Thursday, 28 May 2015

May 27th report - multiple tornadoes

Hello. We started the day in El Reno with the idea of heading north-west towards either Woodward, Oklahoma, or Canadian, Texas. We headed first to Wal*Mart to pick up a few bits and pieces. We then headed down the road a couple of miles to re-visit the location where the massive El Reno tornado of May 31st, 2013, passed - specifically we visited the place where we'd first parked up and waited for storm development, and where subsequently the tornado passed right over. We also visited the memorial for Tim and Paul Samaras and Carl Young, the three chasers who were tragically killed by this tornado. The emotions of that day came flooding back as we paused.

We then continued on our journey to the north-west and had lunch in Seiling, Oklahoma - this was a good spot as it had road options to the north-west (Woodward) and west (Canadian). The latter was the more obvious choice for us, given the model output and surface obs.

Storms started to bubble near Canadian so we headed west - one storm became dominant and quickly became severe. We approached the storm from the ENE and saw a wall cloud - a funnel cloud quickly formed but didn't last for long. We got to Canadian and headed to the south of town for a bit, watching the storm evolve. We headed back north and noted, after a while, strong flow from the rain core into the main updraught with several long 'fingers' of cloud rapidly being pulled in. Having seen this effect before not long before tornadogenesis we opted to drop a little south again into Canadian, to make sure we didn't get cut off by large hail. As we passed through town we suddenly saw a tornado developing back to our NW in the mirrors of our car. We found a spot to stop and watched a large tornado form and last several minutes. My Dad called on Facetime at that moment so he and the family got to watch the tornado live!

After a while the tornado started to rope out and then dissipated. We decided to head south but then noticed a chaser friend, Cat Stratton, across the road - she was with Cloud 9 tours and we saw Ian and Mark Rees and Stuart Wilson. Nathan Edwards turned up a little while later as did Will Owen - quite the convergence.

During this time the storm underwent several recycle phases and produced at least 3 more tornadoes. Circulation seemed to evolve to our NW and then roll southwards, tightening up and then producing fairly brief tornadoes before they then dissipated.

After a while longer the storm suddenly pushed a strong RFD outflow out to the east, and effectively ended any tornado risk. We decided to head to Amarillo for the night, stopping a couple of times to look at the lightning and sunset, but also getting plenty of interest from the vast numbers of mosquitoes.

We ate dinner with Nathan at Applebee's, and lightning is still flashing outside now. What a day.

The road where we stopped before the giant El Reno tornado formed - we re-visited - brought back some emotions.

Supercell near Canadian, TX.

Supercell near Canadian, TX, as it started to wrap up. We headed back south soon after this.

Fairly large tornado to the NNW of Canadian viewed from the south side of the town.


Tornado roping out.

Brief, fairly weak tornado some time later.

Wind turbine and anvil SW of Pampa, TX.

Lightning to the south, taken near Panhandle, TX.

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