Green Sky Chaser

12 May 2010 Chase Log

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

Chase Area: Woodward to Clinton to Dill City, Oklahoma

Observations: two wall clouds, one supercell, hail, and lightning

Distance: 480 miles

Time: 10 hours, 40 minutes

Chase Team: Jeff Makowski and myself

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

Chase Setup: A shortwave trough was located over the Four Corners region, with a surface low in the Texas Panhandle. Warm front extended northeastward through central into northeastern Kansas, while a dryline was located over west central Oklahoma. Dewpoints ahead of the dryline were in the upper 60s. CAPE values of over 3000 J kg-1 ahead of the dryline in Oklahoma. Wind shear was not as strong as on Monday; the highest values of helicity were in northeastern Oklahoma into southeastern Kansas. Storms expected to form near the triple point and along the warm front into Kansas.

Blog Entries:

Chase #6 (before)


Chase Log: We first drove up to Enid, with the idea that we may want to move west, thinking storms may form ahead of the dryline. Once we got up there, we realized the dryline was much farther west than expected, and storms were already starting to form in northwestern Oklahoma.

We drove out on Highway 281 to Woodward, where we hid under a gas station roof to avoid getting hit by hail in the line of storms that was heading in our direction. However, the hail was rather underwhelming, as the only hailstones that fell were pea-sized. Realizing that that was about all the excitement we would get out of some linear multicell thunderstorms, and noticing that a pair of large supercells was starting to organize in far west central Oklahoma, we decided to drive south towards I-40.

A couple hours later, we intercepted the southern supercell south of Clinton, near Dill City. We saw a wall cloud from a distance, as we drove on numerous county roads (not all of them paved), stair-stepping our way closer to the storm. Just outside of Dill City, we heard the tornado sirens go off and saw dozens of other chasers (including VORTEX2) drive past.

After watching the massive hail core and beautiful green sky for a while, we drove back east and then north a few miles. Just north of Cordell, we stopped and watched a great tornado-look-a-like (aka "scudnado") and debated what to do next. It was difficult to decide where to sit on the storm, as it was such a monster HP and there were a couple of other cells developing behind it, making it hard to see what was going on with the storm. We let the storm get away from us a bit before driving north and then stair-stepping our way east and north again on the mostly gravel county roads.

At one point we stopped to take photos of a giant mesocyclone, that looked like it was nearly sitting on the ground. It started to get dark, but frequent lightning lit up a large wall cloud. I thought I saw a funnel cloud or possibly even a tornado protruding out of the wall cloud, but since the lightning strikes did not always light up the right parts of the storm at the right times, I could not be sure of what I was seeing. I soon found out that there was a tornado spotted near Clinton, on I-40, just a few minutes before this time.

We stopped just outside of Clinton for some chocolate shakes at Braum's, before driving north again to Geary to watch the lightning. However, we let the storms get away from us, and soon drove back home.

The day turned out a bit better than I had expected; although we missed the Clinton tornado (even though we were staring right at the storm when it was producing), we at least made it to a tornadic supercell and saw some nice structure and lightning.


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