Chase Date: April 26, 2016
JR Hehnly, Kenneth McCallister
Miles Logged: 405
States Chased: OK, TX
Largest Hail Encountered: 2"
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks
Chased today with a special guest from Louisiana, aptly named “Big Bill”. I had very high hopes in southwest Oklahoma after my morning forecast and even the previous week of forecasts leading up to the event. Veer back veer issues but an extremely moist and unstable warm sector under a very strong jet.
After we left Moore/Norman, we headed southwest on I-44 to Lawton and then west. Frederick VWP actually did not look too bad, and VBV seemed mostly minimal. Soon we had a storm going down in Texas near Vernon, so we decided to drop south out of Snyder to Frederick and then head south into Texas.
The storm was a beauty at first, showing very good organization and some great cycles with big meaty wall clouds. Due to the river, we ended up having to drive through the core a bit and encountered some hail, but not a lot as we headed east on SH-5 towards Tipton, OK. The storm became tornado warned and organization seemed to be picking up greatly. We had a good funnel and for a few minutes I really thought we’d get a tornado just south of Tipton.
Then it cycled, but the next cycle came back east of town and I thought again it would do it.
We headed on some back roads and I remembered why I hated driving on side roads down there – Tons of mud caked on the tires immediately.
We finally got back to pavement on 183 and ran into a huge line of chasers. The storm was becoming very HP at this point, and looking back at it, probably linear/outflow dominant. We chased up to US62, barely avoiding the hail as we raced off east to keep up.
We headed up 54 for a couple miles and saw some more low hanging clouds, but rotation and organization seemed very poor. Lightning was good, and eventually we found ourselves looking at a liner mess as we were backed into a corner near the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
I decided to make one last play down south to see if we could catch something on the tail end, so we headed back towards Manitou. The storms looked like crap from there, so we called it a day and headed back to OKC.