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 1st had a lot of promise. However there were certainly some issues with the set up. Storm mode was unclear near the front in northern Kansas and a strong capping inversion southward along the dryline could result is very short storm lives in that area. We started near Great Bend and jumped on a storm that formed northeast of Dodge City. It quickly became tornado warned. Based on initial visuals of the storm, it had little tornadic threat at that time. As the storm moved northeast towards Interstate 70 it really ramped up, getting tornado warned for nearly 3 hours. Rotation was visibly increasing and the structure of the supercell became quite nice. Unfortunately a left moving split further south came crashing into it and basically killed it. Other storms formed north and south, and opting for the usual tail end storm this day proved to be the wrong play. As the tail end supercell moved east away from the dryline, it showed a nice hook on radar and became tornado warned. As we raced south, leaving the messy northern play to get on the tail end storm, it weakened and eventually died. Before dying, it gave us a very nice look at the updraft as it became a low precipitation supercell. 9 out of 10 times this play works. However this day it did not as a cluster of storms north of the interstate rotated and one dropped a significant tornado.
Enjoy the photos as it was a pretty supercell!