Anytime, any place there is a storm to chase, that is where you'll find the Hunters of Thunder.

El Reno's Monster, Oklahoma, 5/31/2013 - John

Many of you have probably read my blog post concerning the tragic events that befell the members of TWISTEX, and my thoughts about the environment and the chasing approach that we should take (if not see here: In Our Memories - Passing of time, Paul and Carl). I would like to share with you now the exact events of our chasing experience, and how the tornado event unfolded from our viewpoint (Click on any photo to see a larger version of the shot, especially panoramics).

We began the day in south Oklahoma city (OKC) - in a hotel we would rather forget. The morning was overcast with stratocumulus that was beginning to break under heating by the late morning. A quick look at the forecast for the boundary/trailing front and dryline intersection suggested that the optimal location for the backing of the winds to the southeast and reasonably long hodographs would be somewhere between El Reno and Chickasha, while strong thermodynamics and moderate shear would yield a quite a potent environment. Dynamic models suggested a scenario with several large supercells forming west of OKC in the late afternoon when the environment was primed; what appeared a classic scenario for a regional tornado outbreak. The SPC chose to go with a 15% hatched tornado probability for the area, and a moderate risk, unsure of how widespread the event might be. My choice of an initial target was El Reno - my preferred spot for central Oklahoma dry-lines, with good options north, south and west. I've been burnt before by not waiting for the late initiation in this area, particularly southwest of OKC, and felt this was a good opportunity to turn that around.

As things evolved, the environment became progressively more unstable - with surface observations pushing temperatures of 90F and moisture as high as 77F. The dryline (a moisture gradient) began to surge eastward in response to diurnal heating and the surface cyclone further north, with temperatures exceeding 103F and dew-point temperatures below 40F to the west of the dryline. The environment remained highly capped all afternoon, with towers bubbling against the warm layer of the inversion over the warm sector. A particularly dangerous situation tornado watch (issued to reflect high probabilities of significant tornadoes and thus greater risk to population) was issued at approximately 21:00Z (4pm local), with a 90% probability of two or more tornadoes in the watch area, and a 70% probability of 1 or more significant tornadoes. The risk was also mentioned for hail to 4 inches (though a quick look at the forecast 5000 J/kg CAPE was ringing alarm bells anyway) - so it looked like the core of any storm was going to be a seriously risky prospect.

We met up with Brad, Marko and Valentina at a certain petrol station in El Reno (which seems to be the center of the world), and Rose suggested it would be far nicer to wait out at the lake on the west of town - how right she was. At the lake we ran into Skip Talbot, Nick Nolte, Tony Laubach, Jennifer Brindley and a few others, and enjoyed watching the locals splashing about as the convection bubbled in the oppressive heat. Sure enough, a couple of weak towers made it through shortly after 21Z (4pm), and began to develop into a line of strong storms to our west. Initially, I was concerned by the relative proximity of the three cells, but surprisingly they seemed to suffer little ill effect, probably because of the adequate shear in the 0-3 kilometer layer. We hit the road on our own at around 4:50pm, and decided to drop south out of El Reno and west towards the southernmost storm which was beginning to mature. Yet another cell initiated on its southern flank, but again, the shear and strength of the main cell dominated and simply absorbed it - it looked like we had our storm. We approached into a nice position to the east, and ran into a few Australians on a hill shooting the incredible lightning bolts coming from the cells anvil. At 5:30 (see below) we positioned just north of an east road to watch the cell mature and try to shoot some of the incredible CGs - unfortunately, handheld daytime shots only yielded partial frames, but the GoPro really enjoyed the view (video to come)!

'Winding Up' - The supercell west of El Reno begins to take shape, with the development of structure while producing large positive lightning strikes. El Reno, OK, 31/5/2013

The cell began to get serious about inflow and I decided to move us back further east to avoid any issues while it wasn't looking the best. The next view we got in a driveway began to show the storms structure properly as the inflow howled - I could barely stand, and holding the camera steady was incredibly difficult.

'Rapid Development' - The supercell takes a classical, though slightly high precipitation morphology, with an impressive barrelled structure and inflow that made it hard to stand. Near  El Reno, OK, 5/31/2013.

The structure of the storm at this stage was also a sight to behold and probably the highlight, as it began to really spin up to drop a tornado:

Oklahoma Scissor-tail- Like the state bird of Oklahoma, scissor-tailed inflow stretches into the strengthening mesocyclone as a tornado begins to develop. Near El Reno, OK, 5/31/2013.

'Sculpted Above and Below' - The tornado begins to develop, with an inflow tail visible under the incredibly sculpted barrel mesocyclone. Near El Reno, OK, 5/31/2013.
'Fields of Gold' - The clouds contort as the supercell focuses its energy to the central circulation, as vortices begin to periodically extend from the ground to cloud. El Reno, OK, 5/31/2013
By 6:03 we were in position on a north-south road (see map below) as the tornado touched down from the awesomely structured mesocyclone - Rose's first real tornado, which made things a bit exciting. I can't say I was having the best day and found myself somewhat disorganised as the tornado oscillated between different strong subvortices.

GPS log file for our chase, plotted by the red path, while overlaid in light blue is the damage path of the El Reno EF-5 tornado. Note that times correspond to GPS position and thus should be relatively exact. Our closest approach to the tornado was likely when were about to cross US81 where I estimate it was within 1 mile of our position directly to the west.

Even though I was disorganized, the photos really captured the moment of the storms peak organisation:

'Multivortex Majesty' - The tornado touches down with multiple vortex tendrils extending from the supercells base and a strong inflow tail.
'Layered Twins' - The spectrum of colour stretches from bottom to top with twin vortices, from the verdant fields and into the clouds. El Reno, OK, 5/31/2013
'Below the Mesocyclone' - The stovepipe tornado stretches down below the structure of the supercell mesocyclone  and tornado cyclone southwest of El Reno, OK. Note the incredible tail cloud at the bottom right. This would go on to become the EF-5 2.6 mile wide monster. 5/31/2013
'The Beast Retreats' - The tornado darkens and grows in size, though little would suggest that soon this monster would stretch to over two miles. El Reno, OK, 5/31/2013.
'Under the Meso' - As the mesocyclone approaches, the dark tornado and rapid rotation stretch to our west. The time to run from the storm is at hand. El Reno, OK, 5/31/2013
The wind again began to howl over us, and seeing that the tornado was approaching rather quickly, I elected to race us east to avoid the hordes of chasers getting out of the way. When we crossed Route 81 behind Skip and Nolte at 6:16, images I have seen shown the tornado perhaps a mile to our west, more than close enough for my mind! We shot further east, and pulled up at the point labelled 6:26, when the structure of the storm was exposed beautifully with the now giant wedge tornado (2.6 miles diameter of radar derived EF-1 winds) buried underneath - incredible and yet frightening given the position of certain chasers on spotter network.

'Benath the Beast' - A large EF-5 Wedge tornado near El Reno, Oklahoma. The tornado had the distinction of being the widest recorded, with EF1 winds to a diameter of 2.6 miles. Sadly, the storm took 4 storm chasers lives. Southeast of El Reno, 5/31/2013.
'The El Reno Wedge' - A large EF-5 wedge tornado under an enormous HP/Classic supercell observed from southeast of El Reno/Union City, 5/31/2013.
Given that a new mesocyclone appeared to be forming on radar to our northwest, and was moving southeast toward us, my concern was that we could be in the path of a second tornado. This concern was deepened by hearing tornado warnings issued for our position, but poor visibility and the more urbanized environment meant that the situation was becoming unsafe, so we decided to get out of the line of fire. To do so, we continued to drop south and east to avoid the old RFD (rear flank downdraft) surge and the new mesocyclone.  However, as we approached the outskirts of the metro we were slowed by traffic, leading to a relatively close call (see the map below) to the south/southwest of the second tornado that went on to impact the airport and southern OKC. A poor decision that went against the wishes of my navigator (who wanted to take Route 4 as the river crossing instead of Interstate 44) probably exposed us to more of the panicked exodus from OKC than we desired, but still, we made our escape without a scratch and stayed the night in Chickasha, OK. The full path of our chase relative to the two tornadoes can be seen below.

Full chase log for the 31st of May west of Oklahoma City. Chase began at 4:50pm and continued through 8pm. The two light blue areas correspond to the (left) El Reno EF-5 which occurred between 6:03 and 6:43, and the (right) Airport/South OKC EF-1 that began at 6:51 and continued through 7:23pm. Note the closest approach to the second tornado path was at 6:50, and the tornado quickly became rain-wrapped, which is when the decision was made to turn south.

Looking back on the day, there are a few things I would have perhaps done slightly differently. The first relates to being prepared with the video camera gear - or at least remembering that the D800 has a video setting. I had a great opportunity to record the tornado and at the same time shoot photos - but instead wasted time stuffing around with a video tripod mount. Not my proudest moment right there, and reflects being out of practice and adjusting to a new chase partner (Brad and I had this down pat). The second relates to wishing that I had set up a rearward facing GoPro mount, as the results would have been stunning running away from the storm. The third relates to the poor decision I made in over-ruling my navigator - she was damn right and would have got us out of there no problem, and probably kept us further from the 2nd tornado (there were other small tornadoes but only talking longer ones here). I think its unfortunate the storm occurred where it did - as I had planned several ways to skirt the OKC metro to the south, but hadn't considered a track like the storm produced (I thought things might set up further SW of the city and move NE initally and then E). In future I think I will be steering well clear of the Oklahoma City metro area on big days, and city areas in general - especially if mass panic evacuations induced by the media are going to become a recurrent feature.

'A Glimpse Below' - The dark wedge tornado is spread beneath the enormous mesocyclone, at this stage, likely at its widest. Difficult to really comprehend the size or intensity of the storm. Shot taken SE of El Reno, 5/31/2013.
The media induced mass panic (a broadcaster suggesting people should flee if they could not get below ground) was accentuated by the recent exposure to a high impact event (Moore EF-5). This basically left people in a state of terror that they too might be affected by a similar tornado - and when disorder reigns, most people struggle to cope. At the gas station near Chickasha people actually looked completely lost and unsure of what to do, in some cases this appeared to constitute genuine shock. Had the large tornado continued on its path or the second been larger or stronger, I think it would be right to assume that the death toll would have exceeded the worst tornado disasters in history due to the number of people exposed on the grid-locked roads, and rivaled some of the worst hurricanes. The sensationalist tendency of the media to over-emphasize the threat, even after the original tornado had lifted is something that really needs to be looked at - as with people in the state that they were, in some cases they actually ended up in greater danger. One could only imagine the repercussions if drivers fleeing on media advice were caught by a tornado. I think that additionally the evacuation management procedure if people do want to flee needs to be looked at - a good example is the policy and plan in place for bushfire events in Australia, which reduces the occurrence of such chaos. By the same token - part of the shock that people were exposed to was the uncertainty that their homes, families or loved ones were still there, and the lack of impact was poorly communicated by the media who focused on the negative aspects.

One thing that concerns me greatly is the growing number of locals and amateur chasers that have absolutely no idea what they are doing close to the storm and are recording it on whatever device that happens to be close at hand. As the impacts of this storm revealed, even experienced chasers can be caught unaware by a sudden change in storm behavior, and putting yourself in danger for something to talk about at the bar is probably not the smartest decision. If you are truly interested in chasing or severe thunderstorms - educate yourself. Try talking to someone who you have seen that chases regularly and asking them for places to look. Try joining and learning from the extensive archive of knowledge that can be found there. And if you still can't find the information or where to look, please contact me - I would be happy to help point you in the right direction. As you can read in my previous post, alot of things were happening in the environmental characteristics that lead to it producing this tornado - and at least at a basic level this information can give us ideas about how we chase any storms that form. To find the way to best stay safe - do not put yourself in the tornado's path unless you are very aware of the potential consequences and behavior of the storm - and even then, think about what the storm might do in a worst case scenario and decide if you would still like to find yourself in that position. Forward thinking is essential to chasing storms - always plan your escape and re-plan it as the situation evolves; then, when the unexpected occurs, at least you have a way out to somewhere safe. Just don't leave it too late.

'Golden Wrapping' - Over gold wheat, the mesocyclone and the large tornado begin to rapidly wrap in rain, shifting northeastward before occluding. SE of El Reno, OK, 5/31/2013.
All photos are available for licensing or purchase, please contact John Allen by the menu above for pricing and details.

In Our Memories - the passing of Tim, Paul and Carl, and the Implications for Chasing from 5/31/2013

A large number of people have posted about the passing of Tim, Paul and Carl, and I think this reflects on just how well they were respected across the chaser and scientific communities. When the rumors started to spread I hoped it wasn't true - how could it of happened that they were caught in the line of fire.  I was in the field chasing on the day, and the fear that chasers would be caught was something that sat heavily on me. Once it was confirmed, the sinking feeling in my heart could not be described...I wanted to make a post about it and yet wasn't ready nor able.

Now that a few days have passed, and I have had time to collect my thoughts, I wanted to explain my feelings about this day and thoughts about its implications (My chase log will appear separately).

So here goes:

I first met Tim at a derelict gas station in Nebraska, and was struck by how easy going, approachable and honest he was. We had a very interesting chat about the storm that had failed to produce a tornado on the day, and talked shop about storm environments - like so many of us do when we are out on the plains. But Tim was different - when someone asked him a question they were never made to feel below him, in fact they left the conversation with a sense of awe and excitement. That is a rare gift to have, and it was far from his only talent - his wizardry for gadgetry and the design of probes for in situ tornado measurements was simply astounding. This would not be the last time I spoke to him either, from having a chat at a Denny's eating breakfast at 1am after a successful chase, and other times that were as simple as a wave or a polite hello.  The last time I saw Tim was on the dry-line last May watching 2012 produce yet another disappointment (which was later followed by the fail-recho). Tim was one of those who gave a good name to chasing - a gentleman chaser if ever there was. The way he modestly handled the public spotlight, and gave his all to promoting the science while maintaining the safety of his team had a deep impact on me and how I thought about chasing. One only need to watch an episode of storm chasers or a National Geographic special to see that he always put safety first, was level headed and a master of his craft. So why have I told you all this? I don't claim to be a close friend, or someone who knew Tim well. However, I considered Tim a role model, one of those that I could aspire to be like in the way that he never sought the spotlight, never put those he chased with in danger, and someone that could tie the experience of chasing back into the scientific and public domains. His ability to communicate to people at any level of knowledge is something that I think so many of us can learn from - talking to children in schools, the general public in libraries - the next generation of researchers, chasers and the future of public safety depends on this pursuit. I can honestly say that the world of research storm chasing has lost a champion who will be sorely missed.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Paul, but from every account he was a lovely person with a funny side, and from every photo that I have seen I think its safe to say an incredibly talented photographer. My thoughts and heartfelt sorrow go out to the Samaras family - to lose one is a terrible heartache, to lose two generations simultaneously is a sorrow that I can not even bear to imagine.

I only ever met Carl the once (well at least chatting to him directly), on April 8th this year at breakfast at a hotel in Great Bend. It was an interesting discussion on the day before, but I certainly would not say I had enough time to get to know him. Again, his reputation in many circles speaks volumes about the man, and he too will be sorely missed by chasers and scientists alike.

Now I would like to change tack, and look at the implications for chasing.
(Note for those who want to skip a lengthy discussion of the environmental parameters skip to the the next bold underlined text).
(Note 2: This is an expression of my interpretation, and others who are more familiar with significant or violent tornado environments may come to different conclusions.)

So what happened on Friday - how is it possible that four storm chasers were killed, after no deaths for what has been 40 to 50 years of people being out there? This troubles me, as Tim was so mindful of his surroundings and remarkably cool under the pressure of approaching tornadoes having been in the situation so often before. The environmental parameters that we saw last Friday were simply frightening and remarkable; The OUN (Norman, Oklahoma) sounding for 00Z shows Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) likely above 4000 J/kg before storm modification, storm relative helicity (SRH) in the lowest atmospheric layer (0-1km) in the 300 J/kg range, lifted condensation levels (LCLs) that were below 750m prior to storm formation. In this environment the threat for the rapid development of a tornado is incredibly high, and given the low cloud bases large tornadoes become more likely.

And yet this likely doesn't just encapsulate how volatile the environment was - so why is this the case? Well, surface temperatures that I observed at the lake in west El Reno prior to initiation were closer to 90F, while surface dewpoints in the Chickasha area prior to initiation were showing 77F on the mesonet. This yields a higher CAPE than the observed value at OUN 00Z - probably on the order of 5000 J/kg or greater effective (and this can be seen in the most unstable parcel for the 18Z sounding). Next, consider the influence of the storms motion - the storm during its early parts and initial tornado production was moving southeast - from an environmental helicity point of view this lengthens the hodograph substantially. Now, combine this with the east-southeast surface flow that could be found near the boundary of the triple point and we have SREH (Storm relative effective helicity) well into the "what the heck does that even mean" territory (300-500 or even more). Even in the profile above, the significant tornado parameter (STP) is in excess of 7, and the supercell composite parameter (SCP) is near 29 - NWS mesoanalysis paints these values at the time of both these values in vicinity of northern Oklahoma city and further westward towards the dryline/boundary intersection - possibly these were even higher by the time the storm began modifying the environment. While the 00Z 0-3 kilometer CAPE (a favored tornado metric) does not appear to be very large (45 J/kg) forecast values were suggesting this would move into the realms of 100 J/kg - certainly more than sufficient for significant tornadoes given the other parameters. Finally I would note that the deep layer shear is not very strong for the large amount of moisture, and given the relatively modest flow at 500-300mb, this suggested HP modes would be the end result.

Adding this crazy soup of parameters together indicates a few things - but lets compare it to the climatology. If you consider the distribution of significant tornadoes in the recent paper by Grams et al. (2012), surface dewpoints were above the 90th percentile for significant tornado events, and for surface temperatures - the resultant LCL height reveals that neither of these factors was a negative contribution, and only served to increase the vertical gradient and hence thermodynamic energy. LCL heights were low - certainly below the 75th percentile of the Grams climatology for the southern plains, while mixed-layer CAPE was above the 90th percentile - more like an environment in the Northern plains during the summer. 0-1km shear from the OUN sounding was near to the mean for the significant tornado sample, but it is likely that this is somewhat under-representative in the effective environment. Lets look relative to the local climatology for significant tornadoes:

Source: Screenshot of the NWS Mesoanalysis tornado segments for the vicinity of El Reno, OK, this is the product of work by Bryan Smith, Rich Thompson, Roger Edwards and others which can be found in a 3-part paper in Weather and Forecasting, 2012.
Effective STP - observed has it at the upper end of the distribution, SCP - is already out at the upper bounds, MLCAPE is in the very high range, effective shear over the depth is a little lower than the average but ramps up as we approach 00Z, while environmental helicity is near or above the 75th percentile. LCLs are also somewhat low relative to the climatology. (NOTE: This climatology contains only 26 samples, and hence may not reflect the full distribution of potential significant tornado environments for the area). 

Long story short, its pretty easy to see that we are looking at a type of environment that doesn't occur very often. We have very high available CAPE, low LCLs and significant wind shear and helicity in the near surface layers. Most of us haven't chased many environments like this - so lets think about potential implications to our storm mode and tornadic behavior:

1. Tornadoes in this environment are likely to develop quickly, be strong and have multiple vortex characteristics before wedging out. Here's a couple of events that spring to mind where the parameter space was pushed to the upper right of the distribution in terms of say helicity or CAPE: Joplin MO, Plainview IL. In each case you ended up with violent tornadoes with unstable or quickly changing vortex structures that develop rapidly. I'm not saying these are great analogues, but more just a couple of cases where I can think of similar tornado behavior.

2. With LCLs so low, you have the potential for the mesocyclone or tornado cyclone to potentially situate itself very close to the ground as a response to the rapid up-motion - with high values of environmental helicity meaning that spinups and strong vortices are likely, especially with such a strong mesocyclone. Consider as an example the Greensburg KS 2007 storm and its behaviour after dusk, or Hallam NE. There are probably other examples but I will leave those to people who are more familiar. The moisture that produces these low LCLs and the weak mid level shear tends to also push the mode towards the hybrid HP/classic structure, where the mesocyclone is still located in the SW quadrant of the storm rather than the east.

But what does this mean for those who chase? 

Storm motion from this profile will likely be pretty much to the east-southeast for right moving supercells - and I think many of us worked this out fairly quickly. Occlusion of the mesocyclone will be to the left of path - again pretty stock standard and expected. So where did we go wrong ? (I say we as even though I kept a respectful distance, I still found myself running rapidly east during the expansion phase to avoid the southeastward rear-flank downdraft surge and the tornadic circulation, though I was fortunately far enough south to stay clear of the later).

This opinion may not be the most popular, but playing the notch is like playing russian roulette - there is eventually going to be a time when the bullet gets you. I've held this opinion for some time (after nearly coming unstuck one day in Nebraska in a sparse road network), and in HP modes this tends to keep me at the very least further east, and more often southeast. In the past few years, we've seen time and again storm chasers who came close to being unstuck - a banged ego here, a shattered windshield there. But what happens on the day that you don't see the monster coming? People are no longer even chasing just the notch, but in under the mesocyclonic circulation - and in this case the tornado-cyclone. So in a low LCL environment, with a bucketload of helicity and no shortage of CAPE in the lowest layer - is that the right place to be? I'm not trying to tell people how to chase, just raise the issues and implications that we have to deal with after this event.

Now - in the case of the TWISTEX team, I don't have a single problem with them being there - this was what they did, and did so effectively for many years. I think (and this is a personal opinion only) some series of unfortunate events or timing (for example deploying probes, which is when they are at their least mobile) during the rapid expansion of the tornado-cyclone to the surface and turning of the tornado with acceleration northeast likely caught them out - with subvortices that had forward motions of 150 mph as documented by the XPol radar, they may not have even seen it coming, or were unable to do anything to get away. It is a testament to their mission and skill that they likely managed to deploy probes in the path of this tornado - a tragic but hopefully lasting legacy to tornado science that befits three of the great chasers.

For other chasers - maybe we need to reassess how we approach storms that are way out there on the scale of environmental parameters and question whether you want that particular tornado to be your last. The huge width of this tornado was definitely a surprise to us all as was the rapid movement, and reflected the combination of an incredibly strong mesocyclone and the available environmental energy and helicity. As Jon Davies pointed out, and from my viewpoint was also observable on the day - the tornado did not appear to be at the center of the mesocyclone, but rather closer to the periphery - which perhaps explains the increase in forward motion and change in direction to NE at 40mph when combined with the RFD surge to the southeast.

In a different set of circumstances - this could have been much, much worse - the secondary mesocyclonic signature could have also produced a strong tornado tracking southeast into the panicked masses - leaving storm-chasers with no escape. Or perhaps the primary mesocyclone could have continued moving southeast at increased speed overtaking more chasers as it expanded, fortunately the RFD surge probably prevented this. My girlfriend/navigator was in the right hand seat on the day, and showed me the horrific image of spotter-network icons that were either in the path or very close to the very strong mesocyclone - and I was terrified that we would lose many more than we did.

So where does this leave me - I don't think it will stop me chasing, as many proved that this circulation could be safely navigated and documented with incredible images and data coming to light. However, I think that I will certainly think twice about what the environment means on a particular day before chasing - a lesson that I think would serve many aspiring chasers to the field well. I extend my deepest sympathies to the families of all the victims, both non-chasers and chasers for your loss, they will be missed by all. But as a final remark, here is a plea to the chasing community:
'If you value Tim, Paul and Carl's memories, then think more about the implications of the environment on how you chase, how it reflects on each of us when all is done and dusted - Tim, Paul and Carl were always very conscious of chasing safe. Please don't sacrifice your life in pursuit of that one tornado shot - it is never worth it, the chaser community needs no more funerals.'

This post was written by John Allen, and all the opinions and speculation are his own and do not reflect those of others involved in the Hunters of Thunder.


Jeremy S. Grams, Richard L. Thompson, Darren V. Snively, Jayson A. Prentice, Gina M. Hodges, Larissa J. Reames. (2012) A Climatology and Comparison of Parameters for Significant Tornado Events in the United States. Weather and Forecasting 27:1, 106-123

Richard L. Thompson, Bryan T. Smith, Jeremy S. Grams, Andrew R. Dean, Chris Broyles. (2012) Convective Modes for Significant Severe Thunderstorms in the Contiguous United States. Part II: Supercell and QLCS Tornado Environments. Weather and Forecasting 27:5, 1136-1154

25/5/2013 - The Return to the Plains

The Hunters are back - who knows what happened to the Australian season (well until John left anyway - thereafter there seemed to a be a surplus of tornadoes), but this seemed to translate to the plains for the early portion of the US chase season as well. Only two systems of any note for all or April, producing barely any tornadoes and certainly not living up to expectations. John & Rose's chase for the 7-10th netted 3 supercells and perhaps a weak vortice, one tornado warned storm and some really nice structure. The low-lights were really being chased out of Oklahoma and Kansas by freezing rain (one of the stranger experiences of John's chasing career). 

As of today, both Brad and John are back on the road - though on opposite sides of the plains. This next week, we will be covering storms from two vehicles as a reasonable 500mb low pressure trough transitions across the highs plains. Updates will be coming regularly, and while we have a slight change in web address for the short term until the new hosting comes online (note we can now be found at ) we will keep you updated with the action. The very much delayed chase log from April will also be online soon.