Another chase day on our trip and this time we were targetting Southwest Kansas into Northwest Oklahoma for the potential of a few strong tornadoes. SPC seemed to agree with our analysis of this with a high end SLIGHT risk probability of tornadoes (10% hatched). EHI values in this region were spiking very high on the morning models with values expected over 10 (conducive to significant severe weather).
So we drove from out hotel in Childress, TX up highway 83 and hopped on 40 into Western Oklahoma, eventually up to Alva and into Kansas we went. We noticed that storms to out west firing were struggling in an area of mixed out moisture (upper 50’s). Dew points just to our east however were holding strong in the upper 60s and lower 70s. So I figured we needed to head east and target the storms firing on a pre-frontal confluence zone from ICT down to OKC. We had storms firing near Wichita that we managed to drive underneath, however dropped in favor of a classic supercell that was to our south near Enid, Oklahoma.
We made this our target storm as it had great inflow air to the east that was untouched and appeared to be moving slowly and was nearly perfect looking on radar. In reality I’m not sure if this was a great decision or not. While it could have produced a nice tornado for us, it never did, and hindsight is 20/20. The storms going up in Southern Kansas ended up moving north of Wichita and dropping a nice stout tornado (rated EF3).
As we got into position, we managed to get a view of a large rotating wall cloud and lowering, along with wind driven golf ball size hail.
We continued down this road as this strongly rotating wall cloud crossed overhead and moved away from us. On the back side, we had a spectacular view of the carved meso and RFD cut. Several funnels dropped down out of this and quickly lifted, none of which appeared to touch down.
We followed this supercell north of Enid where it displayed some rather spectacular structure despite appearing to be in a dying phase…
We headed west for another tornado warned supercell after getting off this one. This cell was near Canton Lake, Oklahoma and had a confirmed tornado on it. By the time we got there, we just had structure to work with. Theme of the day it seemed.
Overall this day was a bust in terms of photographing tornadoes with numerous occurring across the Plains states. However we were able to get onto 2 great supercells and one of which came about as close as I’ve ever seen a storm come to producing, without actually producing. Best chase day of our trip so far…