Target Area: Blackwell, Oklahoma to Wellington, Kansas
Chase Area: Blackwell, Oklahoma to Arkansas City, Kansas
Observations: hail, thunderstorms, lightning, a rainbow, and the Twister Museum
Distance: 425 miles
Time: 12 hours
Chase Team: Jeff Makowski, Dean Narramore, and myself
SPC Convective Outlook: Slight Risk (Click to see SPC products, data, and storm reports)
Chase Setup: A shortwave trough was positioned over the upper Midwest with an associated surface low over Wisconsin. A cold front extended southwest from the surface low back to the Texas Panhandle. South of the front, dewpoints were in the lower 70s across north central Oklahoma and southeast Kansas. MLCAPE ranged from 2000 to 3000 J kg-1. Within the warm sector, deep-layer shear was rather weak, with 0 to 6 km bulk shear values less than 40 knots.
Chase Log: We started off the day thinking we would just check out the Twister Museum in Wakita, Oklahoma, and then maybe chase if any storms popped up near the Kansas/Oklahoma border. After enjoying the museum and wandering around Wakita, we saw a couple of thunderstorms forming just north of Blackwell.
We intercepted the storms near Arkansas City, Kansas, where we saw some very close cloud-to-ground lightning strikes (including several awesome strikes that came from the anvil), some pea-size hail, and a rainbow. Although the storm was not very amazing and not rotating, we were still thrilled to just be experiencing a thunderstorm again!
One of the larger storms chased us back down I-35 into Oklahoma, and we had to stop for a bit as one of Jeff's windshield wipers was having issues. At this point the storm reportedly produced a brief tornado (though it was never confirmed), to our great astonishment. On our way back home, we did come across the damage path of the storm and had to avoid some crumpled sheet metal laying in the freeway.