The map above gives a rough idea of the tracks of the
Oklahoma storms of 5/25/97. We haven't yet looked at any radar
loops to verify these tracks; these are just subjective evaluations
based on what we've gathered this evening and is for supplementary
Also see Sam Barricklow's 5/25/97 material including the Gainesville, TX storm here.
1856 CDT, 10NW Harper, KS, looking SW.
Jim Leonard and Casey Crosbie head south on SW 50th Avenue,
watching the first tornadic storm to fire along the dryline. The storm
exploded to their west and became tornadic in less than an hour.
The funnel shown here had been present for a couple of minutes and was
going through a lot of contortions.
Inside joke: Click
to hear a song on Jim's radio that ended up becoming background music
for video of this tornado (it will take a couple of minutes to load at
1920 CDT, 5N Anthony, KS, looking SE.
They decided to break off the previous storm and go south to
"tail end charlie", driving south on Hwy 14.
2035 CDT, 2SE Perth, KS, looking WNW.
Casey Crosbie was a quarter mile up the road deploying the "Dillo-Cam"
between W. 100th and W. 90th Street on Drury Rd (just off the right edge
of the road, half a mile away).
2036 CDT, 2SE Perth, KS, looking WNW.
2036 CDT, 2SE Perth, KS, looking WNW.
2036 CDT, 2SE Perth, KS, looking WNW.
2038 CDT, 3SE Perth, KS, looking WNW.
2038 CDT, 3SE Perth, KS, looking NNW.
We see Casey up the road fleeing southbound after deploying the "Dillo-Cam"
in front of the tornado. The tornado is past the left edge of the frame,
about to cross Drury Road and strike the "Dillo-Cam".
1552 CDT, 2NE of Blanchard, OK, looking SW.
Leaving Norman and heading down state highway 9, we approach the
northeastern edge of the Blanchard supercell. Visible down the
road is a band of inflow stratocumulus leading into the storm.
Overhead is the rain-filled anvil cloud.
1558 CDT, 5W of Blanchard, OK, looking WSW.
We pull over and are greeted by this scene of a large organized
updraft base and a large wall cloud several miles to the west.
1607 CDT, 5W of Blanchard, OK, looking W.
Rotating wall cloud, looking southwest. Tornado warning was just issued
for the storm. The rear flank downdraft can be identified by the bright
area at the far left and the small plume of dust; the forward flank
downdraft is the dark rain/hail area to the right. The updraft is in
the middle and extends overhead.
1610 CDT, 5W of Blanchard, OK, looking WSW.
Light rain turns to large hail as we watch the wall cloud become
well-organized. The hailstones were mostly marble-sized with a
few golf-ball sized stones beginning to come down. We didn't wait
around long enough to see baseball sized stones! So we headed
east on highway 9, was briefly in the core, and went south on
1619 CDT, 5S of Blanchard, OK, looking W.
Somewhat obscured by a rain-covered window, we get a wide view of
a tornado on the ground several miles to our west.
1620 CDT, 5S of Blanchard, OK, looking W.
Looking at the tornado, masked somewhat by curtains of rain circulating
left-to-right in the foreground.
1621 CDT, 9S of Blanchard, OK, looking W.
A minute later, looking at the same tornado beginning to rope
out. Curtains of rain continue to mask the tornado.
1621 CDT, 8S of Blanchard, OK, looking W.
A wide view of the tornado, showing the clear slot (rear flank
downdraft) working in from left to right. The clear slot contains
rain, so it's easy to visualize the "hook echo" wrapping around
the tornado. At the top of the photo is the main updraft base.
It can be seen that the tornado is separated from the main updraft
base -- this is what we call "occlusion" and is what led to the
1623 CDT, 9S of Blanchard, OK, looking W.
The rope stage continues; the tornado withers into a long slender
1637 CDT, 12S of Blanchard, OK.
Gene Rhoden discovers that the hail we had been in earlier had
damaged one of his 2-meter radio antennas. There was also a
fog light that was cracked by the hail.
1639 CDT, 12S of Blanchard, OK, looking NE.
While the old tornado ropes out, a new mesocyclone brews along the
leading edge of same storm. This wall cloud was located about
11 miles west of Purcell. Within 10 minutes after this photo it
spawned a new tornado (which we didn't track due to a poor road
network and the need to get to the Duncan storm). The tornado
touched down southwest of Purcell and created what appeared
to be F2 damage (shown further below).
1658 CDT, 2NW of Payne, OK, looking NW.
An unidentified chaser gets footage of the Blanchard storm as the
rear flank downdraft surges eastward.
1658 CDT, 2NW of Payne, OK, looking NNE.
The rear flank downdraft (the bright area in the foreground) sweeps
eastward, obscuring our view of the developing mesocyclone and
wall cloud. However it was in this area where the new tornado
1700 CDT, 2NW of Payne, OK, looking NNW.
The tornado action is over! Yes, it can only mean one thing --
chaser Roger Edwards (left) has gotten off shift at the Storm
Prediction Center and has jinxed our storm! Gene Rhoden takes a
minute to touch base with him.
1701 CDT, 2NW of Payne, OK, looking WNW.
Roger Edwards heads back to his infamous hail-battered 1986
Pontiac Parisienne, known to most chasers as simply "Meatwagon".
1716 CDT, Lindsay, OK.
Mechanical trouble! We stop at a gas station on the east side
of Lindsay to investigate blue smoke emanating from the bottom of
our vehicle. A couple of friendly locals stop to check out the
problem, including a cigarette-smoking guy (top) looking over the
vehicle with Gene Rhoden (bottom). We traced the problems to
a seal leak on the transmission. This leak definitely cost us
a view of the Duncan tornado.
1730 CDT, Lindsay, OK, looking WNW.
Our unscheduled stop in Lindsay occurred while we were moving
south to the Duncan storm. However we get a grandstand view of
a smaller storm in between -- one moving through Lindsay, shown
here. Under it, a menacing wall cloud looms over the town.
Rapid cloud motion was observed, but rotation
was rather weak and the updraft was quite small in comparision
to the other storm.
1734 CDT, Lindsay, OK, looking WNW.
Gene takes a moment to get video of the strong cloud motions
on the Lindsay storm.
1825 CDT, 15SW of Lindsay, OK, looking NW.
After a 20-minute delay, we were once more on the road towards
Duncan. This is a passing look at yet another storm -- the
Rush Springs one -- about 15 miles to the
northwest. A well-established wall cloud remained under the
base, but the storm had distinct LP characteristics and this
was the best look we got at it.
1934 CDT, 5W of Velma, OK.
More problems -- in an effort to avoid the Duncan core, we took
a 12-mile "shortcut" shown by the DeLorme GPS software which ran
from Bray to Harrisburg. Unfortunately, the last half was
unpaved, sending us down a rough dirt road and allowing the core
to catch up with us. Furthermore, the rough road blew the seal
again and we lost all our transmission fluid just as we got to
State Highway 7. Thank you DeLorme! Tim Vasquez
headed out with a local resident to Velma to pick
up a dozen bottles of fluid to get us on our way. Gene Rhoden
stays with the truck, monitoring what's happening around us.
2034 CDT, 2N of Elmore City, OK, looking N.
We're finally on our way, and we have no choice but to limp back
to Norman via Elmore City and Purcell. We stop as
a cheesy anvil spreads away to the northeast, leaving a somewhat
picturesque sunset scene. The ripples in the anvil represent
the beginnings of a unorganized mammatus formation.
2051 CDT, 2S of Maysville, OK, looking N.
Far, far off to the north we can see the tops of a distant storm
that we speculate is somewhere along the OK/KS border. We later
found that it was the most potent storm in the southern Plains
at the time.
2105 CDT, 4SW of Purcell, OK, looking NW.
A lonely sunset scene in the wake of the Purcell tornado, which
downed power lines and damaged several houses in a swath about
100 yards wide.
All photos (c) Copyright 1997 Tim Vasquez and Gene Rhoden.
Reproduction for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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