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Storm Chase 2019

  

May 25 - Tri-State Chasing

Hello from Dodge City, Kansas!

We started the morning off in Amarillo, TX. Last night we had our celebratory steak at The Big Texan. From Amarillo we headed north toward Stratford, TX then continued through the Oklahoma Panhandle toward extreme southeast Colorado where a good looking storm was developing over Campo, CO. Unfortunately the only direct roads to the storm were dirt and very water-logged so there was no getting through. We backtracked a bit then came up into southwest Kansas around Manter area.

From here we were able to watch the business-end of the storm and a decent wall cloud with an abundance of rotation formed. It dissipated quickly, however, so we proceeded a bit east to keep ahead of the storm toward Johnson City. The storm then fell apart... There was too much ongoing convection all around the storm we were watching and they all interacted to eventually just form a blobby mess.

We continued east toward Ulysses, in blinding rain I might add, then dropped a bit south to take a look at the storm out of the rain. It had... died. So we called it a chase day. 

Originally we were battling the decision to drpo south from Amarillo in the morning toward Lubbock but decided on the northern target. It looks like there was a tornado northwest of Lubbock buried in the rain (according to chaser reports). That whole area is flooding again, almost the same spots as yesterday.

We're in Dodge City for the night decided on the play for tomorrow where the NWS SPC has outlined an ENHANCED risk again.

May 24 - Flooding in West Texas

Hello from Amarillo, Texas!

Quite a day today... we started the morning in Plainview, TX and were generally in the target area for the day so we took our time, had a late breakfast, then started heading south to Lubbock. On our way storms were already initiating which was about 2-3 hours earlier than most models were predicting. 

We got to Lubbock and headed southwest toward Ropesville where one storm cell in particular was looking good. We watched it for a while and it had a decent wall cloud on it then it dissipated and became outflow dominant. It did that another couple of times so we repositioned further east ahead of it but not after driving through its core which had no hail it in but a lot of rain. 

A storm was getting its act together a bit further east toward Wayside so we went to try and meet up with it. By the time we got there, it had a wall cloud but much like the last storm, dissipated and became outflow dominant. We could tell the storms were done so we decided to call it a day and head for Amarillo for the evening. Now comes the scary part... we had to get to the I-27 to head north but between us and there was a very flooded and flooding highway 82.

We got to Crosbyton, stopped briefly, then decided to continue west toward Lubbock. That was an intense drive... section of the road were under a foot of water. Some of it was still, some of it was flowing. All the while, it was raining and hailing (small hail). If we stayed where we were, we would have been caught in the flooding so we pushed on. We finally made it out of all the flooding and eventually got to Lubbock where we proceeded north.

Amarillo puts us in a good position for tomorrow's ENHANCED risk keep southeast Colorado, southwest Kansas, and the Oklahoma and Texas Pandhandles all in play. We'll assess further in the morning and decide our play. We're also going to hit up the Big Texan tonight and get ourselves some steak!

 

May 23 - Storms in Texas

Hello from a raging thunderstorm in Plainsview, Texas!

We started the morning off in Tulsa, OK... yes... Tulsa... We drove a total of about 600 miles today! We headed west out of Tulsa toward the Texas Panhandle. The NWS SPC had upgraded the day to a MODERATE with a 10% hatched for tornadoes. Things evolved weirdly today as a bunch of storms were ongoing in the northern Texas Panhandle but they were in a poor environment. There were, however, really good looking storms down near Lubbock in a fantastic environment.

We decided to head south to get to those storms. As we got there, the one storm started looking really good. It produced a strongly rotating wall cloud and was very close to produced then that wallcloud dissipated. We followed with it and it produced another two two wallclouds before finally falling apart. It just couldn't get its act together enough to produce a tornado.

A very large tornado formed in the eastern Texas Panhandle which had been our original target which made today very frustrated... but that's storm chasing. Sometimes you score, sometimes you bust.

Tomorrow has potential for another active day but we're worried the current thunderstorms rolling through this area tonight may ruin the environment for tomorrow. We'll just have to wake up and see.

NWS SPC outlook for May 24.

May 22 - Tornadoes in Northeast Oklahoma

Hello from Tulsa, Oklahoma!

We started the morning in Norman, OK with the idea of chasing northeastern Oklahoma. There were two issues with that: 1) bad chase terrain with a lot of hills and trees and 2) a ton of flooded out roads. We had to be really careful to ensure not to go too far north and east of Tulsa due to the flooding. Oh, and it's George Kourounis' birthday so the pressure was on to get him birthday tornadoes.

Even though the risk posted by the NWS SPC was on the lower side, we saw a lot of promise in the models. We started to make our way from Norman, OK to Prague, OK. As we were departing Norman, the NWS SPC upgraded the risk to a MODERATE RISK for storms and a 15% hatched for tornadoes.

We waited in Prague, OK for a while to assess our play. Some storms started firing just to our south while a larger, more potent looking storm was firing down near Lawton, OK. We finally decided to head east out of Prague, OK toward Okemah, OK. Here we paused looking west when we saw our first tornado of the day pass just northwest of our location. That tornado dissipated but the storm still looked good. To keep up with the storm, we decided to head east to Henryetta, OK. The entire time the wall cloud was spinning like crazy.

Several times it was so close to producing another tornado then dissipated. Finally, closer to Okemah, OK, the storm produced a large tornado. The issue is we had trouble seeing it due to trees and hills. At one moment, it appeared there might be two on the ground. Eventually the tornado dissipated.

Quick snapshot on my phone of large tornado east of Henryetta, Oklahoma from today, May 22.

To continue to track the storm, we went north out of Henryetta to Okmulgee then to Muskogee and north out of there. We passed through Wangoner, then Choteau, then Pryor. From Pryor we ventured west but got too close to the rotation so we backtracked east toward Salina, OK. On the way to Salina, we stopped a couple of times because the lightning was unreal.

From Salina we headed south until we found a good vantage point to watch. Unfortunately it had gotten dark so we were only able to catch glimpses of the wall cloud. We decided to call it a day since we couldn't get visuals anymore and head in for the night.

Tomorrow looks like a decent chase day in the Texas Panhandle but we have a long drive ahead of us!

NWS SPC outlook for May 23.

May 21 - Storm Damage, Wichita Mountains

Hello from Norman, Oklahoma!

We started the morning off in Vernon, TX with no real chase plans for the day. The tornado risk was in central and northern Kansas which put us way too far from the target so we decided not to chase. Instead we decided to head back to Mangum, OK to look for any tornado damage, assess where we saw it cross the road, and also be a bit touristy and visit the Wichita Mountains.

We found several areas of damage on the north and west side of Mangum. It appears the town suffered more of a glancing blow and that the tornado passed just to the north of the town. Thankfully this meant the worst case scenario didn't pan out for the folks of Mangum, however, several homes were damaged.

We wanted to reassess where we were when the tornado crossed through the town. We were northbound approaching the tornado on the 283. As it crossed the road, we were roughly around E County Rd 1470 (or just north of there) and the damage further north on the road was at E County Rd 1460. That put us within about 0.75-1 mile or less from the tornado as it crossed the 283.

Rough track of the May 20 Mangum, OK tornado based on what we saw and damage as well as our path we took tracking it.

From there we went and visited the Wichita Mountains; specifically a spot that Kyle Brittain recommended called Charon's Garden/Treature Lake Trailhead in Indiahoma. It was absolutely beautiful. We spent some time there taking pictures and enjoying the scenery before making our way to Norman, OK.

We went out for dinner at Saltgrass to get our tornado steaks! We're now forecasting and decided our play for tomorrow. Looks like plenty of chasing left on this trip...

NWS SPC outlook for tomorrow, May 22.