05-19-10 CHASE LOG: OK
This ended up being by far the worst chaser convergence I have every experienced and a rather stressful day, although we did see several funnels as well as a terrific rain wrapped tornado near Dover, OK.I was chasing for Silver Lining Tours and this was our Day 2 after seeing 4 tornadoes on day 1 of the tour.We woke up in Amarillo, TX to a moderate risk across much of OK and, while traveling east to our target area, the Storm Prediction Center upgraded to a High Risk for the potential for a severe weather and tornado outbreak.An MCS had gone through during the overnight and dropped an outflow boundary that intersected the warm front from northwest to southeast across OK.This likely helped to enhance the low level shear along the boundary.A surface low was forecast to move into northwest OK during the afternoon with a dryline mixing east into western portions of the state as well.Extreme instability of 2500-3500 j/kg and strong low and deep layer shear was forecast to develop ahead of the dryline and along the warm front during the afternoon on the 19th.The idea was to wait in Clinton, OK and wait for initiation either on the triple point, warm front, and/or dryline.There were also upper 60’s and lower 70’s dewpoints feeding into this area so moisture was a big bonus.
The triple point produced the first storm of the day shortly before 3pm and we waited for a half hour in Clinton until we were sure this would be the storm to go after.More towers were going up on the warm front and dryline and they were sure to fire soon, but the storm that was now west of Leedey, OK was really starting to look terrific so we took off after that north on Hwy 183 and west on Hwy 47.The storm produced a brief tornado near Leedey, before we got on it, but we did manage to see the tail end of the tornado from around 6-8 miles away as it was lifting.This storm had intense, new updrafts going up on the flanking line to the southwest of the storm with several nice wall clouds as each updraft went up.
The supercell was drifting to the east at 15-20 mph but it quickly became apparent that chaser convergence was going to be a major issue as this storm was continuing to progress into a more favorable environment and was the best storm anywhere in the country.Hundreds of chasers converged on this cell and Hwy 33 from Watonga to Kingfisher became a mess of chasers battling for position while trying to stay out of each other’s way.The storm kept recycling wall clouds and several funnels were noted on the route as we attempted to stay ahead of the storm.Near Watonga, the storm produced a rapidly rotating mesocyclone and we were barely able to stay head of a developing tornado at that time.Upon moving towards Kingfisher, we decided to travel north on Cty Rd 2740 and then east on Cty Rd 720, just ahead of the hook on radar and clearly in the notch as the hail core began to wrap around with the rear flank downdraft.Approaching the Dover area, the storm dropped a rain wrapped, cone tornado only around a half mile from the road which is seen in the photos below.We attempted to stay ahead of the tornado and wanted to drop south and get ahead of it, but were blocked by other chase vehicles and the tornado managed to cross the road directly in front of us and then off into a field very close to our position.The tornado was rain wrapped but I did get some short video of it at that time.In addition, this tornado did reportedly produce some damage to a farmstead in this area.
Lowering underneath the updraft of the storm north of Aledo, OK.
Intense, new updraft on the storm as we first got on it north of Aledo, OK.
Rain wrapped cone tornado!
Another shot of the tornado near Dover, OK. This thing almost ran us over due to other chasers blocking the road in front of us!
Edge of the mesocyclone of the supercell.
Another storm going up well to the south at sunset.
More photos can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157624106808676