May 18, 2017: Tornado near Chester, Oklahoma

May 18 2017 Convective OutlookThe day had incredible potential. Good shear, moisture and instability were all in place on a day that the Storm Prediction Center issued a High Risk for parts of Oklahoma and Kansas.

We started out from Oklahoma City and took our time getting to northwest Oklahoma. Our target area was generally between Seiling and Woodward, Oklahoma. But, we opted to stay east of the target area where we could monitor the day while having good road options.

As we were en route, we watched as the towering thunderstorms were growing along the dryline to our west. Canton, Oklahoma was our waiting area while we monitored visual satellite imagery.

Within an hour of arriving in Canton, the first Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued. We had a pretty decent view of the storm and it looked ripe! We proceeded along Highway 51 towards Seiling, Oklahoma.

As we got closer to the storm, we had a better view of the storm’s base, we could see a definitive lower on the storm. Soon, a funnel emerged from the rotating wall cloud and we had our first tornado of the day. That storm created two tornadoes.

Neither of these tornadoes impacted structures or they would have likely produced major damage. The first tornado roped out as it approached Highway 281 about 8 miles north of Chester at 3:36 pm CDT.

A second tornado quickly developed and that one was on the ground for 20 minutes before lifting just southwest of Waynoka. Both tornadoes exhibited behavior that you would expect with strong (EF2+) tornadoes.

Fun and exciting chase day in Western Oklahoma that ended with a large tornado and an amazing sunset that illuminated the supercell near Chester in Woodward County. Not every High Risk day ends up deserving of such an accolade, today certainly did!

May 16, 2017: McLean, Texas Tornado

May 16 2017 Convective OutlookMay 16th was a needle in a haystack kind of day. The Storm Prediction Center issued an Enhanced Risk of convective storms from Midland, Texas to extreme northern Iowa. A Slight Risk area covered eight states!

We decided to focus on the dryline in the Texas Panhandle where there was steady boundary of moisture under and advancing shortwave trough. It did not dissapoint!

By mid-afternoon, several supercells were starting to pop along the dryline. One storm in particular near McLean caught our attention. The area had everything we needed for a busy afternoon, shear, moisture, instability and lift. The stage for an exciting chase in the Texas Panhandle was set!

We got our first tornado from a wall cloud with extremely fast erratic motion. The tornado was primarily over open country, where we like to see them. We witnessed the tornado from birth to death and it had a wild rope out stage, which happened very close to our location providing the tour group with some amazing photos!

The storm structure was fantastic and also included some very large hail of at least baseball size.