Storm Chase May 29, 30, 2013: Oklahoma Storms


chase images and log by William T. Hark, M.D. Video (HD) and pictures available for licensing. Click on images to enlarge


May 29, 2013: Abandoned Farm and Weak Oklahoma Storm

The day started with high expectations. The Storm Prediction Center had a Moderate Risk from north Texas to the Nebraska border. There was an approaching negatively-tilted trough and deepening surface low. Despite the predicted risk of significant tornadoes, very few storms became tornadic. Most "lined-out" rather than being isolated. There were a number of tornadoes in Nebraska that most chasers did not predict. I was chasing with the large group, and we were still very happy with our results from the previous day near Bennington, Kasnas. We started the day in Salina, Kansas and targeted southwestern Kansas. We got an early start due to distance and the planned early initiation of storms from a weak cap. As we approached Dodge City, storms were already forming in the Texas Panhandle. More were predicted in Kansas. The area was put under a very early tornado watch. We continued to Plains, Kansas by late afternoon. Not much was happening in Kansas. We waited at a gas station and debated forecast options. Eventually, there was some weak development further west. I decided that I liked the development further south in Texas. I broke off from the group and blasted south. I briefly stopped again in Oklahoma by an abandoned farmstead to check data. Nothing looked decent. I did enjoy spending a few minutes investigating an abandoned farm. In addition to storms, there are always interesting things to explore and photograph.The Texas storms had now moved into Oklahoma and had weakened. They also formed a line. Tornadic potential was low. I continued to Woodward for the night. A week storm did approach the town, and I enjoyed watching some minor flooding and gusty winds before retiring to the hotel. My friends also did not see anything and stayed in Pratt, Kansas.

Abandoned house

Old farm equipment

Utility building

Approaching storm, 6:02 PM
Woodward, OK


May 30, 2013: Oklahoma Storms

May 30 was a long chase day. No tornadoes, but I did see some interesting storms. I started the day in Woodward, Oklahoma, and I was initially targeting Kingfisher, Oklahoma though I later changed the target to Chickasha. I headed east on 412. Since I had an early start, I had some time to do some wandering around Gloss Mountain State Park. This was interesting scenery. The trail was marked with rattlesnake warning signs, but I didn't see any snakes. I continued east to Enid, stopping to check data. Storms would initiate sooner than usual due to the instability and weak cap. I turned south. By the time I reached Kingfisher, storms were already initiating. One dominant storm began west of Anadarko. I blasted south to Pocasset, then west and south to intercept the storm. It was gradually becoming more organized with intermittent rotation. I followed it eastward along 62 and 79B in Cole. The storm became tornado-warned, and I could see a rotating wall cloud. I was in great position. The storm pulsed down and the rotation ceased. I had almost given up on the storm when it suddenly increased and developed a massive dark nasty wall cloud just north of Purcell. Many police cars came in from multiple directions and blocked the main roads heading north. The road-block was quite coordinated and seemed planned in advance. The storm could drop an tornado at any time. Pulling up my GPS, I rerouted on back roads to avoid the police road blocks and continued eastward. The storm pulsed a few more times but couldn't produce a tornado. I gave up on the storm. There were storms farther to the south and north that I couldn't reach. I ended the chase and headed to Norman, Oklahoma where I got a room at the Guest Inn. This is where I stayed when I first came to Tornado Alley in 1997 with Cloud 9 Tours. I met up with my friends who had come from Pratt and tracked another storm to the north, It did produce a brief tornado. We all had an enjoyable dinner at a nice restaurant in Norman (Blu, a wine bar) per Chris Kridler's suggestion. This was a bit different than the usual late night diners.

Gloss Mountain State Park, OK

Wildflowers, Gloss Mountain

Gypsum, Gloss Mountain

Gloss Mountain

2:49 PM

Tornado-warned supercell, 3:21 PM

Wall cloud, 4:19 PM

Rotating wall cloud, 4:29 PM

Go to May 31, 2013: El Reno, Oklahoma Tornado

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All images Copyright 2013 William T. Hark