MAY 26, 1997

TULSA, OK CHASE
Carson Eads, Ellen Meyer, and Tim Marshall also Pangolin Pictures and Bill Lende

WICHITA, KS-After a somewhat successful day yesterday, we have another chance today for tornadic storms. The stationary front has dropped southward overnight and is situation across northern Oklahoma. The surface low has moved from Hays, Kansas yesterday to Enid, Oklahoma today. The dry line is oriented northeast-southwest from Enid. A vort max is progged to come across this area this afternoon around 00z, so I expect quite a show around 6 pm. This ought to be a volatile day since there are high CAPES with 70+ degree dewpoints. The atmosphere is ideal for explosive development, thus, we will need to be in place when this occurs. We are low overcast this morning in Wichita with cool northeast winds. Some breaks in the overcast are south. Patchy ACCAS noted above in breaks in the low clouds. Target: Tulsa.

12:49 363 WICHITA - I-35 S.

1:48 412 Stopped to check out last nights tornado path.

2:06 Found tornado path 6 miles north of Rt. 166. Barn/house destroyed.

2:32 433 Back on I-35 S after a short jaunt west to see the damage.

2:45 449 Winds are east.

2:54 461 Stopped at Rt. 60 service station. Watched the Weather Channel at 3pm. Plotted surface weather. We are in the right area -right near the surface low.

3:54 461 Decided to move south on I-35. It's hot and humid.

4:07 474 Stopped at the Billings, OK Dairy Queen. Ate dinner. Light S winds. Scattered strato-cu. Not much is happening. David Hoadley stopped by. He likes further west. We are staying put. 5:30pm Weather Channel radar - all clear.

5:43 474 Wind shifted to the west. Within the last 15 minutes, cloud have gone from small Cu to larger Cu.

5:46 474 Towering cumulus ALQDS. The chase is on! 6-o'clock magic is here.

5:51 479 Rt. 77N. (TORNADO WATCH issued - for northeast OK and southeast KS)

PONCA CITY- On Rt. 60 E. Cb NE and SE. Things went up in a hurry.

6:05 494 Anvils NE and SE - Where did they come from?? Once again, I think TWC radar's are old!! Explosive development indeed. We are out of position.

6:06 496 1 pict NW. Should have been in Tulsa right now.

6:12 501 Supercell NE with chunky anvil. That storm is right on the front.

6:13 1 pict NE on Ricoh and 1 picture on 20mm NE.

6:15 Dome on Cb NE. Winds here are calm.

6:18 1 pict SE of developing Cb. This storm went up later than the one to the north.

6:26 1 pict SE on Ricoh, 1 pict SE at 20mm.

6:31 1 pict SE with 20mm. 1 pict SE with tree on left side. 2 picts SE with 20mm (Storm is moving northeast at 20) So, we figure it will cross in front of us before we get to Tulsa. Using CANON camera now. - 1 picture taken 1000/16th.

6:48 544 PAWHUSKA- Rt. 99S.

6:49 544 Last picture on roll taken SW. Precip core is due S. Cg's.

6:50 Vertical shot SW on Ricoh.

6:50 Another picture SW.

6:50 Rt. 11 E.

7:08 563 BARNSDALL- Broke through core. Rain free base to our SW. Stopped north of town in cemetery -on a hill. Nice structure to Cb SW. Large base, crisp vertical updraft, chunky anvil -all the right ingredients.

7:19 563 1 pict. SW of tremendous Cb structure.

7:21 563 Leaving cemetery. Going to get closer to Cb W. Rt. 11 W.

7:34 Nice wall cloud forming -possible funnel. South on Rt. 99. Stopped - Tornado distant SW. The tornado is about 20 miles distant down in the Arkansas River valley. It's too hazy to photograph or take video.

7:37 Tornado has lifted but funnel continues -still about 20 miles away.

7:40 WYNONA-Rt. 99 S still.

7:45 Stopped south of town in open field. 1-20mm shot SW of small rotating updraft. Storm has beaver tail extending E. 1 wide angle overhead and 1 pict. W. We have light surface winds. Hmmm.

7:53 586 We have two storms: 1 west and 1 further west. Both updrafts are shrinking. (TORNADO WARNING - A confirmed tornado was reported at Prescott.)

7:58 593 HOMINY - Cb Distant NW looks good too. Went up to hill north to see.

8:05 597 HOMINY-(TORNADO WARNING - Confirmed tornadoes at Boynton/Muskgogee). Pit stop. Running out of daylight. Said good-bye to Bill.

8:22 614 CLEVELAND -

9:09 653 I-44 SW.

10:01 721 OKLAHOMA CITY- Tail-end charlie has huge hook at 10:21p. Dropped off Pangolin crew in Norman.

11:55 837 ARDMORE - Mega supercell SW. Continuous lightning. Great backshear.

12:09 855 MARIETTA- Stopped to take lightning photos west of interstate.

2:03 934 FLOWER MOUND - 13.2 hours, 571 miles.

Summary: We sat in Billings too long and did not see -nor hear of the Cb's east of us until it was too late. We relied too much on the TWC radar which had to be showing old data. We should have gone straight to Tulsa. Missed tornadoes at Prescott, Beggs, and Manford. Never chase north and east of Tulsa again.