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  • Writer's pictureMichael Thornton

The last chase of May 2019

Hey everyone, today I will be talking about a chase I did back on May 28th. May 28th wasn't a big risk day for Oklahoma or Texas the main risk was in Northeastern Kansas/Northwestern Missouri. But I absolutely dislike chasing in that area, so instead I decided to chase local in West Central Oklahoma.

Tornado damage in El Reno, OK

Around 2pm I left Norman and headed West on I-40 towards El Reno to wait for storms to initiate. While I waited for storms to initiate near El Reno, I decided to take some photos and footage of the damage that had occurred with the EF-3 tornado that had struck the town of El Reno 3 days prior to May 28th. Footage can be found here. [El Reno Tornado damage]

Looking Southwest into the Severe Warned cell Near El Reno, OK

My chase officially began at 5pm when a cell went up to the Southwest of El Reno. I quickly dropped South on Highway 81 and then went West on Jensen Road to intercept this cell.

Looking West into the Severe Warned cell near El Reno, OK.

From there I went North on Brandley road where I stopped to watch this absolutely magnificent cell to my Southwest. As the cell got closer to me I began to notice that the rain shafts [pictured to the left] were rotating. At this point the area of rotation was about 2 miles to my West, and headed directly for me. Due to the rotation coming right at me I decided that it was best to drive 2 miles to my East and let the rotation safely pass to my West.

Looking Northeast into the Severe Warned cell near El Reno, OK

Since I decided to drive 2 miles to the East and let the rotation pass to my West, that set me up for a great opportunity to view the storm to the Southwest rather than the East. At this point Emergency Management had sounded the sirens for El Reno even though there was no Tornado Warning on the cell yet. I imagine that they did this as a precaution due to the EF-3 that had struck the town 3 days prior.

Looking North into the Tornado Warned cell in between El Reno and Yukon, OK

Around 5:50pm the now Tornado Warned cell began to form a wall cloud to the Northwest of Yukon. I drove East on I-40 as the only road option North that would allow me to intercept this cell was Highway 4. Once I got to Piedmont I began to track the Tornado Warned cell to the South on NW 164th street. At this point the storm had become HP and was not about to show anything structure wise.

Road network in Northern Oklahoma

I tracked this one cell all the way North into Meridian where the road network was nothing but poorly maintained gravel roads with trees blocking every view of the storm. Since the road network was horrible and the storm had begun to die I decided to stop chasing for the day.

Looking Northeast towards the dying storm near Meridian

My last chase for May 2019 was a pretty solid way to end the month. No I didn't see any tornadoes during this chase, but I knew going into it that the chance for tornadoes were low that day. I still was able to get many nice shots of the storm which made the chase worth it. Thank you guys for reading my chase blog!



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