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May 31, 1999: Almost a tornado...

Slightly-Tornadic Chase Through SW Kansas/NW Oklahoma (Dave Lewison on Cloud 9 Tours)

Sound Clip of the Day: Jim being overly optimistic about storm possibilities. (121K WAV)

This was the first chase day for the Tour 2 people. Chris was my ride back to the east coast,and she wasn't leaving until the following weekend, so I decided to stick around with Tour 2 for that week. Started the day in Norman and had a leisurely lunch at Prairie Kitchen, where it took over 90 minutes just to get a sandwich!

Headed up towards NW Oklahoma near the Woodward area. Drove through town to a lookout point just north of the city. Sat there a while watching the towers build in the late afternoon heat. RJ paintballed Charles' windshield, scaring him pretty good (sorry, I don't have any video of that!).

0531tower.JPG (9534 bytes) One tower started going pretty good to our south, so we headed back down through Woodward to have a closer look. It kept building, but never put up a really vertical tower, indicating the instability in this area wasn't enough to counter the shear in the upper levels.

Bobby Prentice then relayed some information via cell phone on a supercell near Meade, KS that had strong rotation. So, we turned right around and headed back through Woodward YET AGAIN!

0531wallcloud.JPG (8380 bytes) We came up on the Meade storm from the south. It had a nice looking anvil and a really sharp lowering. There were reports of a large tornado on the ground at this point, but we simply dismissed these as false reports because the lowering looked a lot like a tornado when it was over a hill, but it was clearly not on the ground.

Little did we know that a large tornado really WAS on the ground to the north of the meso we were looking at. We couldn't see anything because of the rain in front of it.

Just south of the OK/KS border near Lookout, OK we observed this wall cloud to our north. It had rapid rotation and looked like it was really trying to put down a tornado, but it never did. The old occluded meso that produced the tornado 10 minutes earlier is barely visible behind the lowering.

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Email me at: lewisd2@rpi.edu

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