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« Day 5: The Day After and the Day Before "The Day" | Main | Day 4: High Risk Chase Day »

Day 4: First Chase Day, Lots of Tornadoes

Wow... that sums up the day.  This was our first official chase day of the trip and needless to say we saw tornadoes!  We got going from Blackwell, OK at around 2:00pm and headed towards Medford, OK.  We saw the lowering develop on the storm and sure enough, it dropped a tornado.  We were a little close and out of position so we repositioned further up the road.  The only way I can explain the spinning motion was like a merry-go-round.  There was the main tornado and the suction vorticies around it.  Our greatest video was taken by Meghan and we drove away from the tornado as it came down the road then crossed about a 1/2 mile behind us.  The great thing about the video is it's a beautiful shot of it and then you see a satellite tornado wrap around it.  At one point, the tornado was a wedge.  Unfortunately I was manning Mark's cameras (for him and The Weather Network) so I wasn't able to get my own footage.  I'll be getting some from Meghan and Heather in the next couple of days.  It was wild and probably the largest adrenaline rush I've ever experienced.  On a scale of 1 to 10 compared to the Woodbridge tornado I saw, this was 25.  It didn't even come close to this.  Here's a rough map of where we traveled today.  We went from Blackwell to Medford then to Bartlesville.  After Bartlesville we decided to call it a day, get some food then head to Norman, OK to get into good position for tomorrow.

We continued on trying to catch these storms but the problem was the storms were moving so fast that once you got into position, it practically blew by you.  We did continue on but came up behind a storm and were about to punch the core (where the biggest hail is) so we backed off because we didn't want to smash out any windows or the windshield.  We did get some golfball size hail which was exciting.

The Storm Prediction Center has 37 tornado reports.  Unfortunately a tornado did pass through Norman, OK earlier this evening (this is where we're staying tonight, don't worry mom no danger of storms tonight).  There were at least 5 fatalities today(in Oklahoma County and Cleveland County).  The tornado that passed through Norman was rated a possible EF3.  This is the map of the tornado reports today (in red):

Tomorrow is not looking as severe as today but there is still a slight risk of severe weather.  According to Mark, tomorrow looks like the kind of day with a less chance of tornadoes but a better chance of seeing some really good storm structure.  Hopefully tomorrow we can get some really good shots.  In the meantime, I added some pictures to my photo gallery (link at top of the page).

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