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

May 29th - Oklahoman Wonder

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.

'Barrel Ahoy' - The structure reveals itself from the murk as the supercell begins to structure over the fields near Loyal, Oklahoma. 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.
What was far more impressive was the size of the hail being produced by the storm, hailstones were reported to Grapefruit size (5", 12.5 centimetres), with some allegedly up to 6 inches! Fortunately we managed to keep ourselves out of trouble with the gorilla hail core (though 3 inch stones smashing on the road and bouncing over the car were a little close for comfort), and kept good position on the cell for a couple of hours, until it decided to go bananas upon collison with a left moving supercell near Piedmont, on the outskirts of Oklahoma city. The result was an incredibly structured new cell with strong rotation that produced a weak tornado and some pictures that I don't think we will ever forget. 

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.

'In full flight'. The beast is capable of producing tornadoes and at least grapefruit size hail. Photo: Brad.
'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 giant hail!  The view behind as we run.  Photo: Brad.

We then proceeded to play with the hail cores on the western edge of Oklahoma city as this cell and numerous others trained over the area. We encountered a few stones above tennis ball size, but unfortunately couldn't catch the grapefruit producer through the metro.

'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.
 All in all a fantastic days chasing, and exactly what bring us to the states effectively the 'tail-end charlie' and amazing photo opportunities with a gorgeous storm. Still looking for that amazing tornado though.

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