May 10 2010 Storm Chase Central Oklahoma

May 10, 2010

Storm Chase

Central Oklahoma

Editor: Putnam E. Reiter

Forecast/Setup –

Risk Area: High Risk
Initial Target Area: El Reno, Oklahoma

SPC Products: SWODY1 20:00z – Local Storm Reports


Hook-Echo Discussions

Event was well forecasted from several days out. SPC Noted in the Day 5 product potential for significant tornadoes. Norman put enhanced wording in the Hazard Weather Outlook. Models diverged on Friday, but the general trend remained. Big questions revolved around the warm front location, overnight/morning convection, and afternoon temperatures.

1. Models way overdid QPF across the warm sector. As such, the warm front surged north of Oklahoma during the day.

2. Models also underdid dewpoint temperatures, the NAM finally catching on Sunday evening.

3. GFS did a good job with the dryline as the quicker movement verified.

4. Models did a bad job with QPF for afternoon convection. This is where SPC Mesoanalysis page is a better tool.

The Chase –

Team 1 – David Underwood, Rob Ferguson, Brett LaBare, and Putnam Reiter
Team 2- Allen Wright, Brandon
Miles Driven – 250 – Gas spent $40.00
Departure Time – 2:30 CDT
Return Time – 21:00 CDT

We left Oklahoma City promptly at 2:30pm and headed west on I-40. We got to El Reno and took a brief detour trying to find the Walmart. Given that we had two GPS units, two iPhones, and two Blackberrys, it is disturbing we didn’t find said Walmart. Anyway, we ended up on the west side of El Reno, so we kept going to the Hinton exit. We got there and watched the sky for a little bit while everyone visited the store. Seeing and hearing about development on the dryline just south of us, we screamed back east on I-40. Reaching HWY 81, we turned south. My thought was initially to take us to Minco and hold there, but then decided to go on south and get just east of the southern storm.

Reaching Pocasset, we watched both storms as they continued to develop and race eastward. We knew that storm motion would be 50-55mph to the east, so we tried to stay with these storms. We went east on a dirt road to reach HWY 92 towards Tuttle. As we sat on the dirt road the storm started to reach us and we got a well-defined wall cloud. We went on east to HWY 92 and then north to Tuttle. The general thought was the storms were moving northeast, but actually more east-northeast. This wasn’t a huge issue as the storm should still go north of Tuttle. Getting into Tuttle, we went east on HWY 37. As we got just east of Tuttle, we saw a tornado to our north and reported it. This tornado was also reported by other spotters/chasers and KWTV helicopter. Sitting at a stoplight we started getting nickel hail, which seemed kind of weird. Then, the RADAR updated and we were under a 65dbz area. Seeing this being somewhat dangerous and with rotation above, we screamed south a few miles and then turned back east. We got to HWY 62 just north of Newcastle and watched the storms scream past us. We did get some video here and may have a tornado, but no way to know given all the trees.

We drove north on I-44 to HWY 37, watching the storms as the took-off to the east and hearing the multiple tornado reports from around the area. We thought about going after the Norman storm, but there was just no way with an eastward motion of at least 50mph. We turned south from HWY 37 on Penn and then over to Indian Hills. Reaching Western and Indian Hills we saw a guy blocking the road and lots of cars on the side of the road. We drove north between Indian Hills and 164th where we saw some tree damage, blocking the road. We turned around and went back to Indian Hills and then east to I-35, seeing sporadic tree damage on the way. Reaching I-35, we went north, seeing a little sign damage and a few other things. Our thought here was to look for damage given that there was no way we’d reach the storms.

We reached I-240 and went east looking for more damage. At Anderson Road I-240 was closed as there had been damage at Choctaw Road and I-40. We exited and drove north on Anderson to 23rd street and went east. We navigated around the damage as best we could, seeing a few areas. Finally, we got east of the damage path and reached Shawnee. There wasn’t much damage here, so we started back west and went through the damage again. This time we ended up on I-40 west and drove by Choctaw Road. We got pictures of the Love’s Store and the south side before heading on west. We drove on back to our meeting point and headed home.

Lessons Learned –

– All storms should be considered dangerous on a day like this. We ignored a few storms since they looked weak on RADAR.
– We did good by heading south out of Tuttle, but certainly gotta watch storm development.
– I thought we might should have stayed at I-35 like Andy suggested, but that could have easily gotten us in more trouble.
– In hindsight, I think we should have headed to HWY 9 and blasted east. At least we could have gone 60mph and not dealt with stop lights.

Multimedia –


Encounters –

Engaged Storm: Pocasset
Tornado: No – saw one with the Yukon storm
Funnel: Yes
Hail (larger than 1.00 inche): No – but got nickel in Tuttle
Wall Cloud: Yes
Wind (above 57.4 mph): No

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