Did anyone chase May 13, 1983?

Sep 8, 2005
Oklahoma City, OK
It was a date I came across in Storm Data a couple of years ago and recently thought about again. I took the time to plot out the tornado paths in Oklahoma that day and am fairly impressed. It looks like several supercells were responsible for the 21 tornadoes that started in southcentral and southwest Oklahoma spreading through the Altus, Hobart, Chickasha, Lawton, Ardmore, Purcell, Ada, McAlester areas. A tornado was produced in northwest OK near Fargo.... and it appeared there was a long-lived supercell that produced 6 tornadoes from north of Weatherford to Kingfisher to north of Guthrie.

Several of the tornadoes were strong. One near Hollis had a path length of 17 miles and a width of 500 yards. An F3 near Kingfisher had a path length of about 9 miles and there was another 9 mile long path with a tornado west of Watonga.

The Daily Weather Maps from that week were not "all that" impressive. There was a longwave trf in the western U.S. with about 50 kts of SWly mid level flow over the southern plains. On the morning of the 13th there was a front from north of Tulsa to a low west of Midland. Pressures were not all that low (1003 mb) and the low filled to 1008 mb ending up in southwest Missouri on the 14th. It was cold behind the front with Amarillo dropping to 39 degrees by the morning of the 14th.

Anyway, I didn't keep any chase logs back then... so I don't even remember if I went out that day. For sure - if I did - I didn't see any of the tornadoes. Given the size of the event... I thought I would find pic's or accounts from someone... coming up with nothing so far. If anyone has any - I would love to see them or hear about it.
Dave, I chased this day. I was working (TV back then) doing morning and noon shows and didn't get out the door until about 1PM. The masses had already gone to southwest OK, but I liked the warm front. I intercepted the storm near Weatherford that later went toward Watonga/ Kingfisher you mentioned. The cell was on and just north of the warm front. Traveling north in advance of the meso I encountered increasing east winds, I bailed out as they neared vehicle overturning speeds. The tornado, wrapped in fog and low clouds passed over where I had been. Deciding plan A was hopeless due to bad viso I dropped southwest to the storms entering far SW Ok. I intercepted a bell shaped supercell west of Magnum; Dave Hoadley got a tornado with this cell just across the TX border before I arrived. It was probably the Hollis tornadic storm you mentioned. The bell shaped side of the cell rotated violently up to about 20K feet. It passed over the town and produced a dusty tornado north of there. Then there was a lull in the action and a new wall cloud produced a series of multi-vortex touchdowns a few hundred yards north of highway 9 (I think)...I remember the tornadoes, but not the highway. A long line of OU chasers watched this event.

Later near sunset a strong supercell formed near Mountain Park with a large wedge illuminated by lightning. Many chasers saw this tornado (I did in the distance) but there were no photos. Remember, we didn't have highspeed digital video back then, just Kodachrome 64 and super 8. As for other storms that day, most chasers were busy with SW to central OK and to my knowledge didn't try these other regions. I was (I believe) the only one that attempted the warm front.