Tuesday, 4 June 2013

June 3rd report

Short: Intercepted several storms in the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles, culminating in a stunning supercell.

Long: We awoke in Amarillo, and I decided to dust off the Speedos and do a bit of morning swimming - annoying kids in the pool meant I only swam for a bit before my annoyance levels took me back to our room for coffee.

We left Amarillo around noon/midday/1200, whatever it's known as, and headed north towards Guymon, Oklahoma. We were targeting the Panhandle region, as moist upslope flow combined with weak lift from an upper system meant that scattered showers and thunderstorms should form, and then become severe as they moved east and south-east into somewhat moister air.

After lunching in Guymon, where it was 38C (!), we headed a bit north and east, to just east of Hooker, Oklahoma. We then spent a while watching convection try to form but having a tough time. My mood become a bit despondent with it all for a while but spirits were lifted as a storm to the north-west took on a more solid look (above shows me watching it starting to form). We headed north, and started to see CG lightning coming out. Here is a lucky shot I took (below).

A number of our UK storm chase friends were also on the storm, and turned up! 

After a while we went our separate ways, and we headed east, to keep viewing the storm. However, it became clear that, whilst nice looking, it was going into a region where it would be tricky to keep following it by road, so we dropped south onto a new storm. We noticed on the Spotter Network that our friends Nathan, Pete, and Steve, had stopped, and the radar looked very interesting - we decided to drop down to see what had got their attention. It was a stunning supercell - we already had realised it was a supercell from the radar, but one look confirmed it. We pulled up next to them and spent quite a while in one place documenting it - this was south of Beaver, Oklahoma (below).

We then had to drop south, but stopped again to watch and document it some more (below). Soon it became apparent that we needed to get south and east before the angry RFD got us, so we headed down to Booker, where the sirens were sounding (the storm was warned for 80mph winds), and then east. After watching it some more we decided to leave it after dark, and we went our separate ways. Helen and I ended up in Elk City, and a brand new Sleep Inn. No places to eat though, so it was dirty microwave burgers and chips from Walmart! A far cry from the Big Texan last night! One more chase day tomorrow and then it's to Dallas on Wednesday for the flight home.


  1. Lovely striations..
    Harry Mac

  2. Hi Knightley
    Love the photos of the lightening - Aren't you clever!
    Looks amazing. Just be careful ok!!
    What is the ideal weather you would love to see - a tornado ? a big lightening storm?

  3. Smith, hope you're well. Lightning is amazing to watch, I think, and it still he fascination with me. However, the structure of one of these storms and the meteorology behind them are what fascinate me. A tornado is the ultimate, I suppose, but it depends on the storm. A slow moving picturesque storm in the middle of nowhere is probably my perfect storm. One like last Friday's is as far from perfect as possible, even if, meteorologically speaking, the conditions must have been pretty perfect for something so incredibly powerful to develop.