Oklahoma August 17 1994

Id be curious how many of you all right off the bat know what happened that day....I do. It scared me for life at the young age of 11 years old. I was in my great grandmothers 1980s model Mercury land yacht on our way back to my great grandmothers house at 4pm at NW Expwy and Council Rd and the vehicle was damn near becomming airborne.
I remember surface temps that day in Oklahoma around 100-105 with strong south winds

Weatherwise NWS and SPC was calling for a hot summers day across the Southern Plains with no chance of storms. Initiation was around noon in South-Central KS and for the first 90mins KVNC was still in clear air mode b/c OUN was out to lunch not expecting anything, however theres a 70dBZ beast on radar.

So where am I going with this? Well Ive decided to do a case study capstone on this event since I lived through it and remember it quite vividly and it was a total forecast bust. I also really get into summertime high end severe events b/c they are rare due to the main jet being confined to the NP and Canada as well as a strong thermal ridge over the Central and Southern Plains states.

Im just curious how many of you all remember this event or lived through it. The towns of Kingfisher and Lahoma were heavily damaged. One of the meteorologists I worked with over the summer in Wichita was in grade school in Lahoma that day and remembers classroom windows being blown out and trees being uprooted.

Ive been browsing through the AMS journals looking for papers that might have been written on it but cant seem to find anything. Getting data really wont be a problem, im just merely curious how many people on here lived thru it or remember it at all.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Andy Wehrle

Shane Adams

Id be curious how many of you all right off the bat know what happened that day....I do. It scared me for life at the young age of 11 years old. I was in my great grandmothers 1980s model Mercury land yacht on our way back to my great grandmothers house at 4pm at NW Expwy and Council Rd and the vehicle was damn near becomming airborne.
I remember surface temps that day in Oklahoma around 100-105 with strong south winds

Weatherwise NWS and SPC was calling for a hot summers day across the Southern Plains with no chance of storms. Initiation was around noon in South-Central KS and for the first 90mins KVNC was still in clear air mode b/c OUN was out to lunch not expecting anything, however theres a 70dBZ beast on radar.

So where am I going with this? Well Ive decided to do a case study capstone on this event since I lived through it and remember it quite vividly and it was a total forecast bust. I also really get into summertime high end severe events b/c they are rare due to the main jet being confined to the NP and Canada as well as a strong thermal ridge over the Central and Southern Plains states.

Im just curious how many of you all remember this event or lived through it. The towns of Kingfisher and Lahoma were heavily damaged. One of the meteorologists I worked with over the summer in Wichita was in grade school in Lahoma that day and remembers classroom windows being blown out and trees being uprooted.

Ive been browsing through the AMS journals looking for papers that might have been written on it but cant seem to find anything. Getting data really wont be a problem, im just merely curious how many people on here lived thru it or remember it at all.
It wasn't a bust for everyone. Rob Satkus and Val Castor were all over this event, you can read about it in Gary England's "Tornadoes, Television, & Turmoil". It's hard to imagine the NWS missed this out of OUN, since the storms fired in Kansas before becoming severe, then moved into the state.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Andy Wehrle
Aug 23, 2005
163
3
0
56
Norman Ok
www.chasestories.com
Ive been browsing through the AMS journals looking for papers that might have been written on it but cant seem to find anything. Getting data really wont be a problem, im just merely curious how many people on here lived thru it or remember it at all.

I still remember that day quite vividly. As you mentioned, nothing was forecast that day and I was just going about my business when I noticed the storms in Kansas...they looked strong and were heading towards OK so I alerted Val Castor, who I was chasing with at the time. He agreed they looked significant, so we called to Ch9 and they felt it was worth sending us out.
Initially we figured they would collapse by the time we got to them, it's August after all, but Val and I both about had heart attacks when we heard the reports of 113mph winds and softball hail in the Lahoma area. We were approaching Kingfisher and decided to stop just south of town as the storm closed in.
It really didn't look that impressive to us and we decided to stay and wait for the core, even though we had received a call from Gary with a warning to "get the hell out of there", but it just didn't look that intense. The first wind shift hit with 30-40mph winds. Wow. A few rain drops hit and the winds picked up a little then out of nowhere BOOM! Baseball to the hood. Suddenly, baseballs were bouncing everywhere, the windshield was breaking, the wind was getting stronger and we finally got the hell out of there. We dropped a few miles south to Okarche and found a gas station overhang. The wind shift caught us again, with 50-60mph winds. Some guy in a pickup pulled next to us in a panic, pointing to a giant hole in his windshield. It looked like someone had thrown a bowling ball through it. Later, we heard a report of "football" size hail found in the back of a pickup..I have always wondered if that was the guy. The winds got stronger, probably 70-80mph, trash cans were screaming by, sheet metal was coming off of a building next to us and the overhang looked like it was about to topple over, so we busted tail south bound, only to be stopped near the Hwy 3/81 intersection. The winds and rain were so intense we couldn't see. Hail was also blasting us, about 1.50" in diameter. It's a good thing we stopped when we did. Less than a half mile away, baseball hail and 100mph winds were shredding a mobile home park. When things let up we dropped south to El Reno and found a large median on I-40 under a bridge to await the storm. Soon, we were hit with golfball hail, then 50-60mph winds. I think the main core was a little east of us. We measured 62mph winds at one point, but we were surrounded by a lot of cars so I really think winds were in the 70-75mph range at the strongest. Numerous vehicles were missing windows.
That storm weakened soo after and we headed west, catching another storm at Elk City, with measured 62mph winds, but no hail. We dropped south as another cell blew up to the southwest. We stopped northeast of Granite as this monster moved in...it was the most intense looking storm I have ever seen. The gust front was dragging the ground and there were towers exploding all along the boundary. The storm itself almost looked like it was alive...a blue-gray seething mass. Lightning was intense and we marvelled as it struck the tops of the "mountains" there.
We wanted no part of the core so we let it pass by and just west of Granite we came across 1/4 mile of snapped power poles. We continued west to Hwy 283, with more power poles down and as well as street signs bent to the ground. With darkness setting in, we started north to I-40 with wind damage noted the whole way. We pulled into the small town of Carter...it was devastated. Every building in town was damaged, with some destroyed. Mobile homes were demolished, the school had heavy damage, there was no power and no communications. We had to call the station to have them alert the authorities about the damage, there was no way for the people in town to call out. North of town we found more mobile homes destroyed and damaged, including one where dogs were being raised. As we arrived the family was pulling dead and injured dogs out of the rubble...just amazing that for nearly 2 hours after the storm hit, no one outside of Carter had any idea what happened.
Sorry this is so long...just one of the most memorable days of my chase "career".
A few days after that storm we had another chase and came across the wind and hail swath south of Okarche. The damage was incredible, with all crops flattened, trees stripped of all leaves and homes missing all the paint on the north facing sides, windows broken, siding with holes in it. But the most amazing thing was the quiet. No birds. No insects. Just quiet. All the animals and insects were dead...

Rob
 
Aug 23, 2005
163
3
0
56
Norman Ok
www.chasestories.com
It wasn't a bust for everyone. Rob Satkus and Val Castor were all over this event, you can read about it in Gary England's "Tornadoes, Television, & Turmoil". It's hard to imagine the NWS missed this out of OUN, since the storms fired in Kansas before becoming severe, then moved into the state.
On a humorous note, as we were getting blasted by the baseballs near Kingfisher, the official forecast was playing on the NWR in the background..."Sunny and dry with a high in the upper 90's." I think pretty much everybody was caught by surprise on this. We wouldn't have been on it if I hadn't decided to take a look at radar...neither Val and I were expecting anything either, at least not what transpired.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Andy Wehrle