Tag Archives | EF4

May 9th Wynnewood and Sulphur, Oklahoma Violent Tornadoes

May 9th was one of the best days of 2016. Deep moisture, high CAPE values, great wind shear and strong lift along a dryline would generate several intense and tornadic supercells in central and southern Oklahoma.  We positioned ourselves south of Pauls Valley as a persistent updraft was forming to our southwest. One supercell formed and anchored there and became tornado warned. However, it was the new updraft on its southern flank that would become the storm of the day. This updraft would become an intense tornadic supercell dropping an EF4, and 2 EF3 tornadoes along its path.

Our intercept of the very close and INTENSE EF4 Wynnewood tornado would be one our guests will never forget. A very predictable and fairly stable tornado would allow us to get very close to it, something we usually do on our Close Encounters tour. We were positioned a couple hundred yards north of the path of this tornado, and we flipped the vans around, ready to jump in and get out of the way should it make a sudden turn. It did not. It passed very close to us. You could hear the waterfall sound of the tornado as it ripped its way across the highway next to us. It would move east and dissipate near I-35. But this storm was far from done. A nearly mile wide tornado would develop and pass just north of Sulphur and an additional elephant trunk shaped tornado would form east.  Both of these tornadoes were rated EF3.  At the end of the day we would drop all the way south of the Red River into northern Texas as more supercells would develop and become tornado warned.

The photos of the vans in front of the tornado are courtesy of Hank Schyma !!! THANK YOU Hank!!!!

Our hearts go out to those who suffered losses this day.

June 16, 2014 Northeast Nebraska Tornado Outbreak

First, our heart felt sympathy goes out to those who suffered losses on this day. When we awoke on the morning of June 16th, I had butterflies in my stomach. I knew there would be potential for strong to violent tornadoes in Nebraska. Unfortunately those fears were realized as at least a half dozen strong or violent tornadoes would ravage the area east of Norfolk. The town of Pilger would be particularly hardest hit. We spent a good chunk of the day around Columbus analyzing data and watching things unfold.  With a temp of 83 and a dewpoint of 78, stiff east winds buffeted the area along a warm front. Conditions were ripe for powerful supercells and tornadoes. Mid afternoon storms formed along and north of the warm front. They moved into colder air and weakened. We knew it wouldn’t be long before storms would form along the warm front and ride it eastward with extreme shear. Southeast of Norfolk the first tornado formed and tracked near Stanton. Another tail end cell developed and produced the rest of the tornados this day with twin EF4 tornadoes destroying Pilger and other locations northeast of there. We watched from the back side of the tornadoes, about 1-2 miles east of us as the event unfolded. An event we’ll never forget! Tornadoes of every shape, size and strength occurred. The last time twin violent tornadoes occurred so close together was nearly 50 years ago! Amazing, and devastating to say the least!