4/28/06 DISC: OK/TX


The scanner reports by Scharf and the gang were very accurate and detailed, and told me the storm was basically a cold crap hailer. Having this mindset, I was even skeptical of my own eyes as I watched rotation develop. It became rather rapid, as the OUN coordinator came across the scanner asking if anyone had a visual on the storm's updraft. I replied jokingly "yes" to myself as I continued to watch the rotation strengthen. It seemed to cycle down and rain began to intrude, so I bailed east a few miles, then pulled over again. Once again, the rotation was fierce, and before I knew what was happening, a cone tornado developed fully condensed to the ground. Seconds later a vigorous debris cloud spun up beneath it, lasting only seconds.

Scharf was out in the field. Mike Foster, MIC, and I were doing the radio from the NWS. It's amazing how something you write off can suddenly turn on you whether chasing or in the warning hot seat. The storm sported an amazingly strong top heavy updraft, perfect for producing prodigious quantities of huge hail. But after leaving Vinson damaged and while tracking northwest of Mangum, the upper level updraft totally collapsed. However the storm developed a rear inflow notch signifying a locally strong push of outflow. The northside of the bow started to rotate along the gust front shear axis and soon we had a meso forming from low down and then building upward. So there was a good low-level updraft tightening that vorticity. The warning Met was on the fence regarding a tornado warning and while discussing it, I put out a call on the liason network looking for spotters with a good view of the updraft. We got no responses. After another 5 minutes, the next scan showed the whole circulation weakening and we abstained from issueing a TOR. Wouldn't you know it that was the time the tornado formed. We only got responses from the field once the tornado was down. The first field report mentioned the tornado formed and had already dissipated. FIguring on the collapse of the background circulation, we held back.

So here's an example of the value of getting realtime reports from the field from as many spotters/chasers we can get. I also am impressed how it's all about the low-level updraft, even if the top part of the storm might look like crap.