4/21/04 RPTS: OK/KS

Well unfortunately there's nothing to report from me. Had I had enough vacation time to take off, I would of definately taken this past week off to storm chase - unfortunately I only have 5 days of vacation which all is going towards a trip to the Dakota's in June for the week.

I had to work till 5, but after work I decided to head south towards Tulsa. I feared the fact that soon we'd be losing the daylight and heating, and I knew once we started to lose that then the storms would begin to weaken.

I decided to hit 169 south out of Kansas and went south of Nowata where I got to witness some awesome CG lightning to the south, unfortunately by this time the storms had weakened and the rotations were getting weak.

I decided to go on and head east to Vinita Oklahoma where I encountered rain but that was about it.. oh well.
Brian Fant, Steve Miller, and I targeted Ardmore, OK, but ended up continuing on toward Chickasha when it became apparent the cap was holding tough in the southern part of the state. We were on the Purcell storm pretty much from infancy, when it was just a collection of updrafts west of Alex, OK.

The storm had a high, featureless base for the longest time, but once it entered western McClain County, if finally got its act together. From there on, it produced a series of decent wall clouds, none of which produced a tornado. The closest it came to producing a tornado was around 5:15 PM, near the intersection of Hwy. 39 and Hwy. 24, west of Purcell. I honestly thought it was going to give us something at that point, but it just couldn't do it. Photo of the wall cloud/funnel when it was closest to the ground here.

Once the storm crossed I-35 at Purcell, it started sucking rain-cooled air from a newer storm to the southeast. After that, it didn't take long for it to gust out and fall apart. We gave up on it somewhere near Spring Hill, pausing to admire a nice shear funnel on the back side of the storm to the southeast.

After that, we jumped back on I-35 and drove south in hopes one of the newer storms in that direction would look better, but everything was pretty much turning into a line of mush by that point. Punched a hail core near Davis and emerged to see the Ardmore storm going up. Stopped in Ardmore for dinner and considered going after the new storm, but decided it didn't look all that great. Of course, it ends up becoming one heck of a supercell with a RITOR, but oh well. Admired it from a distance as the sun set and continued on to DFW. I actually made it home before 10:00 PM...kind of a surprise.

Today was my first "real" chase of the season, and I can say I'm relatively satisfied. No tornadoes, but now that I think about it, cloud bases were kind of high. It seems there was a narrow window of time in which both the OKC storm (we were listening to the live coverage on the radio) and the Purcell storm could have produced a tornado - basically, as they approached the I-35 corridor. As for their quick deaths, seeding from new updrafts to the south definitely had a lot to do with it, but I also suspect there wasn't much focus at the surface to keep the storms going once they moved far enough off the dryline. Despite punching through NW TX and SW OK during the day, the dryline never made much eastward progress.

Big thanks to Amos Magliocco for nowcasting.
I was on the OKC cell from its initiation SW of Yukon. After debating the...
do I follow it through the metro or get on another cell question... my
answer was quickly decided when 3" hail was reported with it. We followed
the storm through OKC... following it along I-40 to I44.

But wait.... what's this... ITS RUSH HOUR!!! Morons were abundant. People
under overpasses, stopping randomly. OKC really dodged a bullet this time
around. We managed to exit onto I44/74 to I44/60 and watched some amazing
cloud motions. Most amazing was scud condensing less than a 100 feet off
the ground and streaming straight into the wall cloud. Lot's of rotation..
maybe some funnels, but we were too busy trying to stay ahead, and not under
it. We were at 36th street and I think Lincoln when some spotters reported
debris in the air (can't quite recall exact intersection except that this
was reported only a few blocks from our position!!) Besides myself, Eric
Nguyen and Scott Currens were nearby, and we saw nothing that resembeled a
touchdown. At this point everything was looking outflow dominant/rain
wrapped. We continued with the cell to the Spencer/Choctaw area. At this
point, some other cells from the south were raining hard on us and we lost
visual. We decided to head south, and try and intercept the Purcell storm
that JR Hehnley was on, however, we called that off after things looked
rather untornadic and unimpressive from the backside.

150 total miles, half a tank of gas. A high intensity race through the
city, but the end result was being at the right place at the right time, but
mother nature forgetting to lift her skirt up. On the bright side, N.OKC
was saved.

Pictures of scud love:

Did Norman get any rain?

BTW: Who on here met me today? Someone ran into me and said they recognized me by my picture on stormtrack... who are you?

Aaron Kennedy
Had a very similar experience to Jeff's. We (David Dowell, Curtis Alexander and I) got on the eventual Purcell storm as it crossed into McClain county south of Blanchard. The storm was fairly high-based at first, but a wall cloud rapidly developed soon after we arrived. I called this in to WFO Norman, but just a few minutes later as hook precip started wrapping around, the wall cloud was strongly undercut by cold outflow. We were 5 miles south-southeast of the wall cloud and ended up with a cold northwest wind.

The storm tried again as it approached Purcell, but was undercut again just as it started to look organized. My friend Cody Kirkpatrick saved these TDWR images at the time (warning: large images):

I can verify the rain curtains and scud had some broad, weak, disorganized rotation at the time of these TDWR images, but nothing very dramatic, and no other visual sign of an attempt at a funnel or tornado.

We then realized the storms had minimal tornado potential, and dropped southeast to Wayne to try to get some photos and video of the billowing CBs receding to the east. As we watched, near the base of the northwest side of the nearest Cb, a high-based, laminar funnel cloud developed and persisted for about 2 minutes. Here are two pics (warning: large images):
Jo Radel, Chad Lawson, Mickey Ptak, and myself left OUN around 3:30pm headed east to what I felt would be the best combination of shear/moisture/helicity later in the day. Fortunately, we decided to go after the cell west of us shortly after it went severe. We got on the early tornadic storm in the OKC metro area, trailing the circulations by less than a mile as it tracked across town. All I can say is OKC dodged another major bullet; this thing, a few times, spun so damn hard and we just knew it was about to drop one.....a few times the rotation was extremely violent, and at one time we had RFD winds carrying trash and small debris and slamming it into us (along with quarter hail) from the north. Good thing we didn't see a tornado out of this storm.

After we got too far behind and lost our view of the updraft due to wrapping rain, we headed south for the storm near the Dibble/Washington areas. By the time we'd gotten to Norman, we realized we weren't gonna catch them by zigzagging our way down, so we decided to just take 72nd street SE out of OUN and race south. Well, we ended up in the middle of nowhere, on a road that just seemed to wind endlessly. Eventually, we stopped and Mickey and I switched places so he could run the GPS and I could drive.

After we finally discovered another highway, we targeted the storm in Marshall county as daylight began to fade. Mickey spotted a lowering near Bromide as we drove south on OK48, so we pulled over and shot video. This was an isolated, beautiful supercell storm that leaned towards LP characteristics, as it produced a persistant wallcloud for almost 20 minutes, before it began to crap out and darkness set in.

Another PDS tornado watch day that didn't produce, but the OKC storm encounter was very intense, and has us hungry for more tomorrow. Tornadoes have eluded us thus far this week, but tomorrow I'm getting even 8)

Thanks to Dwain Warner for the awesome nowcasting!!!!!
>>Tornadoes have eluded us thus far this week, but tomorrow I'm getting even

Sounds like a plan to me. I'll be heading out again. Classes two weeks before I graduate just don't rank that high on the priority list right now ;)

Chase Report From Michael James

Michael James sent in the following report:

"Zack Williams and I were on the Purcell storm at about 5:30pm, and saw
very slow rotation with a few small funnels (similar to those in Kevin
Scharfenberg's photographs). We then followed the next southern storm to about Wanette and ran into some hail.

Here are some photographs:


Saw the same funnel as everyone else. No rotation seen on any of the storms, but lots of rising motion. On the way home caught a surprise meeting another storm near Shawnee. Watching it come in from a gas station parking lot. Almost got killed when quarter size hail started falling and CRAZY drivers rushed in trying to wedge their jalopies under the already occupied covered area.

Pics at http://www.okstorms.com/2004_chases.htm#20040421
Jeff, I'm glad someone got a pic of that funnel.I didn't get the cam out in time. I saw that 9's chopter got it too.
I did stick around and took some pics and video of the cell coming thru Shawnee around 8 pm pics are here
My location at the time was I-40 & 99 looking west

Still figuring this camera out for darker shots and really hoping the video of this cell comes out better but I'm headed back out the door to watch storms coming into Tulsa so hopefully have time to work on it in the morning.
Well, I had a dynamics exam at 3:30-4:30, so I was worried about getting a late start. By the time we packed up and hit the road, the OKC supercell was already in the city... We started driving north to that cell, but saw a nice storm just to our south (southwest of Norman). So, we turned around and headed for that storm. Stopped near Purcell to watch a couple of nice, very low wall clouds. As it crossed I35, we decided to ditch it because it appeared to be outlfowing out, and the fact that there were cells southeast of this one lead us to conclude the the southern one would disrupt and cut off inflow. So, we headed south then east then south. Drove through a couple of hail cores with mainly small hail (1"). Got some nice pseudo-wallclouds east of Dougherty in Murray county. There were probably 2 actuall wallclouds, but there were numerous other features that looked very much like wallclouds but later appeared that they weren't connected to the cloudbase. Hmm... By this time, the structure was really puzzling to me. The updraft base had a sort of upper-case Omega shape, which strongly rotating clouds in the middle of it. Really wierd. Whatever the case, the sun started getting low, so we knew time was running out. Got wind of the tornado warning for the supercell in Marshall county, so decided to just try for it. By the time we got to Madill, though, the storm appeared to have weakened and the tornado warning was dropped. Since the sun had set, we headed west to Ardmore for some food....

Overall, this was a PDS chase... Particularly Disappointing Situation.... Despite incredible low-level shear and strong instability forecast by the RUC, it seems that we just had too many storms in the area that all ended up competing for each other. Additionally, the forcing seemed too much for the minimal capping to keep storm really discrete...

Let's hope tomorrow is a little different. I agree that we are STILL feeling the affects of the front that went through the Gulf about 10 days ago. Who ever would have thought that it'd take almost two weeks for the gulf to completely recover from a single fropa.... Oh well...
I went out with Dan Dawson and a few other grad students here at OU.

We all met up at NSSL, looked at some data, pretty much watched the storms around Norman/Purcell fire up, and then decided to go after the Purcell one. Took 35 south and then exited onto 74. From there, we pulled off and got a glimpse of a wall cloud to our NE. We're thinking it may have produced a funnel (this would have been around 4-something), but it was hard to tell because there was a bit of rain between us and the base.

Once we started getting more precip, we cut south to Purcell and then briefly pulled off on 77 to watch a scud-fest. Since it was headed towards us, we didn't stay long and then went east on 39. On 39, we had a few more opportunities to watch the storm do a whole lot more of not much, and we encountered some pea-sized hail. Then, we came to a point where we had to kind of stay put and let the Purcell storm and the storm the SE go between us. Saw a really nice rainbow, and the little high-based funnel that Kevin, Jeff and JR have photos of. Except we were on the other side of it (looking into the sun), so our contrast was not nearly as good. We were close to it; pretty much looking straight up. I have a picture of my website that Dan took with my camera.

After we were in the clear of having hail on either side of us, we decided to go back west a little ways. We stopped at a convenience store, had a brief chaser convergence, and decided to call it a day because everything looked just be an HP hailing mess. I think the storms just all popped up at once were competing too much with one another.

here's my link...I apologie in advance for the exceeded bandwidth:

Gore / Sallisaw, OK Long-Lived Supercell

Departed Monroe, LA at 10am targeting an area along an outflow boundary north of McAlester, OK. By 3:45pm, an explosive tower developed to the northeast of McAlester. We quickly jumped on the supercell west of Gore, OK along I-40. As the storm was placed under a tornado warning, a large and rapidly rotating wall cloud was observed along I-40 just east of Gore. A tornado appeared very imminent as rotation was intense. The storm eventually evolved from classic to HP as the cyclonic rotation shifted to a forward flank meso. We encountered large hail (2" diameter) throughout the day and ended the day with golfball sized hail in Alma, AR.

Photos can be found here...

Scott Blair
OKC Storm

I followed the storm into downtown OKC. Once I got back on the interstate, I-40 east, I could once again see the wall cloud, which now had a funnel. This stovepipe funnel came 3/4 down, or so it appeared, and dissipated. I really thought I was about to see OKC get hit *again*. Saw a couple more wall clouds on another cell near Ada. Stills will be online in a couple days.

Thanks to everyone who have been posting links to thier pics.

Got off work at 4:30pm. Precip core of Purcell storm was to my south, but what got my attention was a little cell just to the NW of Norman. Base was high and a bit ragged but there was some interesting looking scud hanging down from it. Followed that storm on the backroads between Norman and Moore for a bit before it fell apart - then went back to I-35 and headed south to get new development. Pretty much the same thing that happened yesterday, new stuff kept firing further and further SW, but today got the Tail End Charlie cell just east of Marietta. Cell was pretty high based too, and with the low scud that formed underneath the RFD shelf I guess the RFD was pretty cold, but the structure was very nice.....base was rounded and laminar, several thin inflow bands feeding it from the south, reminded me a little of the cell that popped just SE of Norman on 3/17. I'll try to get some video caps done soon.
I have a different story, i was on the cell that initiated over Henryetta,Ok. I left SE KS at 1230pm and headed south to my target of Henryetta.I arrived shortly before 1600 and the cell that hit FT.Smith was already going but i didnt believe i could intercept so i stayed put and waited for more convection to happen. When i pulled in for gas, i saw the Tulsa Channel 6 satellite truck sitting there so i decided to go talk with them. They had 6 guys from CNN waiting to go on the chase with them. They were some nice folks and i enjoyed chatting with them. I called Dave Crowley to see where he was chasing and he said they were on a Tor Warned cell near OKC. By this time, a cell was going up right over my head so i decided i would stay with this one. I followed it to Muskogee county where nws tul put out a thunderstorm warning with rotation in the storm. I saw this cell produce 4 different wall clouds and several funnels but no touchdowns that i could see. The RFD in this storm was quite strong at times with probably 50+ mph winds. As i got north of Muskogee the roads were a problem and i could not stay se of the wall cloud any longer. I believe it went below severe limits after this as i heard no new warnings on this cell. All in all, a decent day for me, but my wife was angry that we drove that far and didnt see a nader.

Thanks to Gary Kimball for nowcasting for me.
We were on the stuff as it fired in Chickashea and followed it as it began to mature and produced that large wall cloud that most saw near Purcell. Not sure why some said it was not rotating, because it was. Once I finally get done chasing and back home looks like on Saturday now I will post a vide clip of it. Can't do that too well with dialup where I am now. Stayed with that a while to see a couple more wall clouds and then decided to drop to the next storm south. As we manuvered into position we saw a very nice mid level cold air funnel that persisted for over 5 minutes and was very well formed. After that just wall clouds under high based stuff with a couple of clear slots rotating in and that was about it! Been on the road since Monday chasing and out for another round again today in OK! :shock:
Jason Montano and I were also unsuccessful as well, but all in all, not a bad day considering we saw some awesome structure. We left Norman and headed toward Pauls Valley at 1230 and waited in Pauls Valley until about 3 until things finally started going up to the south of the OKC storm.

We decided that we wanted to focus our efforts on the southern extent of the line as we felt that any storms that developed in that region were in a more favorable environment for tornadic activity. We left Pauls Valley and headed west to Lindsay where we dropped south. At this time, storms were really getting going in our vicinity and we followed a rapidly developing cell south of Lindsay back through Elmore City and then to I35 where we met up with quite a decent hail shower.

We regrouped in Pauls Valley and got a fresh radar update, then deciding to stick with the cell we were on (deciding against the Purcell storm as it appeared that it would get cutoff by our storm). We followed this cell east toward Ada, navigating many rural roads which I was afraid we might get stuck on until we were about 5 miles west of Hwy 1 and Roff. At this location, we saw a rapidly lowering wall cloud and much better rotation than we had seen all day. At one point, it appeared as if the whole wall cloud was going to come down to the ground. Also, the upward motion of scud into this wall cloud was very fast. We followed this lowering north on hwy 1 and then to hwy 3, where we decided to call it a day and head home.
We saw that too near Ada. The vertical velocities were pretty intense going up into that particular wall cloud. We could tell if the wall cloud was rotating or not, but the rain/clear slot RFD wrapped around it pretty nicely. We too stayed on this until it got dark and then packed it in.

Heading for Ardmore today!
21 April

Well Lance summed it up just wanted to say that I have the pics from yesterday on my website now. I also uploaded the crappy pics I got from 19 April.

Heading SE of Norman Today, not sure where yet.
2004 04 21 Tulsa chase

Drove down from Denver Wednesday and chased the line moving east towards Tulsa. Here is a screen grab of the radar as I drove east on HW412. http://www.geocities.com/stormchaserco/200...40421radar1.jpg Had to pull over as the rain was too intense to drive in and all viewing was obscured. Learned later that 2 mobile homes had been destroyed in Silver City near the time that I had been in the area. Luckily they were vacant but a guy was set to move in to one of them.