Day 4: A Stressful Day of Chasing

May 25, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

Yesterday, May 24th, was a "High Risk" day in Oklahoma.

To the people who live in the area, it's time to hunker down and prepare for the worst. For those of us who are fascinated with the violent beauty that mother nature can display, it's incredibly exhilarating and exciting. Because a high risk day offers the promise of violent tornados, more storm chasers than usual are out and about, clogging the roads and committing general ass-hattery.

In order to avoid the hordes, and because Dave felt it would give us the best shot of seeing a tornado, we headed north and west of Oklahoma City.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. Storms went up to our south and produced large, violent tornados in populated areas. Normally, we would have been able to get to them, but they very quickly morphed into a line of embedded high precipitation (HP) supercells so we couldn't find a good way to view any possible tornadic activity. Also, the storms were moving east at  50-60 mph and we were trying to stay out in front of it because we did NOT want to get rolled by a big fat tornado.

We began stair-stepping south and then east looking for a break in the storms so we could punch our way through the line and get west of the storms without getting hit by the core. Every single time we got far enough south, the storms had already caught up and we were no longer far enough east. It was incredibly frustrating and incredibly stressful. The driving was exhausting. I was pushing myself and the car as hard as I could, but it was fruitless and futile.

We finally were able to get to a break in the storms, but the storm to our south was moving so rapidly that while we were driving between the two supercells, we got hit by the rain core of the one to our south. The driving became hectic, stressful, and at one point, downright scary. Although Dave didn't tell us at the time, I knew that I was looking at atomized rain spinning around the car. The wind was shifting in all different directions and I was sure that we were driving underneath a rotating meso. Eventually we just stopped and let the storms pass over us.

We'd lost our shot to see a tornado, but we were safe.

We decided to head back down to Norman, OK and spend the night in a hotel. We were pretty bummed that we'd missed storms like this one, many chasers had the same issues we did.

 
On our way back to Norman we stopped at an intersection to figure stuff out. There was this abandoned building on the corner with the sun setting behind it. It was incredible so I decided to snap a few pictures. 
Only one was decent, but it made the whole day worthwhile. 
 
 

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