Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Chase Accounts

Tim Marshall & Carson Eads Carson Eads and Tim Marshall teamed up for the first time this year and intercepted a tornadic HP supercell northwest of Enid, Oklahoma yesterday. Our initial target was Oklahoma City. We arrived there around 3:30pm and heard that the moderate risk was dropped to a slight risk for the area.
          We were disappointed in the comment made on the NOAA Weather Radio that the "strong cap was NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE to break" due to analysis of the 18z soundings. I never heard such a comment before. We decided to head west on I-40 and break out of the cirrus overcast. At 5:15pm, a line of towering cumulus was noted to the northwest of our location. The towers quickly exploded into Cb's by 5:45pm while Mr. Roboto was still saying storms were "nearly impossible". We figured SPC would see this on satellite and sure enough a tornado watch was issued at 6pm. The "nearly impossible" comment was replaced with a severe thunderstorm warning at 6:05pm. The linear cloud base became rounded at the southern end of the line(which I've never seen before). We arrived in Enid and saw an incredible storm to our west with crisp, vertically oriented main tower rising up into a solid anvil. Around 6:45pm, a tornado warning based off Doppler Radar was issued for the storm as we positioned ourselves five miles due east of Carrier, OK. A funnel cloud appeared ahead of the rain area at 6:50pm and a cone tornado formed at 6:52pm just west of town. The tornado wrapped in rain three minutes later so we were unable to get a time of it lifting, however, we believe it probably continued until at least 7pm when it struck the town. Total time from tower to tornado was 97 minutes! (Note: An earlier version of this summary incorrectly said 67 minutes)
          We could only confirm one tornado from this event. There were numerous reports of tornadoes after that time, however, we could not confirm any of those and they appeared to us as ragged clouds at the leading edge of the outflow boundary. The tornado report by storm spotter at Vance AFB appeared to be a gustnado along the leading edge of the boundary. We talked to the spotter who called in the report and he said he was in rain and hail when a dust whirl appeared to his southeast with no identifiable funnel.

Robert Satkus -- Chased with Bobby Payne today and our target area was Enid. I new the cap was very strong, but I had a gut feeling ( not from anything I ate! ) things would happen today . We went north from El Reno hanging out in the Enid area for a few hours . There was an area of cu to our north that would occasionally exhibit some vertical development, but nothing to exciting. We decided to head a little further north, stopping between Nash and Pond Creek. Several small, highly sheared towers developed to our north and overhead. They persisted and slowly increased. We headed to Pond Creek as the towers gre into a large multicellular cluster. There were a few towers further sw, but they seemed to be having problems with the cap. We headed east towards I-35 to intercept the intial storms as they headed into Ks, but the northern cells quickly weakend. We could now see an anvil spreading rapidly towards us from the sw. It was razor sharp with overturning convection/anvil knuckles. We worked our way towards Hillsdale then south to Carrier. The storm structure seemed odd, with a linear base, but it didn't seem to be outflow dominant. We stopped in Carrier then decided to drop south a few miles, thinking there may be new development along the flank, as this linear base had us a little confused. Bobby and I stopped to shoot some video of the photogenic storm, when rotation rapidly developed to out nw. I Was amazed at how quickly it formed. It was very strong. Our inflow winds increased to near 40mph. We could see a funnel and rapidly rotating rain curtains at the surface I figured this was probably a tornado at this time. A chaser friend of mine, Val Castor, has amazing video of the spinup blowing the roof off a structure at a farm sight from less than a mile away. As the funnel began to look better, Bobby and I went north towards Carrier. The funnel gradually worked its way down wih a cone shaped appearance. A debris cloud was visible. We were about 1 mile ese of it with good contrast, when the storm unleashed all kinds of rain and hail between us and the tornado. I couldn't believe how rapidly this process occured. We let the core pass to our north, then headed north, stopped at town by debris across the road. We stopped to shoot video with storng winds and 2.00" hail beating down on us. We tried to follow the storm east, but roadblocks cost us time as the authorities tried to keep people from driving into the rain wrapped tornado.... a good idea but the tornado had long since passed these areas. We received word of a new storm rapidly forming to our sw near Okeene. We gladly headd that way and by the time we got to Waukomis, a tornado warning had been issued. We saw a large wall cloud near Drummond, turned back towards Enid as the storm passed over town with 1.75" hail and 83mph winds just north of Enid. A tornado was reported west of Vance AFB, but it didn't make sense with what was going on. We followed the storm east for awhile, but chasing an HP after dark is too risk so we called it a night. The Carrier tornado was rated F2 with a 7 mile long path.

Tim Vasquez & Gene Rhoden -- Gene Rhoden and I had a busy week so far. Wednesday we arrived only in time to see the occlusion of the Carrier storm (no funnel); we got good storm structure & flanking line video from the SSE up to the time of the tornado. Eastward from Enid at close range we saw a series of mesos and wraps (and one funnel cloud) eastward from Enid, ending with a nighttime HP that crossed I-35 and blew over two semis at the 207 mile marker (all we saw was the RFD surging across the highway). Lightning had subsided dramatically by that time, and we called it quits at 9:45.

Roger Hill -- I left the Denver area at 5 AM to head for my target which was the Alva, OK area. The dryline was expected to stretch from near Alva south to Clinton. When I arrived in the Alva area at 3 PM there were no cu to be seen, only cirrus (I also heard Mr Roboto's comment of NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO BREAK THE CAP). We decided to get into the warm, moist sector and headed east and arrived in Pond Creek around 4:45, just in time to see a line of tcu building up nearly overhead. Temp and Td were 78/69, with a southeast wind at g23. As this line blossomed into two cb, they moved northeast towards the Kansas state line. Based on the first two cells and their appearance, I though it could get interesting soon. Off to my southwest I saw another cell going up (southwest of Enid). NWS Norman issued SVR for this cell about 6 PM.
          We decided to head south from Pond Creek and get through the anvil. As we did , we were pelted with heavy rain, pea sized hail and a VERY CLOSE CG that hit a telephone pole about 200 yards away (it lit up like a Christmas tree). The road turned west near the town of Kremlin where we cleared the anvil to see a very nice updraft directly to our west/southwest. This updraft had some striations and exhibited HP features. We decided to proceed to US 81 and wait as we were now about 8 miles east of the updraft east of the notch. As we arrived at US81, NWS Norman issued TOR for the cell (not surprised). In the distance, west of Enid, we could see a cone shaped funnel as it neared the ground. It soon became rain wrapped and we lost sight of it. Time was 6:50 and our location was US81 near highway 45, just north of Enid.
          Reports came in of a tornado on the ground in Carrier, moving east. Most other cells in the line were moving northeast and appeared linear. As the tornadic HP neared our location, we moved 2 miles south to watch this very impressive cell. There were a lot of ragged clouds on the south/southeast side of the cell, but definitely not tornadoes, as the public reported.
          After the system crossed US81, we drove north to see if we could see any damage. Many tree limbs were down, and we discovered 2" hail littering to countryside.
          At this point we decided to head south towards Vance AFB to let a new cell go by so we could begin the journey home. As we approached the exit for Vance, a TOR was issued for this cell. A spotter reported a tornado two miles west of Vance as we approached the exit to Vance AFB. HHHMMMM!!!!
          Looking west, we could not see anything as the gust front hit us hard. I clocked a wind gust with the gust front at 63 MPH and hail to 1". We continued to head south and let the storm pass. As we came back into town near 8:30 PM, there was considerable street flooding. We headed west on US412 and made it back to snowy Denver at 5 AM. Three chases this month and all three times I came back to Denver in a snowstorm. Go figure????
          Man am I beat :)
          Thanks to Elke Noll for updating me through the event!!!!!

Shane Adams-- Jeff Johncox and I got a very late start this day, because I got stuck at work unusually late. We missed the Carrier tornado that occured approximately around 6:45-7 pm, but we intercepted another tornadic storm just east of Enid, Okla. at around 8:20 pm.
          A tornado warning was issued for the storm as we sped north on Ok 74, and as we neared Covington, Okla. from the south, we could see a massive wallcloud about 8-10 miles northwest of us when lightning would strike the right places. We weren't sure if there was any circulation on the ground at the time, simply because the lightning provided only split-second glimpses of the wall cloud. But, after we returned home that night we watched the video frame by frame, which revealed a well-develpoed tornado on the ground about 8 miles west-northwest of Covington, Okla.. The time was approximately 8:30 pm.
          It was another good chase for the 99 season, which has produced 3 tornadoes in 8 chases so far this year......much better than the nightmare year of 1998.

Other accounts

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