Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fairview, Oklahoma Tornado

Sorry for the delay in posting the visual results of the chase on the 2 4th in Oklahoma. Yesterday was spent mostly sleeping and recovering from the chase. As I'd stated in an earlier post, I hadn't felt well and did not sleep well the nights leading up to the chase and doing a one day marathon chase with minimum sleep... well, turns out my body couldn't resist sleep anymore after that one.

Myself, Colin Davis, Scott Kampas, and Heather Brinkmann had a chase day that was hard to complain about on Tuesday. Despite the bad wrap that they receive from storm chasers due to their frustrating nature (which I agree with) I'm now 3 for my last 3 on seeing good tornadoes on High Risk days. We did see the Canton wedge from a rain wrapped distance where we were only able to see the right side of 'something big'. We originally though perhaps we were seeing the wall cloud, and it wasn't until the reports of a large tornado began coming in that we figured out that this was no wall cloud that we were seeing. While the storm was ingesting a lot of rain from the southern storms, we had originally decided to hang back and let it organize but at this point realized that we needed to go in closer.

We were almost immediately greeted by a classic wall cloud that had that imminent tornado appearance. Almost perfectly timed, we found a nice secluded spot to pull off as a funnel cloud began to descend. The tornado ended up being on the ground for several minutes and was probably as graceful as they come. Just a skinny rope doing no apparent damage slowly snaking its way across the fields. No other chasers were in the immediate area giving the illusion that we were all alone out there. A lone tornado siren could be heard wailing in the distance embedded in the howling inflow. As quickly as it set down, the tornado roped out in beautiful fashion twisting around itself in large looping kinks.

Video captures, video at the bottom of the page.

This supercell finally met its demise at the hands of the supercells to our south. We began plotting our course for intercepting the storms to our south, realizing it would take us over an hour, and that the storms could have congealed into a line by that time thus ending the tornado potential. That said, it was only 3 PM or so. We had plenty of daylight to work with, and were already 10 hours away from home.

After several storms broke out hearts by congealing and gusting out, we finally got a break. Even if that break was the final one minute of the Norman, OK area tornado, it was enough. We intercepted one other supercell near Shawnee, but it wouldn't produce for us despite several areas of broad rotation.

Video capture of the last moments of the Norman, OK area tornado.

Blah blah, long drive home, blah blah I guess I need to whine about not seeing a tornado more often. Definitely want to thank my friends for getting me out there. This was exactly what I needed.

This probably was not the intercept for shooting super wide angle images on, but here it is no less.

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