Sunday, 20 May 2012

May 19th - severe thunderstorms and supercells

After a long wait for initiation in Woodward, the advancing cold front/dryline eventually began to fire to the SW. Anticipating this we dropped south to Vici and watched a loosely organised band of high based thunderstorms start to fire off.

After a while the southern storm began to become more dominant so we dropped south down highway 34, and then east on 47. We stopped several times to observe the structure, and the storm began to take on more supercellular characteristics at times. The three images below are from the Go Pro 2 camera which we have mounted on the windscreen, and taking an image every 10 seconds throughout the day.

We then dropped south on 47 and then 183 towards Clinton, again stopping at times to view the storms. I'm sure there was a brief funnel cloud at some point - I would be interested to hear any other chasers' views.

Near Clinton, a particularly heavy core overtook us and provided us with copious amounts of marble-sized hail with some up to around 1 inch diameter, driven on by a strong wind. We sought shelter under an awning, but so did several others, and we left when the hail eased. Shortly afterwards several more thuds announced the arrival of more hail and we found another awning, this one larger. We got under and then the hail core took a good 20 mins or more to move over. Copious lightning occurred throughout the storms, and the Go Pro managed to capture one CG!

All in all a great chase day - congratulations to all the chasers who bagged tornadoes in S Central Kansas. It was a tempting play and we almost went up that way. However, we were more than content with our decision to stay south - we saw a few other chasers but not many. We also wanted to be a bit closer to where we want to be tomorrow, which is Lubbock, Texas, for the annular eclipse of the sun. 

We're overnighting in Elk City, Oklahoma, ready for the 270 mile drive.

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