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May 15, 2013: Cleburne, TX Nighttime Tornado

It’s a bit frustrating when you work all day to narrow down your target area only for a storm to form at dusk and create a nighttime tornado event.  We do have a rule pertaining to chasing at night.

If a night chase is going to happen, we must have good data coverage in the area for up to the second radar information and we must have a good road network.  Chasing at night can be extremely dangerous without having good remote sensing capabilities and good roads, dirt roads won’t do, because you can not judge the road conditions ahead of you.

Lucky for us, Texas paves just about every road in the state so the roads weren’t a problem, and there is excellent mobile data coverage so that wasn’t a problem, with neither being an issue, I opted for a night chase and  it paid off.  The imagery below are video stills showing the tornado backlight by the storm’s lightning.  Later validation would show this to be an EF-3 rated tornado with most significant damage just south of Lake Pat Cleburne.