Oklahoma & Texas Storms (Roberts and Ochiltree Counties):
May 23, 2007

 

 

chase images and log by William T. Hark, M.D.


Today was a very long chase with great storm structure and lightning but no tornadoes. I was very hopefully as conditions seemed favorable for tornadic storms. A moderate risk was issued for parts of the Texas Panhandle into southcentral Kansas. I initially chose a northerly target near Meade, KS and waited for a couple of hours. A PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) tornado watch was issued for my area. I waited and watched. There was some cumulus, but it wasn't showing much evidence of development. Storms began to develop in a line across the Texas Panhandle including an isolated storm (1V) to my south in Beaver County, Oklahoma. The storm was moving slowly to the northeast. I decided to abandon my target area and blast east on 160 and south on 283. Luckily, I didn't blast too hard as I saw some chasers had been caught speeding on 283. I could see the developing storm to my south with a crisp updraft. It is no fun to see a storm develop and being too far away. A tornado warning was issued for west of Buffalo, Oklahoma. I continued south and had initially planned to go east to intercept the storm. I reached Laverne at 5:00PM. The line of storms was filling in, and my initial storm was weakening. There was a stronger and isolated storm to the southwest. I continued south on 283, then west on 15 into Texas toward Follett. I was still very out of position. The storms to my southwest were not moving as fast northeastward as I wanted. Instead, they were backbuilding. At 5:30PM, I turned south on 305. I wanted to get east of the main storm before it cut off my northerly approach. The road options in the Panhandle are terrible. I was getting close to the core of my target storm though the best area of rotation was still to the southwest. I drove west on 3260 past the intersection with southroad 1920 to get a better view of the storm. County road 1920 was my escape option. At 5:51, I could see inflow bands going into the storm and at 6:05, I could make out the rotating updraft through the rain. It was getting closer and the meso was clearly visible (2V) by 6:15PM. It appeared to be a giant striated cylinder that was slowly rotating. The storm (3V) was moving slightly northeasterly into an area with even poorer road options.(6:18 PM Image #1 (4P)),(Image #2 with DOW (5P)) I was going to go east and then north to follow the storm but it began to weaken. A better storm was forming behind it. Once the core (6V) had passed, I turned back west on 3260 to intercept the next storm at 6:28 PM. There was a huge chaser convergence (6:28PM) (7V) where west road 3260 intersected with north south State Road 15. The storm (6:40PM) (8V) was to the west (9V) slowly moving northeast. I filmed for a while then headed northward to follow the storm on 23 passing Wolf Creek at 6:44PM. Eventually, the core started to block the route north. I didn't want to be munched by large hail and turned around. At one point, a low hill blocked my view, and I could see a helicopter by the storm filming something. As I passed the hill, I got a view of the storm (10V) at 7:11 PM looking southwest, and there was a wall cloud. It was weakly rotating. I stopped and filmed but no tornado. Here is another view (11V) at 7:13PM. There may have been a brief tornado earlier from that wall cloud that I missed. Arrghhhh!!!. When the wall cloud dissipated the storm was approaching my location, I dropped south, then back east on 3260 for a few miles to observe the storm. Dave Lewsion gave some nice radar updates. The storm was pulsing in strength but any tornadoes would be difficult to see through the rain. Meanwhile, there was a very isolated storm northwest of Stinnett. There was nothing competing with its inflow while my current storm had many nearby storms. I decided to bag it and blast back west on 3260, south on 23. I reached 281 at 7:53PM and went west. I turned south on 70. The storm was to west but moving very slowly. There were no west options except a dirt road near the Canadian River. The storm was showing extreme shear and was approaching just north of my location. I was worried it would be too dark. I turned west for about a mile on the dirt road at 8:19PM and waited for the storm. A sheriff parked next to me, and I showed him the radar and storm positions. I didn't want to go farther west due hearing about flash flooding. I also chatted with Dave Patrick via cell phone who had higher resolution radar. The storm (approx 8:50PM (12P)) came into view and was violently rotating. The sheriff and I watched the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) (13V) as it slowly moved along the dirt road toward the storm. He remembered seeing the TIV from television, and we were both worried about flash flooding stranding the vehicle. A colleague of the sheriff radioed that he briefly saw a rain wrapped tornado. I didn't see anything though a vague lowering (8:43PM) (14V) is evident on video stills. I watched the storm until well after dark. The lightning was continuous. I finally left and drove to Amarillo, spending the night at The Big Texan.


(1V)

(2V)

(3V)

(4P)

(5P)

(6V)

(7V)

(8V)

(9V)

(10V)

(11V)

(12P)

(13V)

(14V)
. .

 

Next Page: May 24, 2007

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