Green Sky Chaser

18 April 2009 Chase Log


Target Area: Kingfisher, Oklahoma

Chase Area: Shawnee/Slaughterville, Oklahoma

Observations: one supercell, squall line, hail, hail fog, lightning, and a rainbow

Distance: 300 miles

Time: 7 hours

Chase Team: Dean Narramore, Rob Warren, and myself

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

Chase Setup: Stacked low over southern Kansas with a cold front stretched through central Kansas and a dryline extending southward into western Oklahoma. Moderate instability and strong vertical speed shear expected. Dewpoints only in the 50s, but will be sufficient to produce supercells along the dryline with the capability to produce large hail. Storms expected to quickly form a squall line, but low-level vertical shear may be sufficient to produce tornadoes in northwest Oklahoma.

Chase Log: This day looked more like a squall line day than anything, so I wasn't even planning on chasing until about 20 minutes before I left. Dean somehow persuaded me to go, making it the first time I'd ever gone chasing for three days in a row! We started off by driving up to Kingfisher, hoping against hope that we'd get an isolated supercell forming out ahead of the squall line that was already coming together in northwestern Oklahoma. By the time we got to Kingfisher, nothing much was happening other than the squall.

Thinking our afternoon was a big bust, without even any rain or lightning to make it feel like a chase, we sadly turned around and drove back towards Oklahoma City. Not far from the City, we noticed a couple of cells that had just popped up and the larger, more impressive one, was headed for Midwest City. When we got to Midwest City, we had a nice supercell on hand and headed south at Shawnee to get on the south side of the storm.

We saw a little bit of weak rotation in the mid-levels, but it was so broad and weak (not to mention the cloud base was too high) that we knew our tornado chances were next to none. We stopped in the path of the hail core (Dean wanted to get hailed on - and it was his car!), but all we got were some tiny pea-sized hailstones and a nice rainbow afterwards. We saw some lightning as well, though it was not too impressive.

Another storm fired up near Oklahoma City, and on our way back north and then west, we saw yet another storm fire to our south. The lightning was starting to look amazing, so we stopped near Slaughterville to watch the lightning for a while. It turned out to be quite a stunning show, full of cloud-to-ground and intracloud flashes as the storm slid right past us.

In the end, it was a fun and memorable chase, and Dean and I had a great three chase days in a row: three for three on rotation, hail, hail fog, and lightning!