Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: May 19, 2010
Miles Logged: 1693
States Chased: OK
Largest Hail Encountered: 2.5"
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:

So after saying all week that I was not chasing on Wednesday, I did everything in my power to go chasing. I called everyone I knew to see if I could get them to trade off driving with me to drive all night to make it to Oklahoma in time for the anticipated Tornado outbreak on Wednesday the 19th. All failed.

Eric Treece suggested I try flying into a bunch of different airports, but nothing really seemed plausible and affordble (less than $1000). I had all but given up, but then realized Adam Lucio and Danny Neal would be in Oklahoma City. I found a fare from Chicago Midway to Oklahoma City for $132 plus tax, so there my journey began.

I got home from work, packed, and went to bed around 8:30 pm. It’s a good thing I was tired, and fell right asleep. I was up at 1:45am to take a shower and drive to Chicago Midway for my flight which left at 6:45 am.

The drive to Chicago was pretty uneventful. I parked my truck in the economy parking deck, and caught my flight. The flights went well. My first flight was about an hour from Chicago Midway to Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota. The flight took off eastbound and took us right over downtown Chicago.

I caught my connection to Oklahoma City. Again, a pretty uneventful flight. I got a short nap on the Minneapolis to Oklahoma City flight.

Adam and Danny were waiting on me when I landed. As soon as I got into the car we were off down to Anadarko, OK which was our target. We went to Anadarko, and got lunch at Braums then headed over to Wal Mart so I could get some electrical supplies to make my inverter setup work in Adams expedition.

After some electrical handywork, and $15 at Wal Mart, I was up and running.

Storms fired to our north first, but as Adam said, they “looked fuzzy”, and disorganized so we decided to not go after them. It was later on we wished we had, when tornado reports started coming in from what looked like rain showers on the radar.

We started heading north towards Kingfisher County, which is where the main storm was, and barely moving to the northeast. We got to Union City, and then decided to stop as the stuff to our southwest was really starting to go up. We sat in Union City for awhile, before heading back south to intercept the cell blowing up northeast of Snyder.

We got into a perfect position southwest of Chickasha, and waited around for the storm to get it’s act together. It didn’t do it nearly as fast as we had wanted it to.

We followed the storm into Chickasha, then up US 62 towards Blanchard. It was there the storm started to get a little better organized, and started spinning a little better. It produced a wall cloud and acted like it wanted to do something. We decided to get further in front of it, heading up to Blanchard and then SH 9 taking it over to I-35 then south. It was about the time we were getting onto I-35 when the tornado warning was issued.

We got off I-35 at Goldsby/Highway 74 exit, and took it a little south before proceeding west a mile or two. We observed a decent lowering then decided to head back to Highway 74 and south.

We stopped at the Intersection of Highway 74 and 24, and observed for a while longer. A very distinct lowering went across the road to the north of us. It was rotating, but ever so slowly.

We headed southeast on 74 towards Purcell, and through the town of Purcell. It was in Purcell I filmed most of the footage below. Almost everyone in town was standing outside with the tornado sirens blowing. I guess that is the Oklahoma way…

Once we got east of Purcell, we headed to 120th ave, which had a great place to observe the storm. Again, a major lowering and some rotation. The rotation was tightening up, but still couldn’t get it done. Some more locals were out ‘observing’ the storm trying to see a tornado – I guess it’s an Oklahoma pastime.

We headed up 120th ave towards Slaughterville, when the storm decided to do it’s best – a wall cloud which was rotating vigorously which appeared to be an actual funnel. I was filming out the side window while Adam drove. Adam tried filming and actually got hit in the hand by hail, which was funny.

We headed east for a mile or two before I yelled at Adam to stop stop stop stop just as it appeared the storm was going to produce. It never really did, however, and we ended up in crappy chase terrain, on a back road near Tribbey. The chase was over, and we headed back to OK-39 to head back to Norman.

Danny, Adam and I went to Outback Steakhouse and got supper. Danny and I both got steaks for the previous tornado days.

We ended the night at Steve Miller OK’s house, where we both sorrowed about the crappy day that was the High Risk bust in Oklahoma. Steve had just as miserable of a day, and was up playing the warm front.