Monthly Archives: May 2014

11 May 2014 / Kansas supercells and tornado

Thunderstorms erupted along a dryline from the Northeast Texas Panhandle to Southwest Kansas between 2:30 and 3:00 pm.  Through 4 pm, the storms remained quite cluttered along the line with occasional supercell structures.  We started the afternoon sitting in Pratt monitoring development, then moved to Greensburg and Bucklin.  Just after 4:30 pm, the storms started showing signs of becoming separate, and we decided to target a storm that was moving close to Ford, KS.  This storm had decent shape, very frequent lightning, and a wall cloud feature for a time.  It produced a small funnel cloud which extended about half way to the ground a few miles southwest of Ford.  We decided to continue following this storm despite a somewhat disorganized appearance after it passed Ford.  Our attention was on another storms which was to our south, near Ashland.

The Ford storm continued to look less and less interesting a few miles northeast of the town, but we did measure hail up to 2.21 inches in diameter.  After a little head scratching, the decision was made to move toward Greensburg to intercept the southern storm.

I did not have a good feeling about this storm because of its small size on radar, and the fact that it was the southern most storm and ingesting a lot of hot air from Oklahoma.  My doubts about the storm were confirmed as we approached Greensburg and found a small, high based, LP storm.  Meanwhile, the storms that we left were becoming better organized and seemed to be feeding off more favorable conditions.  It didn’t take long to make the decision to head back north.

We came in on the southwest side of the Larned storm during its tornadic phase.  We didn’t see the first part of the tornado, but did get a good view of the tornado in the occluded and weakening stage.  It was visible for about 3 minutes to the southwest of Larned.

We followed this storm a short distance northeast of Great Bend before targeting another supercell that was approaching from the southwest.  This storm had beautiful structure and provided many photo opportunities.

Finally, one more supercell approached and we got some images of this before dropping south to get out of the way of an intensifying line of storms.

Considering everything that was seen, it was a very casual and fun day of chasing and photography.

8 May 2014 / Northern Oklahoma weak convection

Looking west northwest from 4.3 miles north northwest of Douglas, OK (7:59 pm CDT)

Looking west northwest from 4.3 miles north northwest of Douglas, OK (7:59 pm CDT)

 

Not a lot of write about this little trip.  There was a northeast to southwest boundary across Northern Oklahoma that bubbled through the mid and late afternoon.  A few low topped storms formed near Ponca City and we decided to drive north toward the Enid area.  As things became clear that development wouldn’t occur farther to the southwest, we took up a spot northwest of Douglas and shot images and time lapse video of the sunset and pulsing high based cumulus.

7 May 2014 / Southwest Oklahoma Supercells

Fun.  Interesting.  Successful.  This day was pretty good all the way around.  Storms were more of a sure thing than the previous day, and it looked like supercell storms would be possible.  The low level moisture returned faster and deeper than expected and we got a little more than we anticipated.

We left southwestward toward Mount Scott once again.  Can you tell that there is a goal of eventually getting lightning images from up there?  Severe storms were approaching the mountain by the time we got on top.  We had just barely stopped, with a WWR police officer approached and said we had to leave because of the weather.  Isn’t that a kick.  We didn’t waste time to testify and just rolled back to the bottom.  Inside the refuge, there are very few views of the horizon, so it wasn’t doing us much good anymore.  We drove southwestward and observed a few storms between Snyder and Manitou.  Despite frequent lightning, these were quite disorganized with little identifiable structure.  We left these and targeted a better looking storm to the southeast of Frederick.  Unfortunately for us, the disorganized storms we left would eventually get their act together and produce a tornado inside the Wichita Wildlife Refuge.

The new target storm which was between Hollister and Grandfield had some excellent structure for a brief time, before being interfered with by a left moving storm which crossed the Red River.  It appeared that this storm may have been on its way to producing a tornado before the interference.

Our next target storm was a supercell which was moving across Wichita County, Texas.  We stayed on the north side of the Red River and watched this storm approach with very impressive supercell features evolving.  From a couple of miles south of Randlett, Oklahoma, we observed a funnel cloud several miles to our southwest.  This may have actually been a brief tornado.

The rest of the evening was spent staying ahead of the storm, dodging hail and gathering images of the beautiful supercell structure.  The storm started weakening after dropping its final barrage of baseball size hail on Addington, Oklahoma.

We drove home north on Highway 81 and were treated to frequent lightning while navigating more storms and one more supercell to the northwest of Chickasha.

6 May 2014 / Mount Scott bust

Low level moisture was lacking, but it did appear that strong surface heating along a dryline would help in initiating scattered thunderstorms over Southwest Oklahoma and Northwest Texas during the late afternoon or early evening.  Several short range/high resolution models strongly suggested this scenario.

I drove to Mount Scott once again where the plan was to shoot time lapse video and any lightning that came close enough.

Between 6 and 7 pm, scattered storms started forming over Northwest Texas.  These never became too impressive and struggled with limited moisture under a strong cap.  Even worse for me, storms never formed north of the Red River.  I came down from the top of the mountain just after 7 pm and worked my way northward – taking roads that I haven’t been on before – back to the house.