2015-05-26 REPORTS: TX, OK

Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Began the day in Wichita Falls and planned an initial target of Vernon. Noticed the HRRR model had more robust convection east of Abilene than near the Red River, but I liked forecasted conditions better in the northern target and was not going to randomly target HRRR reflectivities. (Maybe one day model performance will make that possible. For me, that will take 80% of the fun and 100% of the satisfaction out of chasing, but that's for a different discussion thread...)

After lunch in Wichita Falls, saw early convection already going up on the OK side of the river, southeast of Lawton. Given talk of early initiation in the SPC outlooks, we went north after this cell as it became severe warned. For a brief time we saw a base and an inflow band, but the radar showed a stretched out structure and it soon split, with the northern storm maintaining a severe warning and the southern storm losing it. The southern storm weakened and between that and the rapid northeast motion of the northern storm away from the more favorable environment, we bailed on it and returned back south to Wichita Falls. Tornado watch was issued while en route.

Decided to stay just southwest of Wichita Falls and not go to Vernon, as winds were veered in Vernon while Wichita Falls had backed winds and a 70 dewpoint. TCu and new storms were quickly popping up. We knew about the storm near ABI but thought there would also be storms in the northern target, and didn't want to lose at least 90 minutes circumnavigating around to the southeast flank of that storm. So we stood our ground.

One storm in our immediate area died, leaving an orphan anvil. Two other echoes were to the west and northwest, the latter near Vernon. We hung out for awhile to see what developed, as some mammatus began streaming overhead.

When the Vernon storm became severe warned, we went after it. It was practically on the OK side of the river already. About all we could see from our location was the western edge of the updraft, which looked pretty good. Unfortunately, we had to go east away from it to cross the river on I-44. In OK we turned west on 70. Once the updraft came into view, we saw that it was very narrow and weak looking. It was extremely sheared over; the low base was significantly displaced from the main updraft, I don't think I've ever seen that before to that degree. Considering shear was not particularly strong, this seems to have indicated a weak updraft, but how could that be given the instability??

Anyway, the southwestern base ultimately dissolved and was replaced by a new primary base underneath the main updraft, which seemed to consolidate itself nicely. But by this point, outflow from the cluster of storms now near Wichita Falls (which in turn I believe was a split from the ABI activity, which had traveled to Wichita Falls) was encroaching on our storm and undercutting it. We experienced the outflow race north as we watched the death of the second storm on the day. Shame to waste 70 dewpoints and the low T/Td spread of about 10 degrees, they aren't available all that often...

We chose not to follow the storms forming further north and drove to Childress for the night. We stopped for two photo ops; one was a partial rainbow with great side-lighting on the clouds from the departing storms now to our east and south, and the second was a distant view of a severe-warned cell near Lawton that was not huge but was a beautiful specimen of a storm, showcasing a crisp anvil with curled over edges, looking like a mushroom cap sitting on top of the sunlit tower.
 
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Mar 30, 2008
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Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
Was on the storm shortly after blowing up near Graham TX and followed until Stephenville, observing at least 2 tornadoes. Of course it couldn't produce when it was still a nice classic thing, it had to become an HP monster before it would produce.

With that said, didn't find very much hail until I busted south out of the cage into a strong RFD (I'd estimate 70 or 80 mph winds with trees flying) as we encountered tennis balls. Wouldn't be surprised if the RFD was almost as strong as the tornado as it gusted out about 2 miles south of the tornado.

 
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