My Favorite 2009 Chase Pictures


2009

The 2009 chase season is winding down for southern plains chasers after relatively trainquil (i.e. boring) conditions such up for much of May. The combination of relatively poor moisture and extremely weak flow/shear aloft resulted in an abysmal May for many chasers across the central U.S.. June improved slightly, but the poor timing meant there was relatively limited data collected in tornadic supercells for the 1st year of VORTEX 2.

My noteable chases in 2009:

  • June 5th - amazing tornado in eastern Wyoming
  • June 17th - awesome tornadic supercell in southern Nebraska
  • April 26th - beautiful tornado in northwestern Oklahoma
  • June 9th - beautiful supercell in southwestern Kansas
  • June 7th - intense supercell in northwestern Missouri
  • February 10th - early-season tornadic supercell in central Oklahoma



02-10-2009-Central OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 220 miles
Target Area: Denton - Sherman - Gainesville, TX
Chase Area: Around and In Oklahoma City, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

Dan Dawson, Robin Tanamachi, Jana Houser, and I punted around with the OKC area storms today. Though my initial target was N TX (Gainesville to Denton area, chasing eastward from there), we noticed a few storms developing SW of OKC by the time we got out of Norman. Being only 1:30 pm, we opted to head west towards I44 to get a look-see at it. The 1st storm rapidly organized into a supercell as it headed through the SW side of the OKC area, so we jumped N from I44 to Hwy 74 (Lake Hefner Pkwy).

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03-07-2009-South-central KS Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 530 miles
Target Area: W of Wichita, KS
Chase Area: Around Hesston, KS, and SW of Wichita, KS
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

Gabe Garfield and I headed to southern Kansas today, initially targeting anything along the boundary/front, with a preference for activity farthest east (where the better moisture resided). The obs at P28 and nearby were pretty bad, and I wasn't expecting much. We stopped in Wellington for gas, and during this stop the storm W/SW of Hutchinson rapidly intensified. We headed N on 35 then 135 towards Newton and then Hutchinson, but we missed the tornado(es) by ~20 minutes. We got near Burrton (IIRC) and headed northwards to get a better view. It looked a bit messy and quite wet, and, over the next couple of hours, we watched it move ENE, and remain rather "wet" (HPish at times, actually, with what looked like a sweeping shelf cloud on the RFD gust front as it passed N of Florence). We abandoned it near sunset and headed back towards Newton to get some food.

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03-09-2009-S KS / N OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 315 miles
Target Area: Fairview to Ponca City, OK
Chase Area: Medford, OK, to E of South Haven, KS
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

Note a lot to write... Gabe Garfield and I (with a couple other cars following) targeted the warm front (outflow reinforced) across the central OK/KS border region. This chase ended up being quite typical of early season chases characterized by high shear and low instability. The air N of the front/boundary was a bit too cool, despite the strong level shear, for intense convective development. We hoped that storms that developed farther south across western OK would be able to mature and "latch onto" the boundary, but they struggled as well. The 00z OUN sounding sampled a weak lapse rate environment (not much better than 6 C/km mid-level lapse rates) with a tall, skinny CAPE profile. We ended the chase in Enid at the BWW... Given the relative success of the first 2 chases of the year, I can't complain when an early season chase ends like so many other early season chases of the past. *Shrug*

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03-23-2009-S KS / N OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 305 miles
Target Area: Enid, OK
Chase Area: Arkansas City, KS, to Stillwater, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

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03-26-2009-Northern TX Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 360 miles
Target Area: Decatur, TX
Chase Area: Nocona to Gainesville, TX
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

Original target was pretty much near Decatur (west of GLE-DTO line). I was concerned about the limited extent (spatially) of the instability, but I figured it would be worth a shot driving down to at least ADM to check things out. I left OUN around 2:30 pm, and I arrived at Courtney approx 1/2 mile N of the Red River (NE of Nocona, TX) not long after 5 pm. Eventually, a storm was able to sustain itself near Nocona (to become the first GLE supercell)... Watched the storm from just ENE of Nocona and sampled 2" hail (measured - I forgot to include that in the SpotterNet report) at that location. While driving E then S to Saint Jo, I apparently missed the tornado. The base didn't look too impressive when I stayed at the 1st location to sample the hail, which is why I opted to sample the hail vs. to move to stay ahead of the storm. *shrug*

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04-09-2009-Northeastern OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 450 miles
Target Area: Along the OK/KS border in far northeastern OK
Chase Area: Bartlesville to Miama, OK - bust
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

Really not much to report. Gabe Garfield, Jana Houser, I, and several others played around far northeastern Oklahoma today. I had been a bit concerned about a lack of shear in the 2-6 km layer (the hodograph basically sat on itself through that layer in most of northeastern OK and adjacent areas of MO and KS), and I assume that's what played some part in the lack of supercell mode (and, likely, the presence of too many storms to begin with). We sat east of Skiatook off Hwy 75 for a while, where we had a chance to talk with some other chasers and spotters. A couple of storms looked okay for awhile as we headed north and east, but, overall, there's really not much to say. We followed the storms to Miami before giving up. There was quite a bit of virga apparent ahead of the storms NNW of Tulsa for a while, so perhaps that cooled the low-levels enough to significantly reduce instability and increase CINH. Heck, we saw long, stable-looking cloud streets E of Bartlesville ahead of the storms that were developing. That's something you don't want to see if you are concerned about low-level stability...

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04-18-2009-Northwestern OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 220 miles
Target Area: Ill-defined (NW Oklahoma)
Chase Area: Near Okeene and Fairview, OK,
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

Really not much about which to write... I didn't have enough time to get up to the KS area, nor did I have enough time to make it to Alva. So, I played with the weak storm that appeared to have decent updraft structure from time to time. Low-level inflow was pretty much absent during the entire time I was SE through ENE of the updraft, and that was reflected in a cloud base that looked static for much of the time. The updraft looked best when it was near Fairview and Isabella, but it quickly dissipated as it approached Ringwood. I then made my way, slowly, back to the OKC area in a fashion quite similar to Dave's (i.e. stopping every once in a while when things looked mildly interesting). Wasn't really expecting too much, it was as much of an impromptu chase as any I've done, and I made it home by 8 pm.

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04-25-2009-Western OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 300 miles
Target Area: Elk City, OK
Chase Area: Foss to Weatherford, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

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04-26-2009-Northwestern OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 480 miles
Target Area: Sayre, OK
Chase Area: Sweetwater to Vici, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: High

Dan D., Robin T., Corey P., Mike F., Jen ., and I chased the lone tornadic supercell that tracked north of Roll, OK, this afternoon. We were originally hoping to initiation down near Childress since we liked the environment in southwestern OK and towards I40 best. On the way out west from OKC, we made a brief intercept on the cell that passed through Clinton in the early afternoon; that cell looked rather trashy after following it northeast of Clinton for 15-20 minutes, so we let it slide off and set our eyes back to the west. Noting initiation N of Wheeler, TX, we tredged towards Sweetwater, to the north of which we watched the cell take on some supercell characteristics. Road options aren't very good in that part of the state, so we had to trek all the way to Cheyenne to have an "ahead of storm" north option.

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04-30-2009-W and C Oklahoma Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 405 miles
Target Area: Near Hennessey, OK
Chase Area: W of Clinton and near OKC
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

 
05-05-2009-Northcentral Texas Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 600 miles
Target Area: Throckmorton, TX
Chase Area: Breckenridge to Stephenville, TX
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

This is borrowed from Dan Dawson's chase account:

We, unfortunately, *were* with the hordes that got hammered by hail on I-20 near the highway 108 exit. However, we weren't trying to get *to* the meso at the time, we were instead driving away from the meso trying to get ahead of it and south, timed it just a bit too late, and clipped the core as it was crossing I-20. Pretty much everyone in our caravan had a cracked windshield. Personally, this is the first time I've ever been chasing where our vehicle got damaged this badly by hail (and even this wasn't *too* bad). We usually try pretty hard to stay out of it.

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05-08-2009-Southern OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 155 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Davis to Ardmore, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

A lazy chase to make sure the radars deployed correctly, etc. Multicells with embedded and/or transient supercell characteristics occurred across a large portion of south-central Oklahoma, though one relatively persistent supercell did track south of SPS around sunset.

 
05-12-2009-Southeastern TX Panhandle Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 480 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Silveton to Paducah, TX
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

A bunch of high-based convection formed in western Texas and developed extensive outflow before hitting the deep moisture to the east. A supercell did develop southwest of Childress during the mid-evening time.

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05-13-2009-Northwestern and Central OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 420 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Canton to Geary, OK; Norman, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

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05-15-2009-Northwestern OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 440 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Near Renfrow, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category:

A weak squall line developed along a cold front to our northwest and moved by without much consequence. Shear was very weak, so tornado probabilities were low.

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05-19-2009-Southwestern NE Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 735 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Near Sidney, NE
Maximum SPC Risk category: General

Very low dewpoints and resultant high dewpoint depressions meant weak, high-based showers were all that we could get...

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05-20-2009-Western NE Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 300 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Hemingford to Hyannis, NE
Maximum SPC Risk category: General

Relatively low dewpoints (and resultant weak CAPE) and moderate shear resulted in some messy multicells save for one relatively short window of supercell action N of Alliance, NE. The supercell had a wall-cloud and strong RFD... The most notable thing we saw was a series of gustnadoes along the southward advancing gust front south of the supercell.

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05-22-2009-Southwestern SD Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 165 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Edgemont to Hot Springs, SD
Maximum SPC Risk category: General

Another sub-marginal day that resulted in nothing substantial. The highlight of my day was my GPS tripping out (which also happened one 2 subsequent chases); the GPS was reporting that we were moving 220-290 km/hr (that's 130-160 mph) through the Black Hills. If only we COULD do that sometimes...

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05-23-2009-Southwestern NE Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 320 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: SE of Ogallala, NE
Maximum SPC Risk category: General

More submarginal chasing conditions as relatively poor moisture and very weak shear yielded multicell trash.

 
05-25-2009-SW OK / TX PH Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 1035 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Hollis to N of Hobart, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

Brief supercells that never lasted long enough for us to collect data.

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05-26-2009-Northern Texas Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 510 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Denton to Forestburg, TX
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

FINALLY, good low-level moisture yielded strong instability in an environment of pretty strong low-level shear near an outflow boundary from overnight convection. Storms developed in the lower-RH air behind a weak dryline in an area of stronger heating and deeper boundary-layer development W of Fort Worth, but a storm on the northern side of this cluster moved northward into the better instability NW of Denton. This left-mover supercell was actually quite fascinating for a time, as it possessed pretty good structure (wall-cloud included) and a nice anticyclonic hook echo.

 
05-29-2009-Central Nebraska Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 850 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Around Taylor, NE
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

The target storm was dissipating by the time we deployed between Taylor and Rose, NE, off Hwy 183. More vigorous, multicell convection was sustaining itself to the S through ESE of the deployment location.

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05-31-2009-Extreme southwestern Iowa Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 275 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Sidney to Shenandoah, IA
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

A couple of storms developed in extreme southeastern NE and tracked into southwestern IA. We deployed a couple of times near Sidney, but the storms didn't really impress by any means.

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06-01-2009-Central KS/NE Border Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 280 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Around Hebron, NE
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

Multicellular convection moved NNEward out of Kansas, and we never really got initiation closer to the stronger low-level shear near I80. We had radar antenna / positioner problems that required us to return to Norman the next day.

 
06-04-2009-Extreme SE WY / NE CO Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 1195 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Cheyenne, WY, to Hereford, CO
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

We were aiming for anything N of Denver, where strong low-level shear forecast by morning model runs. However, only weak convection persisted in this area, which significantly reduced CAPE for later convection. So, we trekked into southeastern Wyoming to get away from the negative affects of the showers and weak thunderstorms in northeastern Colorado. We deployed once on a supercell NE and E of Cheyenne, though it was weakening by the time we got setup and scanning. Another supercell developed N of Cheyenne and tracked southeastward; we deployed a couple of times on this storm before it weakened in far northeastern Colorado.

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06-05-2009-Southeastern WY Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 505 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: La Grange, WY, to Gurley, NE
Maximum SPC Risk category:

Intercepted a beautiful tornadic supercell west of La Grange, WY, with a long-lived tornado that was perhaps the most sampled tornado in history. We followed this supercell eastward with time, with several more deployments along the way.

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06-06-2009-Central NE Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 380 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Mullen - Thedford - North Platte, NE
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

Hopes weren't too high, but we did intercept that tracked from SW of Mullen to near Thedford, NE, before it moved into an area of weaker destabilization and cooler air north of an outflow boundary. We dropped south towards North Platte to attempt another deployment on high-based convection, but operations were called off before we got into place (which was fine, since it was weak and unimpressive).

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06-07-2009-Northwestern Missouri Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 540 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Forest City to NE of Cameron, MO
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

Another good shear, high instability chase day that ultimately resulted in an extremely intense, yet largely non-tornadic, supercell that moved across far northwestern Missouri. We collected data on the intensifying, non-tornadic (at least at the time of scanning) supercell scanned the west . The supercell took a right turn that eventually brought the mesocyclone over the deployment location. Eward advancing precip at south end of hook echo was noted ~1-2 km to our south. We waited as long as possible in an attempt to catch tornadogenesis, but that never came.

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06-09-2009-Southwestern Kansas Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 370 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: E of Dodge City to Greensburg, KS
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

The forecast of a substantial tornado event devolved into messy and tornado-unfriendly forecast as winds south of a southward-sagging OFB veered heavily. A supercell did develop W of Dodge City, and it had spectacular structure between DDC and Greensburg. As the OFB continued to press southward away from the storm, the supercell gradually weakened and dissipated east of Greensburg as it moved into the cooler, more stable air.

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06-10-2009-Southwestern Kansas Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 425 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Johnson City - Hugoton - Liberal, KS
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

Largely multicells in drier air...

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06-11-2009-Southeastern Colorado Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 490 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: La Junta, CO
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

A tough forecast that caused some problems in targetting... There was an extremely high-CAPE, moderate shear setup western Texas, and another low-moderate CAPE upslope setup in eastern Colorado. After a brief jaunt into the Texas panhandle, we turned around and hauled back northwestward to play the upslope setup. Two supercells developed east of Pueblo, but the radar truck had prohibitive electrical problems that prevented data collection on our first deployment. We ended up spending a couple of hours troubleshooting the problem and spent the night in La Junta (so we could get it fixed ASAP the following morning).

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06-12-2009-Oklahoma / N Texas Panhandles Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 300 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: BUSTOLA
Maximum SPC Risk category: General

Clear-sky bust, though not terribly surprising as a strong cap moved in to inhibit initiation.

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06-13-2009-Texas Panhandle Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 395 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Amarillo to Panhandle, TX
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

Well, we had seen several days of flow aloft that was respectable by June standards and moisture that was equally nice in the OK/TX panhandles without much in the way of tornado occurrence. This was one more day of the same... The left-splits actually persisted longer than the right-splits in the Texas panhandle, which isn't surprising given the 00z AMA hodograph. There was an interesting collision very near Liberal, KS, of a long-lived left-moving supercell that tracked through the TX panhandle and a right-moving supercell that tracked down from southeastern Colorado. We ended the project in Amarillo and dined at The Big Texan. Lots of chasing over the past 5 weeks, but an abysmal pattern in May left us with essentially 1 tornadic supercell dataset. There's always 2010...

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06-14-2009-Texas Panhandle Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 400 miles
Target Area:
Chase Area: Childress, TX
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

Some hope remained for one last day with the radar, despite the fact that the project was officially over for the year. Overnight through early-afternoon elevated convection and cloud-cover really put a damper on the original target of northeastern TX panhandle and the eastern OK panhandle. As such, we saw two plays - one N and W of that stabilized area and one S and E of that area. Since we needed to return that night, we opted to play E and S of that stable area. We sat in Shamrock a bit to see what would come of the storms to the W and SW of CDS; we eventually targeted the 2nd supercell W of CDS since we couldn't beat the southernmost supercell to Paducah. Right when we found a deployment spot and started to scan, the southernmost supercell sent off something that obliterated our supercell. Since road options were tricky to get ahead of the HP beast to our south at that time, and knowing that we had to be home that evening, we called off the chase.

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06-17-2009-Southern Nebraska Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 880 miles
Target Area: Hebron - Beatrice, NE
Chase Area: Kearney to York, NE
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

I was really on the fence about this day, since I had just gotten back from a solid 5 weeks of chasing as a part of VORTEX 2. However, the setup looked good enough to make me want to drive to southeastern Nebraska; Dan and I left mid-morning to make the relatively long trek northward. By the time we got to Wichita, we saw the developing supercells in extreme northern Kansas and southern Nebraska east of Belleville. Shoot. One of these supercells apparently produced a tornado near Marysville while we were somewhere near Salina. The 12z EMC 4km WRF that I looked correctly forecast late-morning initiation of supercells in far southeastern NE and northeastern KS, with nothing substantial forecast after this initial wave. By the time we reached Concrdia and, particularly, Belleville, we knew that we had to make

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07-20-2009-Northern Oklahoma Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 140 miles
Target Area: Impromptu
Chase Area: Hennessey to Kingfisher, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: Moderate

I wasn't planning on chasing today, but I couldn't resist a short trip towards Enid to get a view of a nice supercell that was moving southward in unseasonably strong flow aloft. By the time I got within a good viewing distance of my target supercell, it was beginning to get eaten by the cap. However, another supercell developed to its west and provided some lightning opportunities. I left my tripod in the UMass XPol radar truck in June at the end of VORTEX 2, so I had to make due with using the roof of my car to stabilize the camera for long time exposure shots.

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08-19-2009-Northern Oklahoma Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 180 miles
Target Area: Enid to Ponca City, OK
Chase Area: Around Enid, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: Slight

What looked to be a fantastic chase for this time of year in this part of the country ended up being a bust of sorts. Not much to report... I really liked the OFB located across central to northwestern Oklahoma, particularly since areas on the immediate cool side experienced significant insolation by the late morning. With pretty decent flow aloft for this time of year, and relatively steep mid-level lapse rates, it looked like a good day for tornadic supercells for mid-August in the southern Plains. As such, I targeted the area around END (see NOW post for then-current thoughts), and ended up following the relatively weak storm that developed near END eastward towards I35.

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