Severe Storms in Western Oklahoma

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Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: May 19, 2012
Chase Partners:
Ashley Poling

Chasers Encountered:
JR Hehnly

Miles Logged: 377
States Chased: OK
Largest Hail Encountered: 1.5"
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:

May 19th would prove to be a tough forecast and tough day to chase. It was the first day Ashley had to chase after flying in the 18th from Nashville.

The whole forecast area looked pretty much the same – linear events were expected due to some veering wind profiles. Moisture return was sufficient but not great for tornadoes. Shear was likely for some super cells early and maybe they could produce. Well produce they did – in Kansas.

I didn’t catch the 10-15 knot faster 500mb winds in Kansas on my morning forecast and am not sure honestly the NAM was even showing that significant of an increase up north. Pictures poured in on Facebook all afternoon of beautiful tornadoes in Kansas while chasing some storms in Oklahoma that had an almost 0% chance of producing tornadoes.

Ashley and I didn’t get the earliest start due to the fact I was still reloading my Laptop after reformatting it after the chase on the 17th. We targeted up near Seiling, OK, but had a secondary target south of there near I-40 and Clinton, OK.

Storms were firing about the time we made our way to Seiling and it seemed like the best bet was to fill up and head a little bit northwest as the best storms were firing southwest of Woodward.

We met up with JR Hehnly and chased these storms for the next several hours, all of them being more or less linear in nature. Finally one of the storms started to look more promising west of Elk City so we all headed to Hammon then west.

The storm itself was pretty but still pretty high based and never would produce and eventually turned into a very linear mess near I-40. However, the storm then got very pretty and produced some amazing mammatus and a shelf cloud. Ashley and I continued following the storms south to Hobart where we captured the most amazing mammatus picture I have ever captured so far.

By this time it was starting to get late and we headed to Altus to eat. Ashley got her first taste of Whataburger and then we headed off to Childress, TX for the eclipse the next day.