• Michael Thornton

The High Risk Chase Day

Only two day's removed from the Elk City tornado, it looks like Northwestern Oklahoma will be under the gun today. Today the SPC has released a high risk outlook for Northwestern Oklahoma for the risk of Softball size hail, and potentially long track tornadoes. I've been considering going to Southwestern Oklahoma though, as models show some pretty good potential for tornadoes as well. Ultimately I chose to leave Norman for Woodward up in Northwestern Oklahoma around 9am. I got to my setup area at around 12pm. The atmosphere was perfect for chasing, there was no clouds in the area at all, which allowed for heating, and the dews were at 55 degrees, but it was still early in the day. I drove West towards Fort Supply as storms started forming near Fargo, I tracked this one severe thunderstorm back into Woodward, where it showcased incredible wind speeds. The wind speeds where so intense at ground level that it blew out all of the power, and I was almost sure that tree's around me where going to snap as visibility reduced significantly. I allowed the severe thunderstorm to pass over me, and then I dropped South towards Sharon to intercept a storm that had some great looking velocities (rotation) on radar. As soon as I dropped South, the storm that I had chosen to go after became tornado warned.

I tracked this tornado warned cell all the way North to highway 281 and 412 just South of Waynoka. During this time this tornadic storm dropped a multi vortex tornado, and then lifted.

After that Thunderstorm started to die, I began to drive back home. On my way home I saw some awesome mammatus clouds, so I pulled over to get a photo of them, because let's be honest. Every chaser out there loves mammatus clouds!

On my way home I witnessed rare upward lightning for the first time ever. This was by far the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life! I was filled with so much excitement when I captured this rare event on video.


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