I have to laugh about this one. It falls into the, “Where there is a will – there is a way” category. It was a scheduled work day for me, and while I might have been able to get off in advance, once I was there I was pretty much stuck. I knew there would be severe weather, but didn’t look very close at the day since I wasn’t going to be able to chase.
Then the outbreak started unfolding. First there were tornadoes near Sayre, and then more near Elk City. Then Cordell was struck. My occasional moan at work was soon replaced with a steady whine, to the point my boss had enough of it and told me to get the hell out of there.
No chase gear, no maps, no camera, I headed straight west on I-40. I stopped at the Hinton exit to look at a TV and see where the best storms were located, bought an Oklahoma road map and disposable camera and was off.
I targeted a storm that had produced a long-track strong tornado near Mountain View and was headed toward Fort Cobb Lake. The updraft came into view to my southwest as I waited near Albert. The first tornado formed a few miles to my south and danced around to the northeast for about three miles. Much to my surprise, the nine dollar camera I bought at the truck stop performed well with the good contrast and I was really pleased with how the tornado pictures came out.
The second tornado was larger and received a rating of F3 a few miles to my east. I captured images of it as well, but the camera didn’t perform nearly as good in the lower light and poor contrast. Still, not a bad, short chase and not a bad way to get out of work for the evening.