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May 21 - Chase Day 7 - Squall Line & BBQ in Texas

We started the day in Denton, TX and headed SW toward Stephenville, TX. The storms were rapidly forming into a messy raging squall line as we approached Stephenville.

We decided to stop for lunch and found an amazing BBQ place called Hard Eight BBQ Pit in Stephenville, TX. It was unbelievable. Best BBQ I've ever had!

May 21 - BBQ Photos

We continued on to Wichita Falls, TX for the night. Tomorrow looks like a down day so we may just be heading north to Amarillo, TX to get in position for tomorrow.

May 20 - Chase Day 6 - Tornadoes in Oklahoma

What a devastating few days ...

We're in Denton, Texas right now. First off, we were not there for the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. We were a couple of hours south.

We started the morning in Norman, Oklahoma. Eerie how close we were this morning to the destroyed area now. We continued south to Waurika, Oklahoma. A great majority of chasers targeted southern Oklahoma. Many forecast models were indicating that the OKC area would become linear quickly ... but as we saw today, it didn't turn out that way.

The cells went up around Waurika and we went north to Duncan where the supercell was rapidly developing. It created a large wall cloud and then a funnel cloud. Due to distant trees we couldn't tell if there was debris on the ground or not. Spotters in the area reported that it did touch down briefly so we saw the tornado.

The storm weakened and we continued south to another cell. It became rapidly rain-wrapped and all the while we started hearing about Moore, Oklahoma. As disappointed as we are not to have seen the tornado since every chaser's goal is to see a tornado, I'm horrified at what I'm seeing. This isn't the first time Moore or other large cities have been hit by tornadoes, and it won't be the last, but it's just devastating. 

We're at the hotel in Denton, Texas right now watching the news and it's terrifying. As a chaser this is the type of thing you NEVER want to see. We all want the giant wedge in the middle of an open field, not devastating a town or city. Our thoughts are with everyone touched by today's tornado as well as the tornadoes over the past couple of days. It has been a horrible couple of days.

Here are a few pictures I took today: May 20 Photos

... Didn't feel like taking too many after the horrible things unfolding in Moore. Just terrible.

 

May 19 - Chase Day 5 - Supercells in Kansas & Oklahoma

Hello from Wichita, Kansas.

We started the day in Wichita and continued southwest to our target. Storms started to initiate and we got up on the storm. As soon as we got up on it it became rain-wrapped. This storm ended up continuing toward Wichita and causing damage to the city.

We headed south to intercept more cells and chased them into Okmulgee, Oklahoma. We got up on one supercell and it did produce a good wall cloud but just couldn't produce. We called it a chase and headed to Norman for the night. Tomorrow's another moderate risk ... looks like it will be another dangerous and messy day.

There are photos from today: May 19 Chase Day

May 18 - Chase Day 4 - Tornadoes in Central Kansas

Full update now!

We woke up in North Platte, NE and had a quick breakfast. The SPC issued a 10% hatched tornado risk for our target area. We headed south out of North Platte, NE toward Oakley, KS. As we approached Oakley we saw the first towers of the day going up. We continued south out of Oakley toward Scott City, KS. From there we headed east toward Dighton then toward Ness City, KS. We watched the storm grow and the inflow really pick up. We then headed slightly north to get a better look and structurally it was starting to look great. The storm formed an amazing wall cloud and we thought, "This is it!" But then it dissipated ... The storm then formed another wall cloud but that one as well dissipated. We stayed with the storm for a bit but it was becoming outflow dominant. There were a couple of tornado reports from local law enforcement but I doubt there were actually any tornadoes. There were so many chasers, including part of our crew, and they never saw a tornado. Still a decent storm nonetheless.

We noticed a cell taking shape east of Dodge City, KS so we abandoned our cell and blasted south. On approached to the storm we started seeing the tornado reports on Twitter ... Disheartened that we were missing the show. Then the pictures started surfacing of the massive cone tornado and it got eerily quiet in the car as we held our breath. We learned the first tornado dissipated and then a second formed. Still holding our breath! Finally we're getting close and there's a shower between us and the tornadic supercell. As we pushed through the shower, there it was! A beautiful wall cloud forming and tornado touchdown!

The tornado touched down in open field and we pulled off to take video and pictures. Just then, another tornado touched right in the field beside us to our east but thankfully dissipated rather quickly. The tornado was on the ground for about 10-15 minutes and wasn't moving really at all so it gave us great opportunity to shoot pictures and video.

Photos from yesterday's chase: Storm Chase 2013 - May 18 - Chase Day 4: Tornadoes in Kansas

The tornado dissipated in a glorious rope out and then we decided to call it a day. We were treated to a beautiful sunset and amazing lightning display on the way back to our hotel. Spent the night in Wichita, KS and getting set for another moderate risk today with 15% hatched for tornadoes!

 

Quick Update - May 18 - Chase Day 4 - Tornadoes in Central Kansas

Hello from Wichita, Kansas.

I'll make this a quick one since it's 1:00am CDT and we're all pretty exhausted. We saw two tornadoes today just west of Larned, Kansas along the 156. We were racing south as we had been on a tornado warned storm up near WaKeeney, Kansas. As we were heading south, the storm put down two tornadoes. Just as we pulled up it put down the third tornado. We pulled off to shoot video and take pictures of the tornado to our west. Just to the east of our pull-off a second tornado briefly touched down then dissipated. We were able to shoot the tornado for a while.

Pictures and video to come, I promise! Good night!