Green Sky Chaser

9 March 2009 Chase Log

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Target Area: Hinton/Clinton, Oklahoma (Click on city names for Yahoo! maps links)

Chase Area: Hinton/Lawton, Oklahoma

Observations: one supercell

Distance: 250 miles

Time: 8 hours

Chase Team: Car 1 - Dean Narramore, Jeff Makowski, Amy Edmonds, and myself; Car 2 - Rob Lee, Rob Warren, Pete Argyle, and Becky Hewins

SPC Convective Outlook: Slight Risk (Click to see SPC products, data, and storm reports)

Chase Setup: Good shear day with a weak dryline in western Oklahoma and a warm front near the Oklahoma/Kansas border, but potential problems with low instability, strong cap, and low moisture. Decided to head out anyway, just to get back on the road and shake off the dust from the chasing equipment.


Chase Log: We left Norman in the early afternoon to go to Hinton. When we got there, the cap was still holding strong but we felt fairly good about our position. We sat at the Microtel Hotel for what seemed hours (somewhere between 2 and 3, I think it was), getting more and more depressed as we looked at the sky and reviewed data. Every little turkey tower began to get us excited, only to end up as a deflated stratocumulus.

We finally decided to head south on Highway 281, towards what looked like a growing cumulonimbus. On our way down there, we saw a large "smokenado"...well, it was actually a column of smoke that eventually tilted up and reached the apparent cloud base, making it look like a tornado if you hadn't noticed that it wasn't rotating. Stopping in the middle of nowhere - not far from the actual unincorporated town of Nowhere, Oklahoma (yes, it does exist!) - we reevaluated our chase strategy as the storm wasn't looking very impressive, despite a little bit of mammatus above us.

A little disappointed at how the day was going, we continued driving south towards Lawton and saw a nice updraft base on the horizon. We never did see a well-defined wall cloud with rotation, but other chasers reported that it did have one. At least we got a nice view of the storm silhouetted against the wind farm down in the Wichita Mountains near dark. The supercell chased us back to Norman, most of the way along I-44.


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