April 29, 2009
Cedar Hill, Texas Tornado

Documented by: Scott F. Blair

6:06 p.m. CDT: First signs of a tornado rapidly develop initially as a very narrow condensed tube, followed by an outer sheath of condensation surrounding the core. The cloud base motion was quite rapid. The tornado is approximately 1.5 miles west of Cedar Hill, TX.

6:07 p.m. CDT: Wide angle view of the tornado with awesome storm structure. One can visually infer much in the way of idealized tornadogenesis theory with the forward and rear flank regions relative to the recently developed tornado.

6:08 p.m. CDT: Another wide angle view looking due west of the fully condensed tornado. At this point, it's apparent the tornado has ended its brief eastward motion and has taken a southeast path towards the road. Surprisingly, the precipitation is nicely separated from the tornado location, even with somewhat of a weakness existing at H7.

6:09 p.m. CDT: The tornado is crossing Ranch Road 97 approximately 1 mile west of Cedar Hill, TX. Power flashes were noted as the condensed vortex passed over the road. Investigation post-tornado revealed 3-4 power poles snapped off oriented to the south.

6:10 p.m. CDT: Wide angle view of the barrel-like tornado. The fields were quite saturated from previous rainfall which likely mitigated a large, dusty debris cloud during the majority of the tornado's lifespan. In person, the vortex consistently maintained a multi-vortex debris whirl, but was difficult to photograph due to the extreme contrast.

6:11 p.m. CDT: The tornado continues to move closer and to the left (southeast motion) of my location. In this wide angle photo, it's apparent the condensed vortex is beginning to gradually shrink in size as outside condensed filaments rotate around and dissipate. The overall motion, both the tornado and low level cloud base, was phenomenal in this stage.

6:13 p.m. CDT: The tornado has moved to my immediate south. This has provided a spectacular backdrop of virtually clear sky behind the narrow cone tornado. The wide angle view shows some of the low level storm structure with the vortex.

6:13 p.m. CDT: I zoomed to 22mm to acquire a tighter shot of the cone tornado. A narrow condensed tube can be observed near the base of the vortex surrounded by near-translucent condensation. This feature was visible several times during the life cycle of the tornado.

6:14 p.m. CDT: A wide angle view displays the beginning tilting, rope stage of the main tornado. To the east (left portion of the photo), a new funnel cloud and eventual tornado can be seen from presumably the new area of rotation. I'm uncertain how long the new tornado persisted, but it was likely 5 minutes or less.

6:16 p.m. CDT: I briefly drove east for roughly one mile and stopped to watch the final dissipation of the main tornado. Rapid motion was observed within the condensed rope tornado with a healthy debris cloud. The tornado quickly roped out and dissipated, ending an awesome 10 minute long tornado over open fields.

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