupants of the house just
north of my location. They sustained serious structural damage to their house
and property but reported no injuries.

There was also people in an SUV that were stuck in a ditch near downed trees and utility wires.
I checked on them and neither of them reported being injured.
Nearly all of the roads in the area were impassable by trees and wires
but I was finally able to get out by going south.

Many attempts were made during this chase to report wall clouds
funnels, tornado and damage through spotter network but nearly
non-existent cell and data coverage in the area made that impossible.
I did get a report into 911 but the location was in question and I kept
getting transferred from one county to another. Finally I was able to convince
one dispatcher to simply take the exact location of my report and let
them figure out who to send. As the lines were busy at the NWS offices
I was able to contact another chaser to relay my info on to them via chat.

Total miles driven: = 190

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