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May 17 - Forecast for May 18 Risk

Hello from Sayre, Oklahoma!

We started the morning off in Lawton, Oklahoma after a terrible stay (never, ever stay at the Days Inn in Lawton... Better yet, just try not to stay in Lawton at all unless you stay in one of the expensive hotels). Tonight is a completely different story! We're staying in the AmericInn right off the I-40 in Sayre, Oklahoma and it is a gem! Newly renovated, beautiful rooms, awesome staff, and even a bar!

Okay... enough of that.

We decided to retrace the path of the Elk City tornado and take a look at the damage caused. It took us to the south side of Elk City where the worst of the tornado damage was done. So far, the NWS in Norman, Oklahoma have only tweeted that they found EF2 damage but no official rating has been given. From what we were able to see it looked like high-end EF3 damage but we'll see what the official assessment says. Unfortunately there was one fatality (among other injuries as well). The Red Cross is here helping out and what looked like the entire community was out helping those affected clean up and recover.

We went for dinner to get our steak for correctly forecasting and chasing a tornado yesterday and we went to a local restaurant in Sayre called Rodriguez's Steakhouse... It was incredible! Wow, some of the best steak I've ever had.

Alright, on to tomorrow's risk: The NWS SPC has issued a MODERATE RISK for severe storms tomorrow including tornadoes and "a strong tornado or two is possible, particularly across parts of southwestern Kansas and adjacent northwestern Oklahoma late Thursday afternoon and evening." Also curious to see if the SPC upgrades to a HIGH RISK for tomorrow as the parameters do seem to be in play for that.

NWS SPC Day 2 Categorical outlook with a MODERATE RISK (valid for May 18, 2017).

As for our forecast, the question is whether to play the warm from into Kansas or the dryline push. Currently we're favouring the dryline as it has the potential for more discrete and visible storms rather than the warm front which could produce tornadoes but hard to see due to high precipitation potential. We will likely position about an hour or so north of here tomorrow and reassess as the day progresses. A surface low will develop in southeast Colorado with a dryline extending into southwest Kansas and western Oklahoma. Low level shear parameters along the warm front are a lot better but they may be more short lived. The dryline storms have the potential to be longer lived. So the ultimate question is... Do you play the warm front with the amazing parameters and great backed winds but risk these storms being high-precipitation, short lived, and less visible or do you play the dryline with fairly good parameters but the potential to be more visible and longer lived? The chaser's (and forecaster's) conundrum...