After a bit of a disappointment in Texas the previous day, we set our sights on Oklahoma where a good environment for supercells appeared to be in the offing. With strong deep layer shear, and moderate to strong instability combined with reasonable dewpoints, tornadoes were a chance and structure would hopefully show itself. We targeted El Reno, OK, and sat in the incredibly oppressive conditions - 100F (38C) with mid 60 degree farenheit dewpoints for some time waiting for the southernmost storm to get its act together. Eventually the storm transitioned from a more multi-cellular appearance into a nice supercell, which we closed in on as it structured up. Wide angle lenses were the order of the day from here on in!
|'The first view' as we approach from the south and then flank the storm to the east to get into prime position. Photo: Brad.|
And what a structure! 3 tiers and exposed to the world with the fields of Oklahoma stretched out below it. One of those simple wow moments that you just love to have when chasing!
|'Wedding Cake' - A classic 3-tiered supercell mesocyclone reminiscent of a wedding cake floats like an impossible creation over the plains. Photo: John.|
|Wow! Says it all really. Photo: Brad.|
The rotation speed within the storm was insane, almost dizzying with multiple areas of strong rotation and a closely proximal anticyclonic rotation as well. We went in relatively close (at the expense of structure) for the chance at a decent tornado when the wallclouds came down, but unfortunately early on the storm remained relatively high based and only produced a few weak spinups that were confirmed by other chasers as 'tornadoes'.
|'The First Attempt' - Strong elevated rotation but not with the wall cloud to match, the first strong attempt at a tornado manages to generate some weak surface circulations. Photo: John.|
|'Another Lowering' - The supercell continuously cycled, with RFD cut being followed by yet another strongly rotating wall cloud a number of times. Photo: John|
|Racing south to keep position, this was the view from the drivers seat! Photo: Brad.|
|Tornado! Dust is raised as a dark funnel emerges near Piedmont north of OKC. Photo: Brad.|
|'Wrapped In' - The tornadic circulation is quickly wrapped within the monsters precipitation. Photo: John.|
|'A Monster Unleashed' - With the impetus it now needed to go ballistic the new supercell quickly went HP and wrapped its core circulation while producing a tornado. Note the unusual filtered halo on the right. Photo: John.|
|'Greenage' - The sinking sun and the giant hail within the storm gave an interesting optical effect in producing the most eery green glow through the clouds. Photo: John.|
|Chasers become the chased.....by giant hail! The view behind as we run. Photo: Brad.|
|'Decay' - With the excitement of the collision now over the cell quickly ran into an unfavourable environment and fell apart in front of our eyes on sunset. Photo: John.|
|'A Certain Kind of Light' - The lightning didn't really happen for us on this day, but still offered some interesting photographic opportunities if you knew where to look. Photo: John.|