Chase Date: May 16, 2015
Lindsey Farias, Jari Ylioja
Miles Logged: 695
States Chased: TX, OK
Tornadoes Witnessed: 1
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks
A frustrating day all around due to the transportation situation. We were in my girlfriends car and had to avoid hail, which was the worst time of the season to avoid hail. I was busy fixing my car, and we were being cheap in not renting.
We stayed in Garden City after chasing in Nebraska the day before and headed due south out of Garden City on 83. My target was in SW OK from Altus to Childress, but figured 83 was the best road to put us in a good position for a chase later that afternoon.
As we neared Shamrock, storms were firing in the Texas Panhandle east of the caprock. We were in perfect position to get in front of the first tornado warned storm west of Wellington, TX.
First Storm near Wellington, TX
Unfortunately the first storm was HP as can be and we were avoiding hail so we had to bail on it and head south to the next storms going up to the southwest of Childress. We hung out in Childress and watched a storm try to mature and eventually die while another strengthened to the south. This would end up being the storm of the day. I was contemplating on giving up on it after an hour of following it through Quanah and over towards Chillicothe.
We made the fatal mistake of not sticking with the storm and heading to Vernon to fill up with gas and ended up out of position. I was contemplating going south towards the storms near Seymour. The storm over the red river ramped up significantly and fast. A tornado was on the ground, and we were unfortunately not able to take 283 north towards the storm. This meant we had to take 183 to cross the river, which was the much longer way. Lack of roads and river crossings as well as the transportation situation really screwed us.
Frustrated and angry, we headed north towards Tipton, and then to the west side of town. The town was a zoo with many people observing the RFD rain wrap around south of Tipton. Many others were coming down OK-5 after a successful intercept.
Tipton, OK Tornado
We observed a nice stovepipe tornado west of Tipton before heading east on highway 5c. The contrast was quite low, but we did get power flashes as it crossed a high tension power line northwest of Tipton.
We headed east to 183 northbound to get back into the hook, but the tornado had then lifted and the storm was cycling. Between traffic, police and storm mode we decided it would be best to get to the storms to the south. Unfortunately we had to head east on 62 and south on I44 through Lawton.
We thought a storm near Grandfield would be the one to chase, but it seemed like the storm further south to the west of Wichita Falls would be the better one so we passed an eventual tornado producing storm near Walters and headed south to Texas.
Wichita Falls Storm
The structure on the storm was quite incredible and photogenic, and even produced a nice funnel for a bit, but never produced a tornado.
We would follow this storm through the north part of Wichita Falls and along the river to Byers and towards Waurika before heading home as it was quite dark at this point.