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May 18 - Tornadoes in Oklahoma

Hello from Blackwell, Oklahoma!

We saw two tornadoes today in Oklahoma and some fantastic structure. 

We started the day off in Sayre, Oklahoma and the NWS SPC had issued a HIGH RISK and 30% hatched for tornadoes today. It was a difficult forecast because we were really torn between three options: warm front, dryline in northwest Oklahoma, or dryline in southwest Oklahoma. We decided the northwest Oklahoma dryline would be our play.

Tornado between Chester and Waynoka, Oklahoma on May 18, 2017.

We drove to Shattuck, Oklahoma where we spent time pouring over models and watching radar and satellite. The storms way to the south in southwestern Oklahoma started producing tornadoes which stressed us out a bit. We headed for storms firing just south and east of us and watched. The initial storms we were on were struggling to we headed for a storm just south of Waynoka, Oklahoma. As we were getting into position on the storm, out view of it was being obscured by hills to our south. We finally found a good vantage point and as we pulled over, we saw a tornado in its dissipating stages as a new wall cloud was forming to its northeast. The new wall cloud was rotating rapidly and we watched it for a while before repositioning farther west on the road. As we pulled to the top of a hill, we watched the tornado form. At its base, we could see it tearing up trees. We followed it for a bit before it eventually dissipated.

We decided to leave this storm for storms farther south. We headed down near Seiling and followed it up toward Meno, Oklahoma. It did look promising for a while with a beautiful bell-shaped updraft but it just couldn't keep its act together. It did produce some beautiful structure that we were able to photograph. 

We had a quick dinner and are now spending the night in Blackwell, Oklahoma. Tomorrow looks like a play in southern Oklahoma, likely south of the I-40 toward the Lawton area. We'll reassess in the morning. Currently, the NWS SPC has an ENHANCED RISK out for tomorrow with a 30% hatched for severe.

NWS SPC Day 2 Categorical with an ENHANCED risk (valid for May 19, 2017).