Thursday, June 01, 2006

Western Oklahoma Supercell

MAY 30 DAY 4

Today started off to be a beautiful day in beautiful Kansas. We left Salina shortly after 7 am CST and had an early lunch in Wichita. We picked the northwest Oklahoma panhandle so far as our target. The RUC and NAM models were showing some pretty good parameters for today’s setup. The front has stalled, which was pretty promising and we had our outflow boundaries from last night’s activity. Since we had some time to kill, we decided to stop at the Twister Museum in Wakita, OK.

Afterwards, we headed west towards the OK panhandle. So far things were looking good. We could see small towers starting to go up on the dryline. The slow moving thunderstorm activity ahead of the dryline should produce an outflow boundary that will kick up the cu on the dryline. For the first time in my life, I was going to be seeing some real dryline supercells from start to finish. ACCAS formed ahead of the dryline, a sign of good instability. We watched a distant supercell over Kansas as we headed westward towards Woodward, OK. A stationary supercell was just starting to form near Woodward. It was only 2:40 pm and we were already in a good spot.

On our way down, we neared a railroad crossing. We thought a train was going to go through but we noticed that someone had broken off the crossing gate and it was laying right across the tracks, setting off the crossing lights and sound. Ron and Scott did a great job removing the gate off the railroad.

There were nice turkey towers firing up along the dryline. Storms started firing up in the Texas panhandle. We decided to head south towards the caprock. There was a smaller storm that formed ahead of the larger supercell. The larger supercell started to show mesos on the Baron, with a hook beginning to form. There was also a small v-notch. We decided to head towards Elk City and go west from there. This thing was indeed a slow moving, clocking a whopping 17 mph travel speed.

Shortly after 6, I noticed a small lowering to the north. As we got closer, the meso was visible. It was barrel shaped, and it was really trying to get its act together. A wall cloud became more organized and produced a brief funnel cloud. Unfortunately it wouldn’t reach the ground. The wall cloud dissipated and then a new one formed to the south of the core. There were also some pretty good staccato strikes. Afterwards, we decided to head towards Amarillo to spend the night. On our way westward, we got into the heavy rain core, with some good outflow winds. The storms were starting to bow out around 7:30. We saw a nice shelf cloud. All of a sudden, a truck ahead of us was having a hard time staying straight… the back end of the truck kept swaying in the wind. Just outside of Amarillo, the rain was clearing, with the sun setting in the west. This made for perfect double rainbow photo opportunities closer to 9 pm.

We had a nice meal at the Big Texan to finish off our day. Ron decided to show off and eat a huge freaking slab of chocolate cake. Oh boy was he hurtin’! Those bull’s balls were also pretty good. You should try some!

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