Tag Archives | Oklahoma

May 22nd Northeast Oklahoma Tornadoes

May 22nd featured incredible surface moisture and very high CAPE values as well. I was a bit concerned with upper level winds, but down low it appeared sufficient for tornadic supercells, especially with vertical stretching due to strong instability. We started the day heading towards northeast Oklahoma in the Tulsa vicinity. By mid afternoon storms exploded near I-40 well southwest of the city, so we headed that way. We arrived west of Okmulgee as a tornadic supercell approached. It produced a nice multivortex tornado about 1 mile to our west, followed by a cone just north of us. As the storm moved northeast it weakened as a second tornadic supercell approached town. This storm would produce at least 2 more tornadoes that we could confirm and possibly a 3rd brief tornado northeast of the city. Structure was nice and for last May storm motion wasn’t extremely fast. All in all a fun day. Later in the evening a couple intense tornadoes occurred in Missouri that fortunately did not cause any loss of life. Enjoy the pics below!

April 30th Red River Area Tornadic Supercell

A day of big hopes was April 30th. Great moisture, high CAPE and strong deep layer shear would set the stage for supercell development. We started the day in Wichita Falls, Texas only to move across the Red River into southern Oklahoma. It appeared that storms would form along a cold front and intensify as they crossed the river into Oklahoma. We played with a cell near Randlett, OK initially, which never did much. It was severe, but never looked like a threat to produce tornadoes. Eventually a couple of cells formed in front of the cold front and rapidly became severe. One storm near Byers, Texas dropped a significant tornado just across the Red River from us. We figured since the storm was moving northeast at 35 mph that we would stay on the Oklahoma side of the river (since there are FEW crossings!) and wait for the storm and tornado to approach. To our much surprise the tornado dissipated and the supercell died as it came to us! There was NO reason for the NEW supercell to abruptly diminish! However it did, but not before we were able to get some photos of the structure and of the tornado in the distance. It was only about 8 miles away when it’s demise occurred. Fun day, frustrating day, but we all enjoyed ourselves!

April 3rd Southwest Oklahoma Supercell

April 3rd took us to southwest Oklahoma to film a commercial for Chevy Silverado trucks. After 2 days of intense filming in Colorado, we took the film crew to southwest Oklahoma in search of a supercell storm. It did not disappoint! Late afternoon a storm formed southwest of Wellington, Texas and moved into southwest Oklahoma near Hollis as it intensified into a formidable supercell! Fantastic structure, hail the size of tennisballs and nice lightning greeted us and the film crew. We stayed with the storm till sunset south of Snyder and then let it go. The tv crew was astonished at the sight of the supercell and came away with fantastic footage to use in the commercial. It will air late spring first on CNN and then later on other channels.

 

 

June 12th Oklahoma Panhandle Supercell

June 12th really didn’t look that good on paper.  Weak wind shear should have resulted in storms being multicellular or pulse. However, one storm formed on the Kansas border and drifted southwest and became a very pretty supercell. The big story with this storm was lightning and structure. At one point this storm was producing cgs at the rate of 5 per minute. Instability was quite strong and lapse rates were very steep.  The storm drifted westward for several hours and maintained its intensity. At one point it was a pretty stack of plates looking supercell. Colors were fantastic as well. Kudos to local fire departments for getting out and putting out the grass fires that were caused by this cell! There were many!! Mid evening the storm weakened and still gave us quite the light show as we drove to our hotel. Enjoy!

May 29th Northern Oklahoma Tornado Warned Supercell

May 29th took us to northern Oklahoma. An outflow boundary and advancing cold front across Kansas would provide the focus for supercell thunderstorms this day. Good moisture and extreme instability, as well as good wind shear would provide the ingredients needed for storms to sustain themselves and be intense. The first supercell formed over northern Oklahoma west of Alva and become severe. Later it would be tornado warned and produce a weak tornado.  The structure was quite pretty and the storm exhibited decent rotation from time to time. However it could not focus in one spot and usually had broad rotation. Nonetheless, it was a good long lived supercell and provided us many photographic opportunities along the way for Tour 5 and the Photo Tour #2! Enjoy the pics!

May 2nd Oklahoma Briefly Tornadic Supercells

May 2nd showed great promise from the eastern Texas panhandle across western and central Oklahoma. Good shear, moisture and instability would be found and a sharp dryline would provide the convergence necessary to initiate intense supercells. Clusters of storms formed first in southwest Kansas at the triple point, while numerous storms formed a touch later down the dryline. One storm we targeted was severe just northeast of Shamrock, Texas. We were quick to find out the failure mode this day and that would be too many cell mergers, splits and interactions. This first storm had merger issues and never got to what it could be. So, we targeted a new cell to our south that became tornado warned off and on for several hours. As the storm moved east to Binger, OK, it cycled several times and had great structure. It tried to produce but just couldn’t focus long enough to get a tornado down. The lightning on the cell was intense at times and occasionally wouldn’t allow us out of the vehicles. Soon, as models suggested, a long line of storms formed and became a wind producing machine as they marched across Oklahoma, with mesovorticies occasionally developing along the leading edge.

May 18th Oklahoma Tornadic Supercells

May 18th had amazing potential. Great shear, moisture and instability would be present on a day that SPC had a High Risk out for. The main caveat would be too many storms firing too fast, making for a very messy day.  We started the day near Clinton, OK and would chase the first supercell, and most tornadic, southwest of there. This storm produced a couple of tornadoes early on, then too many cell mergers would result a messy modes. It seemed that would be the result of this day, where very few tornadoes would actually occur. After chasing the initial supercell, we dropped south towards the Red River to intercept a supercell that was also tornado warned. Again too many cells on it’s upshear flank would make a messy situation on this storm as well. Still, it was a fun chase day with results that certainly didn’t support the High Risk issued.

May 16th Texas Panhandle and Southwest Oklahoma Tornadic Supercells

May 16th was advertised as a great potential day. The dryline in the Texas panhandle would be the focus for supercell development. It did not disappoint! Mid afternoon brought several supercells to the area, with one in particular near McLean.  Strong shear, deep moisture, great instability and lift would set the stage for several tornadoes to form this day. Most tornadoes occurred over open countryside, however one strong EF3 tornado did strike the Elk City, Oklahoma area causing significant damage. We witnessed the McLean tornado from it’s birth to death, then followed the Elk City storm from the TX/OK border to Elk City, where we chose to let it go.  The tornado was completely rain wrapped and not visible.  Storm structure was also fantastic this day, and the hail was huge, up to softball sized. Great first day for Tour 4!

 

July 13th Peckham, Oklahoma Gorgeous Supercell

July 13th was the second great day for the Great North Tornado Hunt tour. We started the day in Wichita. Extreme heat and instability would form that afternoon with temperatures near 100F and dewpoints in the upper 70s. Cells tried to form for a couple hours along a dryline/outflow boundary composite, and finally by around 5pm a significant supercell formed just west of Arkansas City, KS. This storm quickly became severe for large hail to tennisball size. As it continued to intensify, it moved due south towards northern Oklahoma near Peckham. This storm was a striated beast. It had continuous lightning, huge hail to baseball sized, and a wall cloud that spun like crazy.  By mid evening, the storm weakened as it merged with other cells to its west, and eventually lined out moving into central Oklahoma. One of my favorite nontornadic chases of 2016!

April 15th Eva, Oklahoma Tornadoes

April 15th had potential. We weren’t sure how storm modes would end up, and the bigger question was how good of quality would low level moisture be this day. The various models were at odds with each other. We decided to target the northern Texas panhandle dryline and hope storms could form, mature and then move off the dryline into better air. We sat around the Dalhart, Texas area waiting for initiation to occur. By mid afternoon storms started to form, but due to many splits, storms never maintained for very long without having merging issues. A couple storms did intensify and one particular supercell even became tornado warned southwest of Stratford. It actually tried hard as a wall cloud formed and was steadily rotating. However, its rear flank downdraft became too strong and undercut the storm’s updraft causing it to weaken. It cycled up and down a couple times, and then near Stratford, something happened. The storm was ingesting very unstable air as inflow dramatically increased. You could see a huge dirt plume skyrocketing upward as rapid lift was occurring in the storm’s forward portion of the updraft.

A tornado warning was reissued as the storm crossed into the Oklahoma panhandle. Soon a cone shaped funnel formed and was visible for about 5 minutes before it dissipated. The structure of the supercell was top notch as a sculpted liberty bell formed and spun wildly. We raced up the highway towards Eva and sat on US 64 east of town about 5 miles. An elephant trunk shaped tornado soon formed and stabbed the ground a few times and dissipated. Quickly another larger truncated cone shaped tornado formed and stirred up dirt and debris for a minute or two and also dissipated. As the supercell crossed 64 heading towards Eva the supercell had a very strong RFD surge as a new wall cloud quickly lowered to our northwest. Soon a pretty white elephant trunk shaped tornado formed, followed by a second one just to the east of the first. These two danced around for 10 minutes, often creating multiple vortices under them and then dissipated soon afterwards. By this time darkness was approaching and the storm was weakening, so we broke off our chase and headed for home.  Great day and fortunately all tornadoes occurred in open country!