Category Archives: 1982

Southwest Oklahoma Tornadoes – May 11, 1982

I just thought that the Ada storm chase back in March was impressive.  This time the chase had us on a storm that produced several tornadoes, including a very large one near Friendship, Oklahoma.  This tornado was surveyed to be 2100 yards wide and produced F3 damage.  Unfortunately, this tornado was another killer that resulted in the deaths of two people.

The second tornado of the day was observed near Lone Wolf.  The third was a multiple vortex tornado near Sentinel.

Once again, it had me asking the question, “Can it be this easy?”  The answer would come in a long line of non-productive chases that stretched out until 1987.  “Can it be this easy?” was replaced with “Are we ever going to see another tornado?”

March 15, 1982 – Tornado – Ada, Oklahoma (F3)

Beginners luck?  Who knows, but my first storm chase was a good one.  Looking back, I had no idea at the time just how perfect it was.

We drove south out of Norman and picked up an isolated supercell storm near Elmore City.  The storm moved quickly east northeast across Garvin and Pontotoc Counties while producing large hail and rotating wall clouds.  The tornado formed quickly.  We thought we saw a funnel cloud developing as we started down a hill, and by the time we came to the top of the next hill we had a solid tornado a debris cloud.  We didn’t realize at the time that the tornado was tracking through Ada.  Unfortunately, it resulted in the death of one person and injured six.

After a brief stop to look at some damage in Ada, we followed the storm a few more miles where I got to see my first hail the size of baseballs.

For better or worse, I was hooked.  If anything bad came from it, it was the idea that all chases would be this easy.