2016-05-09 Reports: OK/KS/TX/NE/IA/IL

Aug 2, 2009
Cabot, AR
I expected storms to fire and mature a lot further East than they did. Targeted Texarkana, AR and after a couple hours, realized I was way out of position. Started heading for the storms in OK. I saw the reports coming in of the awesome tornado southeast of OKC and was a bit bummed out. I saw a storm getting it's act together around the Red River and knew I had a chance at it.

Met up with the cell around Boswell, OK, just West of Hugo, OK. Found a decent clearing to view the storm and was treated to a nice consolation prize. The tornado took on many shapes from thin cone to full on wedge. Followed it East to Hugo where it proceeded to drop another tornado. Started heading home as it was getting dark and took a nice parting shot of some lightning around a nice tornado warned cell.




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Mar 10, 2010
Tulsa, OK
Got a late start from Tulsa and didn't think we could catch the southern OK storms in time (although in hindsight we might have had time) so we took our western target to a storm N of OKC moving NE.

We got onto an isolated supercell with nice structure, but on the north side of it, and watched it cycle a couple of times as it neared Stillwater.
It got it's act together and developed a nice funnel and eventually touched down for a few minutes. No reports of damage.

My pics aren't the best as I was managing the station stream/feed and positioning.
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The hail core began moving over us but stayed soft until the tornado was covered by rain. We punched back through some nickel/quarter sized hail as the rotation died and caught a beautiful double rainbow in the hail core.
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We decided to head east and get a view of the backside of this storm and another that was coming up from the southwest.
We found a beautiful hail core and just a gorgeous storm.
The rotation on the original storm strengthened briefly and created a nice but quick funnel to the SW of the above storm.

The secondary storm stayed photogenic for another 40 minutes with some brilliant small rainbows at ground level from the hail/fog.

One surprisingly beautiful storm and we were lucky enough to catch a tornado in another so it was a good day.
Apr 10, 2008
Tulsa, OK
It goes without saying this day exceeded everyone's expectations. Ada was my original target and I left Tulsa around 1pm with Casey Zandbergen and started that way. We missed the first incredible tornado near Katie due to traffic construction, but made it to the storm in time to see the second tornado. This wedge tornado had violent motion and reminded me of the El Reno tornado from 2013, aside from the fact it was about three times smaller than El Reno. Good job to everyone who scored.

Aug 9, 2012
Macomb, IL
Mods, add IL to this thread...

I skipped out on Oklahoma yesterday which turned out to be a huge mistake on my part. I did however manage to see 2 weak tornadoes within 15 minutes of my house. The first one being east of Avon and the second being to the NW of Avon, IL (south of Greenbush, IL in Warren County). I only had my cell phone as I darted out the door once I got wind of what was going on. So all I shot was some iphone quality video and took a screenshot of the tornado. It had a very textbook occlusion and wall cloud to it which I was not expecting. I think if we had any more instability and the storms had a more easterly component to the boundary, we might have had a bigger deal on our hands. It went from being a multiple-vortex type tornado, to fully condensed for a few seconds, and then dissipated (had some pretty impressive motion around the edges of what I'd assume to be the mesocyclone at the time). Nothing on the scale of what many of my friends saw in Oklahoma yesterday, but I won't complain for what is probably my shortest storm chase to date LOL. I think the entire run time for the chase was like 45 minutes maybe....

Like I said sorry about the quality, its all I had with me so I made use of it the best I could.....



James Gustina

Mar 9, 2010
Dallas, TX
Still trying to wrap my mind around how meteorologically odd this event was. Saw the Katie-Wynnewood tornado about midway through it's life to ropeout as we arrived a little late. We noted a brief tornado in the rain as the updraft was entering it's mothership phase and then traipsed east to a few miles north of Sulphur and watched the wedge run a train through the countryside before dropping back through Sulphur to the east. Waited on the storm to ramp up again while keeping an eye on the storm to our ESE as it had been exhibiting some weak rotation. We were sitting southeast of Roff and then the beautiful Bromide tornado descended off to our east giving us a great view of it's entire life and ropeout. Can't beat surprise backyard days like this.









Feb 21, 2012
Wichita, KS
Stuck around home with finals being the next day (today) at 7:30 am. Saw some nice vorticity and CAPE near the low with good turning, so decided to go shoot for some structure. Targeted Junction City, and got much more than I bargained for, with my best mothership to date, and a really weird rope tornado (video at bottom). The storm moved northwest for much of it's life, but took a dramatic left turn during the tornado. It seemed to interact with some outflow from the storms to it's south. Being the only chaser that was on this tornado from it's initiation, and one of the 3 or 4 that saw the tornado, this might be my most rewarding 2% chase to date.

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Jan 7, 2006
I left Norman around 2pm and made my way to the Wynnewood area, where the first persistent towers were growing on the dryline. The first supercell took shape just W of Elmore City, so I blasted W through town to get right underneath its base. No sooner had I done this than a new supercell developed explosively in its inflow region to the S, becoming dominant with jaw-dropping haste. I recognized this happening fairly quickly, but even so, the Katie-Davis tornado developed before I could get more than a mile E of Elmore City. For the next 15 minutes, I played catchup from the NW. In an all too familiar pattern for me on long-track significant tornado intercepts, I decided to stop for several minutes to shoot stills when I was still 4-5 mi. away, unwilling to risk the possibility of the tornado's life cycle ending before I could even get my camera out.



Eventually, it was beyond obvious that this tornado would not be roping out any time soon, so I hurried E through Katie to catch up. For 5 minutes or so, I clinched my fists as I watched an elephant trunk-to-stovepipe almost reminiscent of Pampa 1995 directly ahead of me, but couldn't stop for stills. The view when I finally caught up was about the best consolation prize one could ever get for initially positioning so poorly on a storm. Below is a GoPro timelapse of this entire chase sequence, followed by real-time footage of the best part.

Continuing just a bit further for a true up-close intercept would have made for amazing video. But I can live with my decision to stop on a hilltop in the awful terrain and maintain a clear visual for stills, since others (Dick McGowan/Darin Brunin, Ben Holcomb, and others) ahead of me shot much better video than I would have anyway.




After getting cut off by debris and downed lines on my E-W road, I cut my losses and stopped at the nearest clear east view for more stills as the tornado contracted into an intermittent cone/rope.



The road options near and E of I-35 were a chaser's worst nightmare, and chasing solo, it quickly became a lost cause. I missed all the action that occurred from near Davis to near Sulphur, only finally catching back up in time to see the Sulphur wedge NE of town when it was partially rain-wrapped.


Overall, the Katie-Davis tornado is a strong candidate for the highest quality tornado I've ever observed, taking it in isolation. The terrain, my positioning, traffic/local yokel encounters, and of course the unfortunate loss of life put a bit of a damper on it, though. Even so, observing this storm throughout its life cycle was a jaw-dropping, humbling experience. Hopefully, we can study this event in detail to diagnose precisely why NWP and other conventional forecasting methods failed to highlight the threat for a significant outbreak day.
Mar 7, 2016
Omaha, NE
I didn't even plan on chasing this day, it totally caught me off guard without any of my equipment. I was sitting in my office watching the cell by Lincoln, NE tighten up and ran out the door when it became tornado warned. Got East of Eagle, NE with only my cell phone as nav/radar/camera in time to see a nice wall cloud as rotation lessened on the original target. Escaping hail, I drove east in an attempt to catch up with the Nehawka, NE cell and caught a glimpse of the tornado many many miles to my NE. I pulled over and watched it occlude to the back of the cell and rope out as the storm dropped a beautiful hail shaft. Had a nice hour drive home taking the scenic route to dodge the worst hail and cracked a celebratory beer. Had a positive encounter with the Nebraska Highway Patrol, they saw me parked on a dirt road off of O St. and came to say hello/make small talk. Also saw a chaser irresponsibly speeding and passing in a no-passing zone with traffic around (tornado and rotation had since dissipated), I'll refrain from posting a picture of that individual.



Aug 16, 2009
Amarillo, TX
This was my first day guiding Extreme Chase Tours' "Mayhem 2" tour. We had a late departure out of Sand Springs due to the chase van having brake issues we had to fix in the driveway. We left Sand Springs around 1:30, targeting SC OK along the Red River. As we dropped south, we stopped in Ada to refuel. I showed our guests that the storm to the SW. 30 minutes later, we had a tornado on the ground. We saw the first EF-3 well east of Wynnewood, and north of Sulpher. The crowning jewel was the Davis/Sulphur EF-3 wedge, which we were in perfect position to let it come to us and still be high contrast. The cherry on top was the Connerville white "ghost" tornado. We attempted to get south on the tornadoes there, but just couldn't get positioned well enough. 3 long lived, and high contrast tornadoes in the trees of Oklahoma. Can't get much better than that.


May 24, 2014
College Station, TX
I started off from College Station late due to a late morning final, so I decided not to try to make it to the SE of OKC and instead hit up the southernmost cell that developed near Sherman. I almost immediately regretted this as I watched the cell undergo an initial split and look rather ragged. Seeing the updates from further North didn't help. However, in years passed I'd made the mistake of trying to be everywhere at once, and I vowed that this year I would take drive time more into consideration and stick with initial targets as opposed to flopping around like some storm chaser fish out of water.

My patience was paid off. As I sat in Durant the storm quickly got its act together and developed a wall cloud then a funnel.


I moved east along 70 trying and eventually witnessed the storm drop a large tornado near Boswell, OK. I stuck with it as long as I could, but driving a Honda FIt, taking dirt roads when its wet is rather sketchy at best and it eventually out paced me.





At that point, I was so far behind, I dropped south to head back home. Got some lightning shots south of Paris, TX before calling it a night.
Dec 22, 2005
Chapman, KS
Well here's my pitty post that no one wants to hear.. but i have to let it out, Green, ks tornado that Taylor Wright photographed was about 30 miles from my house and the storm developed right over the top of me (Manhattan, KS) as I got done with my final and I just happened to decide not to follow it, no good reason other than I was tired. Eventually did go after it about 30 min later after seeing nice radar signatures but was too late and literally missed the tornado by about 10 min or less,

Once again I have no good explanation as to why I was not on the storm literally in my own county.
Jul 12, 2008
Sulphur , Oklahoma
Started the driving to okc to get my wc check , when I saw the md come out . I busted butt home watching a tower in south central oklahoma . Passed the storm in wynnewood , was not tornadic at the time . As I drove through Davis I saw the DOW trucks behind me and got a bad feeling . I busted pass to sulphur and got my young son and went to wal mart to watch the storm come into murray county . Found a cool truck driver that let stand on his tanker trailer. From there I could see the tornado to the west . Watched in horror as the wedge pass through the north side of sulphur . A couple of friends lost there homes , but thankfully no one lost their lives. I love chasing storms , but it kills me to see town take such a hit . Hope it is a long time before this happens again .


Randy Jennings

May 18, 2013
My morning forecast target area was the area between Sulphur Springs and Paris, TX. The NAM and GFS didn’t agree on how fast the dryline was going to mix east, so my chase partner and I didn’t leave Plano, TX until around 3 PM. His headlights quit working, so we had to make a run to an auto parts store to get a new relay. Our new target area was Durant, OK. We saw our first wall cloud to our west/northwest at 4:52 before we even crossed the Red River. I took this picture at 5:05


We ended up stopping on the south side of Calera, OK (just south of Durant) and continued to watch the storm try. At 5:09 OUN issued TOR 20 for the storm. At 5:20 we say a funnel start to form and I thought I hit record; instead I took this still pic. Less than a minute later the funnel was gone and I realized my mistake.


At 5:24, we noticed rising scud into the base, and another rotating wall cloud quickly formed. I started recording this time and at 5:26 got video of another brief funnel (still frame bellow). Before I could hit the dial button to report it, it was over. We measured 15 MPH inflow, which surprisingly is the strongest inflow we measured all day. At 5:34 OUN issued TOR 34 for this storm.


The storm was basically going right down US 70, so we decided to get going and try to stay south of it on OK 70E. The storm continued to cycle up and down and looked like it would produce several times. We watched it produce another wall cloud over a field with some cows and I have never seen cows run that fast. OUN continues TOR 24 at 5:53 and issues TOR 28 for the same storm, now near Blue, at 5:57. OK 70E started to go south for a while and the storm started to pick up speed, so we got behind and couldn’t keep up. At 6:12 TSA issues TOR 30 for western Choctaw county and according to the survey it produced an EF-3 tornado between 6:24 and 6:42 in the Boswell,OK area. As I noted, we were behind and at 6:35 we say a brief funnel for about 2 minutes. I suspect this brief funnel may be behind the tornado that went thru the Boswell area and is not the Boswell tornado. I didn’t take a radar screenshot at this time, so I need to go download and review it.


OK 70E turns and goes north and meets up with US 70, so still trying to stay south of US 70, we took E2210 and despite it looking OK on a map and even being on Google Street View, it turns into a gravel and then dirt road. We’re lucky we where behind the storm at this point, as the Boswell tornado came within less than .5 miles of that road, it was tree lined, very muddy and narrow, and even had water over the road at one point.We reached the pavement again just before OK 109 and some locals told us we just missed the tornado. We took OK 109 into Boswell and crossed the damage path. Before we even got to the main part of town, we noticed a wall cloud starting to form again to the east of Boswell. We turned on US 70 at 7 PM and noticed a huge beaver tail to the east and we stopped just east of Boswell from 7:04 to 7:12 to take pictures including this fantastic picture of a huge beaver tail. I wish I would have shot video, as it was moving towards the main cell extremely fast. You can also see a small wall cloud under it.


Survey says the Hugo, OK EF1 touched down at 7:02 and continued until 7:10. While this beaver tail/wall cloud pic above was taken looking toward Hugo during that time, based on radar snapshot, I believe the Hugo storm is in front on the one we took pictures of. There was 3 areas of rotation in this storm. We got some nice rainbow and wall cloud pics driving towards Hugo.



We drove thru the Hugo damage path and continued on US 70 and enjoyed watching the storms to our south on the Texas side of the Red River. We stopped at the Love’s in Valliant, OK for dinner and took some pictures of the storms to our south in Texas. We took 98 and 37 south across the Red River into Texas. But as soon as we crossed into Texas we had to go west on FM 195 to stay north of the Texas storms. We enjoyed the lighting show on the way home.

I learned or was reminded of a few things on this chase:

  1. Carry spare headlight relays, having no headlights would be very bad

  2. There is no APRS digiapeater coverage in SE OK (good thing I beaconed via Spotter Network too).

  3. Just because it shows up on Google Street View, doesn’t mean the road is good. Avoid E2210 in SE OK.

  4. Make sure you hit record and not still pic.

  5. Radar coverage isn’t great in SE OK. Luckily there are 4 to choose from, but the beam height is pretty high on them.

Randy Jennings

May 18, 2013
I just noticed something I had not noticed about the beaver tail picture. It is possible that I did capture the Hugo OK tornado in this picture. There is a dark area to the right of the grass in the center. When taking the picture, I was focused on the beaver tail and where it meet the tower and the wall cloud in the foreground. As you can tell from the velocity radar screen shot, there are 3 areas of rotation in this storm. One was the area I was looking at and another was the tornado going thru Hugo OK at the same time. I was looking to the east, so Hugo would be slightly to the right in the background. It's could be the Hugo tornado, or it could be rain.



Matt Hunt

Aug 2, 2009
Twin Falls, ID
I hadn't even planned on chasing this day as I thought things would be too far away by the time I was out of work at 5. I was able to leave at about 4:40, however, and looking at the radar I thought I could shoot up 75 and possibly meet up with what was then the Katie, OK tornadic supercell. Well that was wishful thinking, plus it looked like that storm was going to suffer from interference with the cell to the south, but I could definitely catch the southernmost storm that had just fired near Sherman.

I drove north on 75 as fast as I could, and when I got to Durant I decided to take 70E instead of 70, as the storm seemed to be moving to the south, and I figured 70 would just run into the core of it. That turned out to be a mistake, and by the time I got back to 70 in Bennington, I had not gained any ground on the storm since Durant! So I missed the best part of the Boswell tornado, but was able to catch up to it and see the end of that one. From there I kept moving at a fast clip to the east, as the couplet on radar was still a ways in front of me. I noted a large wall cloud in front of me as I approached Hugo. I saw the funnel, but did not know if it was on the ground until I started going through Hugo and saw the damage.

My video is nothing special, so I don't even want to take the time to cut & edit it, but here are a couple of video stills:

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Mar 30, 2008
Norman, OK
Career day, probably my second best chase ever behind May 24, 2011. Captured the Katie and Sulphur tornadoes at very close photogenic range and a third tornado near Atoka. May have captured another between Katie and Sulphur, or just the beginning of the Sulphur wedge from US77. Either way, incredible footage and photos.

Full recap at http://www.oklahomachaser.com/chases/20160509


Jun 16, 2015
Oklahoma City, OK
I usually don't post on events that are this old, but today I realized that I never made a formal write-up of this chase on here or even on my own website for that matter. Being the third anniversary, I think it's appropriate to at least give an account of this chase. Back in early 2017, I did record some commentary of this chase and I'll post at the bottom of this.

Anyway, I left Oklahoma City on the morning of May 9th, 2016 for a target near southeastern Oklahoma or adjacent northeast Texas. It was a bad area to be chasing and it wasn't long before I lost cell service, including radar data, in hilly terrain. Once back "on the grid," I quickly realized that supercells were forming along the dryline, well to my west. This was one of the rare Oklahoma chases that I really botched.

My view in the morning was that winds were not going to back "enough" ahead of the dryline, so I favored an area where winds were already out of the SE, in vicinity of a remnant boundary. Well, short-range models in the morning showed southerly winds along the dryline, but they did back to SSE/SE by afternoon. Luckily, I had enough time to turn around, once I realized this, in order to change course and get back west in time to see a tornado.

I set up south of Boswell, OK, just on the Texas side of the Red River. Through fumbling with multiple cameras/video cameras, the "best" footage I managed to get was from a camcorder that I placed on the roof of my car:

It's not the most compelling tornado video ever, but considering my initial target was over 100 miles off, I'm lucky I saw anything at all. For logistical reasons, I couldn't get much closer than I did. I'm also fortunate that I found a partial clearing on the roads I was wandering, as it was a heavily forested area.

Shortly after this video ended, I headed east and eventually north, but I did not witness any more tornadoes. I did, however, catch a vivid sunset just north of the Red River in the same general area. It was a nice end to what started out as a potential chase debacle.

It's a good reminder to not overlook the dryline, especially if there is favorable shear/instability. Even if near-surface wind fields had just stayed southerly, upper level winds were southwesterly with favorable timing of shortwave energy. The end result was a much better wind profile than I had originally expected. Based on OUN soundings, 500mb winds veered back to a more westerly direction by 00z 5/10.

A little more background about the area I was chasing. If you're not too familiar with southeastern Oklahoma, it's probably the worst part of Oklahoma you'd want to be chasing in. Aside from hills and thick forests, some of the roads are very windy and there can be little to no data service for radar access, observational analysis, etc. At one point, I was driving on a paved road that had corners so sharp that the road sign suggested a speed of 10 MPH. This is clearly not ideal for chasing and the area I was in reminded me more of West Virginia than Oklahoma.
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