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Fourth Chase Day - Tornado, Indecision and BBQ

May 21 Chase Day: Sorry for the delay in updates. The last two days we've had little to no internet connection at the hotels. Finally got a little bit of a good connection this morning. I'm currently in Ardmore, Oklahoma and yesterday (fourth chase day, May 21) we saw our first tornado of 2011! 

We started the day off in Enid, Oklahoma and if you ever decide to come storm chasing and decide to stay in Enid: do not stay at the Days Inn on America's Best Value Inn. They are awful hotels, dirty, stinky and on the wrong side of town. The Super 8 and other hotels there are just fine though! Nevertheless ... We woke up in Enid and had to decide whether or not it was worth it to chase that day. Rocky Rascovich, veteran storm chaser, was holding his annual chaser BBQ just north of Oklahoma City. We went and had breakfast and went back and forth on whether to chase or go to the BBQ. In the end we decided to go to the BBQ and monitor the weather from there. It was a great time on this beautiful ranch and then we saw it, in the distance, towering cumulus and amazing storm structure! The problem? The storm we were seeing was 1.5 hours away near Ada, Oklahoma! We jumped in our vehicles and raced towards it.

Because we're in the Plains you can see forever so as we're driving towards the storm we're seeing the structure get better and better as this thing grew into a raging supercell. AS we're about 40 minutes away we start seeing reports of a rotating wall cloud ... Then it becomes tornado warned ... Then we start to see a couple of tornado reports. At this point we think, "Yeah, we're not going to make it and we're starting to lose daylight." We continued on though and as we approached the storms the one we were originally keeping an eye on began to look less impressive but another storm was taking better shape on its heals. 

When we finally got to the storm we were in perfect position! Here is a screen cap of our position and if you understand radar and meteorology you'll see we were right in perfect position to see the rotation and stay our of harms way:

 Screen capture of our location form GRLevel 2.

We watched textbook set up of tornado formation right near Ada, Oklahoma. We watched the whole formation of the tornado from start to finish. It was fantastic to watch and we all got the whole thing, start to finish, on video. Here's a screen cap of the tornado I took from my video:

First tornado of 2011, May 21 near Ada, OK.

In the end we're glad we ended up chasing. It was straight out of Twister (if you've ever seen the movie): Went to a BBQ, sat comfortably and ate well, had a beer, then raced out to go see a tornado! We've also heard reports that there were no injuries which is also good. Unfortunately the internet connection here isn't good enough to upload the photos and videos I've taken from the last two days (May 20 and May 21) so I'll have to do that in the coming couple of days when the internet is better.

Today looks interesting. We're in a 10% hatched area for tornadoes today right where we are. We're going to do some forecasting now to decide where to go.

Reader Comments (3)

Great video! They showed it on TWN this morning!

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I'm so jealous was there steak at the bbq? lol steak and mashed potatoes!!:)

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I have been following along on your journey, and while I say i would never do it, because of my extreme fears of thunderstorms let alone tornadoes, Im glad you finally got one, be safe. God Bless

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Walston
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