May 29th, what else can be said. I have seen so many tornadoes in the past 20 years on this date. It is like the holy grail for tornadoes. This year would be no different either. We sat near Fairview, Ok watching a cluster of towers go up in a great environment. Good shear, good moisture, great instability and the triple point play. What could go wrong? A storm eventually emerged from the cluster of towers and became an intense supercell. We stayed in front of it from Okeene to Kingfisher and all the way to Yukon. The structure steadily got better and it became tornado warned near Kingfisher. Finally, with help from a left moving cell from the south, our storm produced a weak tornado north of the Yukon/Piedmont area. The best thing about this supercell was definitely its structure!
May 25th had tremendous potential. A warm front lay across central Kansas with a dryline intersecting it southwest of LaCrosse. By late afternoon, a supercell formed and moved along the warm front. It quickly became severe and tornado warned. Although reports of a tornado came in, we were directly under the circulation and only experienced RFD and TONS of dirt being kicked up. The storm moved northeast and became very high based and eventually died. By this time, we saw the tail end storm rapidly intensify and nearly anchor, so we blasted back southwest and arrived as the tail end supercell became intensely tornadic.
The structure was top notch with numerous inflow feeder bands wrapping around the north side of the updraft and a block shaped wall cloud with insane rising motion on the northeast side. I figured it was only a matter time before this storm produced and that was certainly an understatement. Just before dark and tapered cone tornado formed between LaCrosse and Hargrave and moved slowly east/northeast over the next 54 minutes! Frequent lightning constantly illuminated the tornado and allowed for some pretty decent photography. The tornado roped out northeast of LaCrosse where another tornado formed from the new mesocyclone. At one time there were actually 3 tornadoes on the ground, with the 3rd to our south actually going through LaCrosse. Fortunately no serious injuries or fatalities occurred from this tornadic supercell.
May 19th had some decent hopes of structured supercells. SPC highlighted the southern Nebraska area for higher tornado threat, but we chose to play further south along the dryline. Late afternoon, a line of towers rapidly formed and back built south as the boundary drifted southeast. A couple of these storms exhibited supercellular features, but it wouldn’t be until late afternoon that the boundary rapidly built south with each tower stretching the vorticity along the boundary and producing numerous non-supercell tornadoes. What a crazy day! We saw 5 tornadoes, with the final one being a strong EF3.
May 18th continued the trend of decent shear and little low level moisture. We started the day in southwest South Dakota and drifted southeast towards central Nebraska. By the end of the day we would have a high based supercell, which was severe warned, that produced copious amounts of CG strikes, many quite photogenic.
After a long break in the action, May 4th provided a high based supercell with decent structure near Walters, OK. This storm produced hail baseball sized and maintained a nice striated appearance for a couple hours before dissipating. I don’t have a lot of shots from it due to a malfunctioning CF card. Here’s the two I was able to grab.