2015-05-16 REPORTS: TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, IA, MO,MN


Sep 25, 2006
Friendswood, TX
I woke up in Burlington, CO after chasing the day before in Colorado and Nebraska knowing we had to move south quickly for a play along the Red River somewhere. Navigated my way towards the Hedley, TX storm just in time to watch the tornado form and cross 287.
hedley_tx1.jpg hedley2.jpg

I ended up bailing south after this storm became too much of and HP mess and eventually got on the Elmer - Tipton tornado. Opted to stay out ahead of it more to avoid breaking a windows so got mostly poor contrast. Here are some overdone video stills. elmer1.jpg tipton1.jpg tipton2.jpg
Jan 16, 2009
Kansas City
I chased with Guy Rhinehart and Allison Marshall with a target of the Oklahoma Panhandle … as the day progressed it became obvious the target to be at was SW Oklahoma. For the first time this year I busted as I was hard headed that my target all week (Liberal Area) would verify. The fact that I made my son that weekend made me want to get back to KC at a decent time as well. I guess I still make silly decisions after all these years. We did see some nice structure on a dying cell around Hooker Oklahoma and a gust front needle funnel but this was my first bust after hitting on all others this year.

Photos by chase partner Guy.


Matt Hunt

Aug 2, 2009
Twin Falls, ID
I chased with Rob Gardner for the first time in 5 years, and finally we got a tornado together, but had quite the adventure in the process. I left Indy at the ungodly hour of 2:30am with a SW Oklahoma target. En route we decided to go for the first storm of the day in the TX panhandle. We reached that storm just outside of Shamrock. I thought I saw a tornado there, but wasn't sure, so I just snapped pictures. It appears I did get the right edge of it, and the time stamp on my camera matches up to when the survey said the tornado was on the ground.
[GALLERY=media, 628]DSC_0856 by Matt Hunt posted May 19, 2015 at 6:21 PM[/GALLERY]
From there the storm turned outflow dominant, and roads to follow it north were subpar, so we bailed on it to head south. Long story short, we passed on each storm along the line all the way to tail-end Charlie as it approached Altus. We dropped south on 283, where I was somewhat concerned to punch the core because of the hail, but at that time we never got any big hail. We came out of it and saw the low hanging inflow jet streaming into the storm. We parked at the General Store where the TIV and several other chasers were and watched the tornado form, though it was pretty low contrast.
The plan after leaving that spot was to go east on 5 to stay in front of it, eventually letting it cross the road to our west. However, as we began eastbound on 5 the giant hail started falling. A big stone hit the windshield, but somehow didn't break it. It must have been a soft stone. I didn't want to break the windshield and end our chase, so I decided to drop south on the first paved road we came across. After we got due east of the tornado, there was a huge dip, more like a trench, in the road. I was going way too fast, nailed that trench sending the vehicle airborne and slamming back down. We got out to assess the damage and cosmetically it didn't look too bad. Unfortunately, it was leaking oil. The oil pan was cracked, and there was a dent in the exhaust. That's all the damage I could see. Our chase was done. Luckily there were some local guys parked next to us, and one of them worked for the Ford dealer in Altus. He called their tow truck driver to come and get us. My car is still there. We were able to catch a ride home with Blaize Edwards and Adam Davis.

Luckily I'll be on my way to Houston next Thursday, so as long as it's fixed by then I can pick it up somewhat on my way. In hindsight, I'd rather have just stayed on 5 and hoped to avoid a hail stone breaking the windshield, but all things considered, a broken windshield wouldn't have been as bad as what happened. But, it's not as if I could have predicted that awful road! Next time I'm just staying on well-paved roads!


Apr 9, 2013
Webb City, MO
Brett Roberts, I was wondering who was in that car. I was in the white Forester. I managed to pull into the Elmer convenience store about 2 minutes before the storm went tornado warned, and watched it from there for a while until it had went a short ways past 283. Then I hopped up onto highway 5 and caught back up to it just before it crossed the road again and managed to get some pretty good footage of it there. Continued to follow the storm for a while before eventually dropping off and driving back home.
Looking SW from Elmer as the tornado was forming.
Elmer supercell2.jpg
The wedge south of Elmer
West of Tipton on Highway 5 tornado snapshot.jpg tipton tornado.jpg
Structure/Lightning Elmer supercell3.jpg
Apr 29, 2009
Jacksonville, IL
I'd like to add a short report on the Cleo Springs, OK storm, which produced a brief EF-1 tornado. Like a fair number of others, I was far too slow in getting on the road after overnighting in McCook, NE to make it to the Red River valley. I wasn't originally planning on targeting Oklahoma anyway - I had commitments back in central Illinois the next day, so I was hoping to chase in south-central Kansas instead. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until reaching Oakley, KS that the Kansas play had been almost completely wiped out by both the overnight MCS and the morning slug of precipitation that followed. I knew that I couldn't reach the Altus, OK target, but I still wanted to try to catch something, So, I headed to DDC and, with some misgivings, then moved further south into NW OK.

I eventually ended up in Fairview, OK, where I watched the Elmer storm do amazing things on radar. The remnant core of the original Headley, TX supercell was approaching from the southwest, so I decided to wait, catch it and then head for home. Sure enough, it began to get better organized as it approached Fairview, and it soon became SVR-warned. By the time that I got a good view of it from U.S. 60 a few miles southwest of Fairview it was sporting a nice velocity couplet and a tornado warning. Visually, though, it had a long, stretched-out look to it. I took these photos from U.S 60 four miles west of town, and they look either west or northwest:




Here's a final shot of the storm's HP-ish core from U.S. 60 a bit closer to Fairview. The view is to the northwest:


I made an effort to keep up with the storm as it produced near Cleo Springs, but I never saw the tornado itself. I called it a day once I got to Ringwood, OK and headed east toward home. I suspect that there were no more than a dozen chasers on this storm!
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Steve Klehfoth

Mar 19, 2012
I realize I'm late to the party and don't have much to offer in terms of pictures. What you will see below was taken just west of the gas station in Sweetwater, OK. If you have been there, you will know exactly where I was.

We started the day out heading to SW Kansas but due to the cloud cover in the area and activity in the panhandle of Texas we headed south on 283. I am a noob at this, but here are my first shelf cloud pictures - lol. Drove 605 miles for these. BTW, I am kicking myself for not driving another hour south to Elmer. Ohh, the white car is the Sheriff. He had no problem with me there.


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Jan 7, 2008
Bryan, TX
Started out by driving Friday evening with my friend Matt Bridgewater (out from LA to visit and chase--we'd chased some OH storms last year when we both lived in Bowling Green, OH) from Bryan to Wichita Falls to stay at a Howard Johnson. Got up Sat. and picked the MacDonald's in Vernon to hang out and check radar. As we were about to leave, some hardy chase vehicles also pulled up in the lot. Our first move was after deciding not to pursue storms too far off NW was to go to Quanah area to aim to intercept later activity. We also discovered that our internet connectivity got increasingly worse in the 6/104 area, the GPS icon lagged and popped up in odd places, but the road-viewing got better. I also eventually realized my camera was on EST instead of CST and a +9 minute discrepancy beyond that, so had to correct that with logging everything.

We watched one storm go by at Quanah high school, and then headed East on 287 to pull over and view the next storm that had a wall cloud but couldn't see any rotation. After that, we went south on 6 because we wanted to avoid precip and that was a particularly intriguing storm that was still just severe-warned but looked to be trying to develop a hook. This ended up being the Elton, OK storm. We stopped to watch the wallcloud but on the opposite side of 6 where there was a cluster of chases and a lot of lightning starting to pop. No rotation we could see yet, and we went a little more south and set up again, with less lightning and no rain at all; however, saw clear slot and some rotation which may have been rear-flank downdraft and hook wrapping up. While we were taking pictures Matt's cellphone connection picked up finally, and the storm had gotten tornado warned though that was now to the NE. I had a hope that where we were could become another area of activity wrapping up before our eyes ideally, but unfortunately, once we were south on 6 and watched some degree of rotation and hail cores and the clear slot, we were a bit far back from the real action--looking N. on 6 we were staring at the recorded 3.0 inch hail that apparently fell in Quanah about that time. The last pic here of that storm was at 5:10 PM. In hindsight, we could have aimed to cross the red river but the timing would have been tricky--especially based on the path & particularly to avoid hail damage or not run into the circulation. If we had stayed ahead of it, that would have meant going back north on 6 to east on 287 to 283, or a farmroad to connect. Anyhow, frustrating miss but still some interesting structure. Next time we'll aim to get more familiar with local roads in advance if possible and just stay more ahead of things. Also, included here is a shot to the NE of Wichita Falls that evening because we were driving into the edge of the tor warning & we wondered if that could be the wall cloud dangling what had been the funnel? If anyone has any insights to share on what we're seeing with that Wichita Falls pic as well as where the tornado formed in relation to the Quanah pics, please do get in touch--from what I've heard so far, it was on the other side of all that hail.


Aug 9, 2012
Macomb, IL
Throwback I guess. I can't believe I never typed a report up on this one. I edited a bunch of new images from this day, incredible to say the least and probably ranks in my top 10 chases for how close we got, the futuriousity of this particular tornado and the size of hail (larger than softballs). I started the day from chasing tornadoes previously in Nebraska and Wyoming near the WY/NE/CO border unsure if I could make it. I drove south and kept driving and driving and driving until I reached a line of supercells in the Texas Panhandle. It was clear none of the northern storms would do it. I got a glimpse of a rainwrapped stovepipe on the north storm before Elmer, but nothing impressive and never got any good photos or video of that one.

My first glimpse of the Elmer, OK storm was in Northwest TX as it was getting going and then well I'll cut to the chase ;)

Tornadic supercell W of Quanah, TX. I sat in this spot about 10 minutes and a large tornado developed to the left between the inflow band and the area of precipitation. I originally thought this to be a different tornado than the Elmer, OK EF-3, but later confirmed to be on the ground for nearly an hour so it was the start of that beastly long tracked tornado.

Fast forward to being at the Red River and looking SW and here is a series of photographs I shot:

EF5 wedge.jpg
24mm photograph looking SW from the Red River as the strong tornado is crossing the Red River for its second time back into Oklahoma. The roar was incredible here. Likely a combination of the intense/violent tornado and the huge hail coming from my SW in the RFD core.

Even wider angle from a bit later, around 20mm F/2.8 on my Nikon D610. Look at that excellent tornadic structure. Wish I had my Sony A7RIII then!!

Elmer, OK Violent Tornado.jpg
Zoomed in shot around 45mm as the tornado was approaching my position very fast like.

Elmer OK Violent Tornado 2.jpg
It is crossed the Red River now and has hit something significant as the vortex has turned a dark black and grown in size (not just because it's getting closer, but it is also widening out more).There were a couple small satellite tornadoes spinning up to the right in the streamwise vorticity current as well and being pulled back W/NW toward the main parent vortex.

I moved a bit up the road past the bridge and looked back SW and fired a few off at 24mm on the Nikon D610 and I got this. I have a few sharper ones, but I love this one. Here is a sharper one:

Violent Elmer Tornado.jpg

Massive Wedge Low Res.jpg
The monster tornado had now approached my location and was closing in on a mile a way and was over 1 mile wide. I had to leave and now. My route to the S was blocked by extremely large hail and extreme winds over 100 mph. My path to the north? Also rewards me with monster hail and likely intense winds along the SVC, so I take the chances of just going north. Alongside me the tornado constricts into a photogenic barrel-like tornado with helical and horizontal vortices extending way out similar to the Langley, KS Tornado of 2012.

Violent Elmer OK Tornado Close.JPEG
Tornado is now likely between 1/4-1/2 mile away. I can hear the incredible roar and there are numerous power flashes here including a propane tank that explodes. Luckily this area is highly rural and the tornado skimmed by Elmer to the S by just about a mile or so.

Tornado has transformed into a multiiple vortex structure before becoming a 1+ mile wide wedge again. I navigated north a bit and tried to get E, but about 2-3 minutes later was my last view as my vehicle was overtaken by a barrage of softball size hail and a wind gust I measured at 105.2 mph from the SW out of the RFD before hail destroyed our anemometer. The chase was almost over. We nabbed another tornado later on in the evening further S and E leaving our count officialy at 3 for the day, but 4 if you include satellites. Either way it was an epic day that I won't soon forget. Luckily the window was easy to repair. I try not to put myself in these positions, but man this was incredible. One of my favorite chase days for sure making it all the way from Wyoming to Texas in less than 12 hours and positioning perfect on a violent caliber tornado....

How did your day fare out?