3/27/04 REPORTS


For people out chasing to give their first hand chase reports when they return. Third party reports and discussion belong in the now thread.
Starting this now cause I'm outta here for some of my own chasing!!
Well, just got home from a very successful day in Western Oklahoma. What a day!!

Jason and I got out to Sayre at about 1130 where we were able to log on to the net at a hotel off I40. We saw that a young cell was getting going out west of Sayre and moved south of I40.

We waited there for about 20 minutes while the storm went through Sayre (with tennis ball sized hail covering the ground) and then we followed it for several hours. What a great cell........produced a tornado near Fay on highway 33 where I got some film of the weak, thin tornado that went down briefly and then went back up.

The storm didn't do much from there as it continued to have only a broad, weak rotation. This was a great supercell though.

After we decided that that storm was weakening, we headed back south from Watonga to Hinton, OK to get ahead of the southern cell that went through Weatherford. We kind of waited around in Hinton off I40 for about half an hour and then headed north through Calumet where our chase ended.

All in all, a great day -- my first tornado -- and two awesome supercells.

Just returned home myself.

I had a great day!!! I also saw what I'm calling the "needle 'nader" associated with the first storm Lance mentioned. I think a ton of people saw that one today. LOL I thought it was cute :D .

We also think we may have seen a touchdown before that too when that particular storm was just severe warned, but if it did touch down, it was very brief. It's hard to say. I have a photo that's of poor contrast of the funnel (which was nearly rain-wrapped from our vantage), and when i enhanced it, it was pretty close to the ground. So, it's a possibility that it touched, but we're not sure. Gabe got it on video and so did a few others, so I'm gonna look at those more closely.

We also had a nice funnel pass right over our heads, so I got a good picture of that.

I also got a picture shortly after the needle 'nader that looks like a wedge tornado, even though it was a rain band that got sucked in the rotation. However, I would not be surprised if something was embedded in that as well. Once again, hard to say. I'm curious to hear/see what others saw.

Finally this first storm started to crap out, so we cut south and took a road near Hydro to observed a tornado-warned cell to the south. We didn't ever see it produce a tornado, but it had such beautiful, classic, textbook storm structure. We saw several funnels produced by this one; two being very pronounced.

Then the sunset was awesome!

Well, I'm gonna add all these photos to my website probably tomorrow and I'll link the chase account up to this thread. I'm also curious to know if anyone else might have possibly thought they saw a touchdown in those 2 instances where I'm not 100% sure.
Chad Lawson, Susan Walling, Jo Radel, and myself left Norman just before noon headed west on I-40 to Clinton. Dwain Warner alerted us to the cell developing near Sayre, so we kept west on 40 until Canute, where we turned south and positioned ourselves about a mile SW of town, watching a wallcloud begin to rotate. There was no one else around, and I was tripoding in the middle of the lonely intersection.

This storm tried very hard a few times, but failed as each occlusion through Canute/Foss/Stafford yielded no tornadoes. After a bad navigational decision by Yours Truly, we corrected and got to the north side of Clinton as the storm began to wind up again. A mile or so north of town, a wal cloud developed extremely rapidly, and within seconds a small needle tornado formed. Just after it appeared, hills blocked our view. We missed about half of it, but I still managed to get about20-30 seconds of good video, though the tornado didin't last more than a minute tops anyway. We continued with the storm ENE on OK33.....

North of Custer City, a second smallish tornado developed and snaked its way down. It began to get wrapped in rain quickly as the meso wrapped it up, but we somehow managed to keep it in sight and got video of the entire event, about 2-3 minutes. After this one, we continued through Thomas and went south on OK54 just east of town. There we witnessed a large cone funnel about 1/3 of the way to the ground, which lasted several minutes and seemed to be either on top of or maybe just south of Thomas. We couldn't confirm a touchdown from this one, but later Scott Currens, Amos Magliocco, and Eric Nguyen said they thought they'd seen some small funnel-shaped whirls on the ground beneath it.....they called it "half a tornado"....LOL, I'll count it as a tornado if reports verify.

After the Thomas funnel/tornado, we continued NE on Ok33 but the storm seemed to be losing a bit of punch. We heard of the new cell developing SW of Clinton, so we abandoned the storm and headed back to this new storm with high hopes.

We had a beautiful view of the updraft base just east of Corn as the cell became tornado-warned. A lush, vast shimmering field of wheat lie in the foreground as the wallcloud quickly developed. However, this storm too didn't get it done with either of its first attempts, so we found ourselves moving back ENE to I-40 near Hydro as the storm moved north of I-40 and seemed to weaken somewhat. With darkness immienent, we decided to stop for gas and food, thinking the day was pretty much over.......yeah right.

As we waited for our food, we monitered the storm, which was still severe but seemed less of a tornado threat as time went on. Regardless, after receiving our food, we headed east on 40 to exit 115, then proceeded noth, with the mere intention of getting some sunest structure shots (which we did, and they were spectacular!)

After our sunest session, we noticed the NE flank of the storm seemed to be developing an interesting lowering, so we again gave chase, hitting Calumet then backroading it ENE from there towards Concho. Somewhere west of Concho, maybe 5-6 miles NW of El Reno, Chad said "I think that's a tornado....."

Out of nowhere, two funnels appeared simultaneously, the right one much larger and snaking 3/4 of the way to the ground, the left one much smaller, about 1/3 of the way down. We could confirm a touchdown with the larger one, but not the smaller one (though we remain open to persuasion :lol: )

Shortly afterwards, we ran into the three aformentioned chasers, and had a nice, quick roadside pow wow (I hadn't seen Amos since CO '02).

So for you stat people, here's the day in a nutshell:

359 miles
2 supercells
A dozen or more cycles/occlusions
Numerous funnels
3 tornadoes, 1 probable, and another possible (maybe 5 altogether)

NOTE I would like to give a BIG THUMBS DOWN to the Kingfisher County Sherriff's Office; I called 911 to report the dusk tornado(es) west of Concho, and was met with the most sarcastic voice on the other end, which blandly stated "Uhh, we're already aware of that I think" in the most sarcastic tone I've ever experienced while reporting. I said "NW of El Reno, right?" to which the voice again sarcasticly replied "Uh, yeah."

F-you too buddy, lol.

Anyway, wonderful chase today!!!!

Thanks to Dwain Warner, who stayed with it all day long and provided pricless assistance in today's chase - you da man bro!!!!
What a satisfying chase for March, huh? Wondering if anyone can confirm the first tornado from the Sayre-Foss-Custer City storm. Saw a good funnel somewhere east of Butler, but wasn't close enough to confirm touchdown. This would have happened prior to the touchdown near Custer City. Also, I would welcome still radar captures if anybody has them. Post or email to me at [email protected]

Just a though about the SPC. I thought the forecast was right on today. Definitely wasn't straightforward, what with the early convection influencing things. Probabilities were right on for tornadoes and hail. Also, you have to remember that the SPC is forecasting mainly for the purpose of public safety, not for chasers.
kinda psuedo-super saturday

Three friends and I left Norman at 11:30 (yes, a little late I know). We sat up shop south of Foss Lake north of I-40. We intercepted the Sayre storm #1. I honestly didn't see anything interesting from that storm until we chased just south of the Foss Lake Dam. At about 3 pm I saw something spin up on the lake, I didn't see a consensation funnel, but it was below the wall cloud. We ran north with it and it looked like poop, so we jumped off it and decided to see the "intensifying severe thunderstorm south of Elk City". We ended up north of Cordell and saw a nice funnel show up, which propted a warning. The storm looked very nice, great inflow notch and (at least i thought) nice rotation in the low-levels. The meso got within a quarter of a mile of us and we shot back east and south to get out of its way :p . We chased it for a solid two hours and we headed back I-40 west back to N-town.

Overall, it was a fun chase, I didn't get any tornados, but I was all over the storms and they looked nice. I thought the downdrafts weren't happening and maybe the rotation on the storms were marginal for any organized tornado event. Everytime the storms looked as if they would drop something....they crapped out which was very frustrating!

Side note: What is up with everyone in the country being a storm chaser today. I bet there were 300 people chasing today. Oh well.
Here's a little summary of my chase...

Left Norman about 10:30, with a plan to head west on I40 to Clinton or Elk City. We picked these areas because they have good north/south options... At any rate, as we neared Clinton, we heard and confirmed two storms going up in far western OK... One to the southwest of Woodward and one to the southwest of Sayre. We stopped in Clinton and spent about 10-20 minutes trying to decide which cell to go for. Despite hearing of the unconfirmed reports of a tornado with the northern cell, we figured we'd head to the cell near Sayre as it was closer, and we saw no reason why any either of the two cells would have a better chance at tornado-ing than the other...

Well, essentially, we chase that southern cell from near Sayre all the way to Kingfisher county. We saw numerous wall clouds and decent rotation, but we never saw any tornadoes... We heard a couple of reports, but we couldn't confirm them. The inflow to this thing was cold cold cold cold cold. I mean, I needed a jacked basically... At any rate, as the cell passes Faye, it began to take on an outflowish appearance. I mean, we were right near the main circulation, but to the east and south it looked more like we were on the back side of a shelf cloud...

So, we gave up on this northern cell and jetted south to the southern supercell. As we passed Geary heading towards I40, the base of the supercell came into view and we saw a fantastic wall cloud. We got onto I-40 westbound and exited at the Hydro exit... We got a good farm road and set up shop for about 20-25 minutes. Rotation was excellent during this time, and a couple of wall clouds formed and dissipated. As the cell passed, it seemed that it went through a slight weakening and reorganization phase. After going back east on I40 and exiting on the same road that we had taken about 45 minutes earlier, we stopped for gas and some munchies. At this time, another very nice wallcloud formed to the north of Hydro. To make a long story short, we followed this supercell to west of I-35... We saw numerous wall clouds, but most lasted on minutes and were poorly organized. There was a hairy moment, however, when we drove under the mesocyclone between Geary and Calumet. Right as the storm appeared to have weakened, and the sun had set, we saw two nice funnels just to the between Calumet and Okarche. The storm did have some excellent lightning after dark too....

All in all, though we failed to see a tornado, I consider it a decent chase day. I saw a myriad of wall clouds (most short-lived and with weak rotation) as well as several wall clouds. Perhaps the coolest thing I saw was the awesome structure the meso had as it was crossing I-40 southwest of Hydro.... Very very cool!

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I don't think I have ever chased a tornadic supercell, in spring, that moved 25-30 mph! That is just crazy when you think that 500mb winds were 45-60kts at the time.
Myself and Graham Butler headed out early this morning of a target of Elk City, OK and saw our first hail and a funnel sitting just east of Sayre looking west. We later met up with Jay McCoy from Amarillo who we ran with the rest of the day and proceeded to see the needle tornado somewhere near Bulter, OK we were about 1/2 mile from it when it formed and about 1/4 when it dissipated. It was an awesome transparent tube and you could see all of the motions inside it! We thought it to only be a funnel at that time but later review of the video revealed a small dust whirl directly below it.

We later stayed with the storm where we saw another tornado somewhere in the vicinity of Custer City I believe that was videoed for a few minutes before it wrapped in rain. Same storm later produced a decent funnel darn near directly over Thomas as sirens blared!

Later on we dropped down the the next storm south and saw several attempts and finally saw it produce a bannana shaped funnel (no kidding) near Okarche, OK just before dark. The hail roar near Weatherford was incredible!

Saw a TON of chasers on the road and a ton of people just out looking Not sure who the gal was with the really foul mouth near Okarche, but you can keep your opinions to yourself next time about other people's vehciles :lol:

Will post some pic probably on Sunday sometime. :D What a day!

Now posting from a Flying J in OKC!
Hey Joel,

Congrats!!! :eek: Awesome catch!! How long did that beast last?

It went through about two to three minutes of putting down quick vortices before the big one started. Total it was probably ten to fifteen minutes and for a while the rotation on the ground was very intense.

Joel Taylor
It looks like F2-F3 to me...What do you think? Sux it wasnt reported to SPC..
F2 to F3 would be my guess. At its widest it was around one quarter of a mile, give or take. Fortunately, I don't think it hit any sound structures (maybe a barn or shed) so it may get a rating that is not truly representative of its strength. I do believe SPC has this one, however, we documented a total of four tornadoes in southern Woodward county and as of now they only have this one pinpointed on their website.

Overall, this was an excellent chase for late March!

Joel Taylor
One thing I was really happy with today was the storm speed. I was expecting 35-45 mph to be the norm today when 20-30 was the actual......perfect speed.
I didn't take any stills of the others.

Storm motion was very nice today and made for enjoyable chasing. The big tornado occurred right around 1:30 this afternoon and I really thought that there would be several more throughout the day. The storm kept trying to wrap again but could just manage brief small tornadoes. And then after about 2:30, the show was over.

I hope to see video of the one up in Kansas. It sounded pretty big.

Joel Taylor

Once again Reed kicked some 'behind'!!!

Reed Timmer is pretty good!

Yeah, that 'Deer Backwards' guy really saw that tornado coming!

Once again, good job Reed!
Way to go Reed! Great pictures from you and your crew.

Reed, once again you've captured the first major tornado footage of the chase season. Great job.

Jim Bishop
march 27, 2004 tornadoes

The day began with two storms competing for the attention of chasers, one north (which produced the Vici tornado—great TWC footage, guys!) and one south storm. I was on the southern storm from initiation, and spent quite a while in Elk City waiting for it to come toward me as it dropped baseballs on Sayre. My idea was to follow it up 33, though I hoped it would turn more easterly as it became rooted in the boundary layer. As the storm approached, the crown of the northern storm dominated the skyline with bright sunlight glinting off the knuckled anvil. I drifted north, and, when the tornado warning came, broke something of a cardinal rule and raced north, leaving a very healthy storm then approaching Hammon.

I didn’t make it to Vici in time. When I closed on the storm, and saw also the second development to the west of Vici, I didn’t like the looks of it and headed back south. Back and forth, back and forth. I just knew I was going to manage to miss all the tornadoes by chasing NOAA tones, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. Fortunately, I cut east to 183 and dove south in time to observe a long rope tornado from the intersection of 33 and 183 facing west toward Butler. I estimate this tornado was about one-half mile from me and lasted only about four minutes. Time was 3:05 PM.

I followed 33 northeast, paralleling the storm’s course, and observed a second tornado, which began as a thin rope, then expanded into a narrow elephant trunk and finally displayed a very narrow condensation funnel extending to the ground from the larger upper half—this is what Shane referred to that we called “half a tornado.†No question from the size of this tube that it was on the ground. This tornado appeared very soon after one of the storm’s frequent occlusions, and almost appeared to be on a gust front. However, it was obviously a full tornado and not a gustnado, just in an unusual spot. This was approximately 3:35 PM near Fay.

I then dropped down to Clinton and watched the beautiful supercell sit on the interstate and make one effort after another to produce a fully-backlit tornado, but to no avail. Finally this storm began drifting east northeast, cycling from a compact classic into a small HP and back again, but not with the same success at funnel production. Then, intending only to shoot structure, Eric Nguyen, Scott Currens, and I saw the twin funnels, one of which apparently dropped, southwest of Okarche. This was a complete surprise, as were most of the day’s tornadoes, forming quickly from hastily-organized wall clouds then disappearing without a trace soon afterwards. Later we wondered if both storms interacted with leftover outflow from the morning’s convection, as they seemed to produce tornadoes when structurally they did not seem at the height of their powers.

Had a fun dinner at the Pizza Hut in Oklahoma City with Eric Nguyen, Scott Blair, Jason Politte (whose excellent video I owe a review), and some others from OU. Nothing better than celebrating a great chase with old friends. Also enjoyed running into Shane, Chad, Jo, Blake Naftel (a true road warrior), Graham Butler, Dave Drummond, and Tony Laubach. It was quite a chaser confab out here today. So I had the best of both worlds this weekend: the caprock all to myself Friday, and a wild tornado chase with friends (and every chaser within 250 miles) on Saturday.

I’ll post captures and stills when I return to Indiana tomorrow night, and post some video segments as well. I can’t say enough about the flawless nowcasting of Jeff Gammons and Mike Hollingshead. Huge thanks to both.

Amos Magliocco
My report is pretty easy.. Read David Drummond's since we chased together. One difference is I had to be at work this morning so I had to drive back home

663 miles
3 funnels
2 tornadoes

NOTE.. I second davids comments about that girl in the red van. While she was yelling smartass remarks at David her and her chase pals drove right into a private field behind a fence to set up. sad part is David and I both have been chasing as long as this girl has been alive. You could tell out there who knew what they were doing from those that just followed the convoy. It is apparent that a number of "chasers" need some education in storm structure and cloud feature recognition. A number of times we stopped to shoot a funnel or one of the tornadoes as other chasers drove right by oblivious to what was occuring. And ofcourse the usual 40mph line of cars. The storm we decided to dump near Watonga and go back SW toward Clinton had become disorganized and there was alot of cold air advection occuring which makes for scud flying in every direction. thats when some of these "chasers" stopped and filmed and pointed like it was the apocolyps. Learn what your looking at!! All that said it was a very nice chase for us. Most of our decisions put us in the right spot every time. alot of back roads (mostly to get away form the horde). Look forward to readings David's post on his webpage.
Very similar chase compared to many others... makes sense, since I saw bazillions of people I knew out there. Long Story short: was suprised at how early convection went up. We were at Elk City and I was able to check radar. Both cells looked decent in their own right so we decided to first skirt a bit south to see if the cell near Elk City had a rain free base (we were ahead of the FF downdraft). We did, and sure enough, it looked like it was trying to get its act together. For the next couple hours we followed this storm... east to Clinton, north on 183 to 33 etc. etc. We caught the narrow "needle" nado near Butler, then also saw the various funnel/rope things north of Custer City.

At this point we were pretty satisfied.. then again, I didn't know we missed the best photogenic tornado near Vici. DOH. The kicker was I was still interested in this area...it was just that I couldn't justify leaving the cell near Elk City. Unlike Amos, I didn't leave after the tornado warning went out for it. Although the cell's tower looked nice, I couldn't tell how good the one was on our present cell. I had been burned by ditching the southern storm before, so we decided to stick to it.

Anyway, we probably followed the Elk City storm a bit too long... we got up near Watonga and its struture was very confusing/disorganized. Rapid occlusions etc etc. I can't believe this storm actually produced compared to some of the supercells I have seen that haven't.... go figure. We heard about a new cell towards Bessie (the I40 storm) and beelined south. Intercepted it near Weatherford along I40, and had a great view of the it's circulation, tornado sirens going off, and 20 people from a mobile home park huddled around a basketball court pointing to the sky. I sincerely hope there was a shelter under that, cause otherwise we would of had a body count if this storm produced.

Anyway, this storm was much the same story as the previous... it was like it wanted to get its act together, but it had a mental handicap and just kept stumbling on it self... over... and over... We continued to watch it's frequent wall clouds along and north of I40 after it got east of Weatherford. I guess this put down a tube near Ocarche, but we didn't see anything more than some distant funnels.

All and all a decent chase for March. Pictures/Maps etc. will be posted on my website tonight.

I decided to make the trip late so I missed most of the show. I left Conway, AR at 11:30 and headed to west OK. The Sprint data service was very sporadic along the way so I had trouble getting data. But I made it to the south supercell when it was near Hydro. I pulled off on Hwy. 58 and watched it for awhile. Then I followed it NE and found a good view from Hwy 281 where I got some decent pics.

This was my first chase into OK and it was awesome. I did not see a tornado, but saw some good storm structure and got some pretty good pics. I got home a little after midnight with NO regrets.

Here's a pic of the storm as I approached it from I40. View is to the west.

[Broken External Image]:http://www.visibleimagery.com/photos/20040327_OK_Hydro.jpg
Just found out that a local OKC news chaser videoed our possible tornado near Thomas from another angle and has a debris cloud under the funnel, so yesterday's tally is now officially 4 tornadoes for us. Strongly suspected, but didn't have visual proof from our viewpoint.

Here's my "official" tornado data from yesterday:

3:03 - 3:04pm 5 W Arapaho
3:34 - 3:36pm 4 N Custer City
3:57 - 4:00pm Thomas
6:58pm 3 NW Concho
Scott Blair and I were also out yesterday and intercepted our first supercell south of Elk City, OK. The cell displayed intense rotation at times before producing the first tornado, a beautiful translucent rope, southeast of Butler just before 3 p.m. The second tornado with the cell occurred thirty minutes later near Custer City as we punched through the south side of the hook and observed the tornado from close proximity as it dissipated.

We eventually broke off the cell near Hitchcock and moved to intercept a newly developed supercell near Weatherford. We followed the cell to south of Okarche where we observed our third and last tornado of the day. The storm provided an unusual display of tornadic activity with a large funnel about 3/4 of the way down and a smaller, more laminar horizontal funnel stretching to the south.

Easily the best early season chase to date for myself and a fantastic way to begin the 2004 chase season. Much thanks to Dave Lewison for nowcasting for us.

Tight shot of Butler rope while dissipating:

Other video stills from the day:

Butler tornado

Custer City tornado

Okarche twin funnels/tornado

Jason Politte
Conway, AR