Tuesday 16 May 2017

Day 3 - TX panhandle to W OK

We left Dumas (TX) late morning and trundled southeastwards towards Wheeler (TX), stopping at Shamrock (TX) for lunch and a refuel. A lot of chaser convergence in the area, surprising number of Brits too! Had a chat with the Netweather team and Dave Ewoldt, before lifting a little north to Wheeler (TX) once again to re-assess.

By this stage, a few storms had began to fire out west, and were rapidly intensifying on just a couple of radar scans. We dropped south to McLean (TX), and parked up just south of town to watch this supercell eventually produce a tornado to our west! After a few minutes it began to get rain-wrapped, so we followed it north and caught it during it's roping out stage just southwest of McLean. There was also some sizeable hail on the grass verges here too.

Tornado beginning to form southwest of McLean (TX)

Tornado in progress southwest of McLean (TX), beginning to have wrapping rain curtains

Large hail on the ground just south of McLean (TX)

Now the tricky and frustrating part - there were two potentially tornadic supercells to chase, both to our east and moving to the northeast at 35-40mph (i.e. away from us) so we then spent several hours playing catch up, trying to get ahead and look into the storms. The northern storm produced a large, rain-wrapped tornado near Wheeler (TX), while the southern storm went to produce a damaging tornado (again, rain-wrapped) near Elk City (OK) - we missed both of these due to the logistical issues (not that they would have been photogenic anyway), but we stopped a couple of times to watch the frequent lightning as darkness fell in the evening, before spending the night in Lawton (OK).

Tornado warning (red polygon) for the supercell thunderstorm, with our location (blue circle)

Day 3 GPS tracker

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