Day 1: Not a bad first day

May 22, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

We arrived in Norman, Oklahoma at Roger and Elke's late Friday night after picking Ellie up at the airport. At that point we assumed we would have to travel a few hours on Saturday to find supercells, but no one was hopeful that we'd see anything.

On Saturday morning we woke up to have breakfast with my friend Amanda, who lives in Oklahoma City. After an awesome breakfast we headed back to the house and found out that Dave and Roger had done some forecasting and determined that our best shot for storms would be north central Texas. Our target city was Gainesville, just over the border of Texas from Oklahoma.

Storms were popping up south of us, Near Waco, but we knew that there was no way we could make it that far south so we decided to sit tight and wait. As we watched tornado reports and warnings show up for those storms we started getting a little disappointed, but remained hopeful.

At about 4:30pm clouds started forming to our northeast, so we decided to head back in that direction. As we made our way to the brewing thunderstorm Ellie and Ella began to get excited about what the evening hours held in store for us. We watched the clouds get bigger and taller. As we approached the storm it became a supercell.
 



We then watched as one brief tornado touched down after another. They were mostly wispy little things that only stayed on the ground for a moment.
 

 
 
 
 
And then we hit the jackpot. The entire storm was spinning like a top. The mesocyclone was spinning so fast it was like a merry-go-round. And then, there was a multiple vortex tornado on the ground. The vortices were dancing around each other. It was other-worldly. 
 
 
 
All in all, it was a spectacular first chase day. Roger had his first ever birthday tornado. Ellie and Ella saw their first ever tornadoes. We had reasonable road options. And we got to see the storm from it's birth as towering clouds all the way to the end of the cell as it was ingested into the storm to its north. 
 
Truly a great first day out on the plains. 
 

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