2002 Chases
Severe weather photos and videos by
meteorologist & stormchaser J.R. Hehnly
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April 7, 2002
Northwest Texas

Just west of Haskell, TX on SH380. These video captures were taken just minutes before this storm dropped a massive tornado near Throckmorton. (Well, it was about 30 minutes before, actually... giving me PLENTY of time to leave for the non-tornadic cells farther south.)

Here's where an oil tank got hit by lightning. Sorry for the poor quality, it was raining heavily and I wasn't excited about standing outside.

April 20, 2002
Texas Panhandle

A promising looking day turned into a 600 mile bust through some great West Texas country.
Nothing to trigger the storms.

Caprock Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle, thick fog hides an incredible view.

May 5, 2002
Happy, Texas Tornado

Amarillo base reflectivity and velocity scan loops (350kb)

Began the day debating on whether to play the warm front in the southwest part of Oklahoma or drive to far West Texas to meet the dryline. Stayed for a while near Childress, TX until the storms began firing west of Amarillo. We drove on SH287 to Amarillo then dropped south on I-27, going through some large hail near Canyon which broke out a headlight and added more 'trophy dents' to my hood. We exited the interstate just north of happy when we saw the wall cloud hanging out to the west, and were there just in time to set up and tape the first tornado west of town.

Images below are a mix of video captures and digital camera images.
The paths on the maps are from my best estimates, feel free to disagree.

Just north of Happy, TX. looking west, what started as just a spin up of dust on the ground under a rapidly rotating wall cloud soon became a large tornado with a wedge appearance. Mostly surrounded dust, the condensation funnel was difficult to make out. The funnel lifted, but we stayed put until the rotating winds at the surface made their way into the field right in front of us, then decided it would be safer to move to the south end of town.

South end of Happy TX. looking northwest, just as the tornado was entering town. You can see the grain elevators on the far end of town in the first two pictures. The tornado was soon wrapped in a lot of dust, making it difficult to see the base. We were rocked by some significant inflow winds. The Happy, TX tornado ended up killing two and destroying many homes during the time these pictures were made.

East side of Happy, TX. on the I-27 service road looking east, just after the tornado did the damage in town. I was looking off to the east not paying attention to the damage path I was approaching and ran into a downed power line which was at the height of my antennas and anemometer. Luckily, the power was down, but I lost some instruments off the top.

With my radio antenna still swinging from it's power line encounter, notice the unfortunate horse in the first picture. Lots of large debris had made it into the I-27 service road, including a dumpster and a lawn mower.

Incredible sunset on the back side of the supercell.

Some of the damage done to my vehicle.

May 8, 2002
North Oklahoma Storms


Approaching the storms from the south along US183 near Taloga.

Along US412 near Orienta.

A few dust spin-ups along the gust front north of Enid.

Just west of Perry as the storms approached from the north. I hope the 35mm pictures came out better than my digital camera attempts. Lots of lightning with this storm after dark.

May 27, 2002
Texas Panhandle


Left Norman about 1:30 with Aaron Kennedy and Kyle Mozley and high intentions on seeing something.

North of Brice, TX on Hwy70 looking west, we watched this storm go from promising to nothing in just a few minutes.

Not storm damage, but most we saw all day.

End of day for a LONG road trip...

June 15, 2002
Western Oklahoma

Not much to see today... rail, small hail, and a little wind damage in Weatherford. Sorry for the poor picture quality today.

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