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Damage and Amazing Stories

As I mentioned earlier, we surveyed the Binger-El Reno-Peidmont-Guthrie tornado path. We stopped to speak to a fellow chaser, Rocky, and his son and wife who experienced the wedge tornado. His son told us an incredible story about how he had to run around the ranch letting the horses out, getting the vehicles places, getting supplies into the storm shelter, making sure his mother was okay and the entire time there was cloudto-ground lightning all around and a wedge tornado headed his way. They got into the storm shelter and were in there for about 10 minutes until the tornado passed. While in there they had to kill Black Widow spiders so they didn't get bitten. The tornado passed very close to their house but their house was spared. Other houses in the neighbourhood weren't as lucky. The damage was unbelievable.

I've added photos to the Photography section of damage. Tomorrow looks like another chase day around Oklahoma so we'll be sticking in this area. We'll also have a chance to visit the Storm Prediction Center and the National Severe Storms Labratory before we chase. This should be really cool to see.

Another Down Day and More Damage

So today is another down day for us. We just had some lunch and will be heading out shortly to look at some more damage from the Binger-El Reno-Piedmont-Guthrie tornado. We're then going to a fellow chaser's house which was just missed by this tornado and will be interviewing his wife who was there during the whole thing. She rode out the worst of it in their storm shelter.

More information on the outbreak (specifically in Oklahoma) can be found here: The Tornado Outbreak of May 24, 2011.

It looks like Friday - Sunday will be more chase days around Oklahoma again. We will be chasing Friday and Saturday and maybe Sunday then head back to Canada from there. So we have a few more opportunities to see more storms and possibly tornadoes before the trip is through. We also hope to have it to the SPC and NSSL building to check it out and maybe get a few shirts. 

We're going to head out not to check out the damage. I'll try to post more pictures later.

No Chase, Damage Survey and More Devastation

Today we took as a down day. There was tornadoes reported all over but were far from our position so we decided to stay put. Instead we decided to survey the damage path of the Chickasha to Moore, Oklahoma tornado. The damage was devastating. We could not believe our eyes. We saw damage at the bottom of the interstate and climbed a hill to take a look. When we got to the top of the hill we couldn't believe was we were seeing. Damage path as far as the eye can see, ground scouring by the tornado, houses destroyed ... It was terrible. We drove through the estimated 30 mile path of the tornado and at each turn the damage and devastation was just as jaw dropping as the first thing we saw. There were mangled cars, destroyed houses, giant propane tanks tossed. We even came across a barbed wire that had been put through a tree by the tornado ... The ground scouring was incredible to see. At one point the tornado went completely over some vegetation and farm fields are you could make out the scouring and the rotation. I will try to edit and upload those pictures tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be another down day for us. It looks like Friday - Sunday will be more severe weather in this area so we're going to get a bit more rest before the chase starts again. We'll be starting the journey home most likely on Sunday. I uploaded the Ada, Oklahoma tornado video to the video section and am in the process of doing the same with the Okeene, Oklahoma tornado we saw.

Seventh Chase Day - High Risk, Damage and Devastation

Today was interesting and frustrating. The cells went up early and fast today and all at once. Every cell was a supercell and a monster with hail and rotation. We followed a cell near Fairview, Oklahoma. Unfortunately from our vantage point it was so hazy that we couldn't see much. We tried to cut through the core but didn't want to risk the hail. Dave and Scott did push through and managed to get a rope tornado on the cell. What we didn't know is that this cell had just produced a massive wedge tornado. We managed not to see a tornado today but the devastation is awful.

The town of Peidmont is almost completely destroyed. There's been unconfirmed reports of people killed on the I-40. Tomorrow we aren't chasing and will take it slow and easy. We're going to try and see some of the damage caused by today's tornadoes. We saw some off the interstate earlier and just devastating. Unfortunately we all knew today was going to be a dangerous and deadly tornado day. Here is an interesting image of the El Reno, Oklahoma mesonet. A mesonet is a type of weather station and it records different atmospheric attributes. Here is a crop of the measured pressure and wind speed. I've outlined the spike/drop where the pressure drops off and the wind peaks as the tornado goes by:

I intended on editing some more video and photos but today was a really long day. We've been chasing for a week straight with no down days which means going to bed at around 1:00am every night and up by 8:00am and driving all day long - rinse and repeat. Hopefully I'll be able to get to some tomorrow.

Sixth Chase Day - Tiny Tornado, RFD and Kingfisher

Today was an interesting chase day. We spent the night in Norman, Oklahoma. It looked like storms would be northwest of Oklahoma City so we headed off towards Seiling, Oklahoma. We re-evaluated and managed to travel in circles. We got on one cell east of Fairview, Oklahoma. We were pulled off on the side of the road watching. WE couldn't get out of our vehicles because the lightning danger was fairly large with cloud-to-ground lightning almost constant. Then we saw it: a thin, rope tornado whose condensation funnel didn't reach the ground but we could see the debris on the ground. It was in the field for a few minutes besides dissipating. We continued on this cell for a bit but it began to die to we headed for another storm which was starting to look fantastic. We followed it for a bit and it looked like it was starting to collapse but then the low level jet kicked in and it started ramping up again. We had to head east in a hurry to make it to the town of Kingfisher so we could book it south to get out of the way of the circulation. In the mean time the RFD (rear-flank downdraft) was so strong it blew our antenna off the roof. The whole sell had become an HP (high-precipitation) mess so we could not see if it had a tornado in it or not. The velocity radar returns indicated rotation so we weren't taking any chances. 

We managed to get to the town of Kingfisher and head south out of the path of the storm. We headed a little south, pulled off and waited for the storm to pass. After it passed we headed back into the town which for the most part was fine, just some minor street flooding. After heading through the town we were treated to a beautiful lightning storm. After taking pictures and video of the lightning we headed for some dinner and turned in for the night.

Tomorrow looks like it has incredible potential for tornadoes. NWS SPC has issued a High Risk for severe storms and 30% hatched for strong tornadoes in the area we're currently in. Here is the strong wording about May 24th from the NWS SPC:

Convective Weather Outlook risk map for May 24th.Tornado Potential Outlook for May 24th. 

Needless to say, tomorrow will be interesting. I think we're all a little tired as well. This is our sixth straight day of chasing with no down day. However, we're grateful that we've had the chance to chase these many days. We've been keeping updated on the situation in Joplin, MO which is awful. The death toll is rising as well. So unfortunate.

Ok, time to go to sleep. We've been going non-stop all day so time to tuck in.