Month: July 2013

15 Jul

May 31, 2013 – The El Reno EF-5

My first real storm chase was May 10, 2010. I had decided that winter to read everything I could about severe weather and figured I’d give it a shot on my own. In retrospect, it may have been a better idea to learn from someone with experience, but nevertheless I jumped in feet first and on my first storm chase caught the tornado near Wakita, Oklahoma. I still remember standing outside my car on Oklahoma Route 11a about 1.25 miles north of highway 11 watching this spinning bowl spawn vortex after vortex in the distance. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to realize that tornado was headed right for where I was standing. I still remember turning east onto highway 11 as the winds picked up and wind driven rain was blasting my car. After the fact, I realized this was probably the rear flanking downdraft, but at the time I wasn’t sure. My adrenaline was pumping and I was very anxious to get the hell out of there. Traffic on the highway wasn’t helping with my planned expedient escape. Eventually, the wind subsided as the trail of cars progressed east and the tornado carried on to our north. I still remember the first time I stopped after the escape and my hands were shaking, probably a mix of adrenaline and gripping the steering wheel, but I was on edge after that. Since that day in Grant County, I’ve been on over 100 storm chases and I haven’t been that nervous on any of them until El Reno.Read more

07 Jul

May 30, 2013 – Cushing, Oklahoma Tornado

A negatively tilted trough continued it’s eastward march and while it’s strongest winds were displaced to the northeast from the target area, convective outflow from the previous night’s storms and an eastward mixing dryline would help foster convective development across Oklahoma. The trick would be our upper support would be moving out of the area and heights would be rising. Would the instability be able to overcome this? SPC seemed to think the possibility was there and it warranted a 10% hatched moderate tornado risk for the day.Read more