Chasecation 2016 Day 2 (5/23): A Potpourri of Supercells, and my first tornado!

Map of Day’s activities, part 1 (southern TX Panhandle & SW OK, Hedley supercell)

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Part 2 (Canadian, TX to Woodward, OK)

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Details and pics, click on Continue Reading –>

Started the day in Childress, TX after a disastrous outcome the day before (will write a blog post on that later). Woodward, OK area looked good from a triple-point pattern recognition perspective, but decided to hedge on supercells forming in the TX Panhandle where winds were more backed, so I positioned myself in Erick, OK early afternoon.

After an hour’s wait a few TCU popped up near Clarendon, TX, so I shifted west towards Shamrock, TX. They continued to percolate until one of them blossomed more quickly. I arrived at Hedley, TX to a nice LP supercell.

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However, the supercell did not last long and croaked shortly afterwards. So I was left thinking what to do. The cells to the south looked grungy and clustered. Taking a look at the surface obs, I noticed that winds backed heavily in NW OK and T-Td spreads were much lower. New storms had just formed NW of Buffalo, OK (too far for me), but to their south/west some agitated TCU were growing. I blasted north to Canadian, TX to see what that area had in store.

By the time I got to Canadian, three new storms had formed. One was visible to the west, and one to the northeast, as seen below.

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Yet another cell popped up near our original target — Woodward. I surmised that cell had the best environment to work with, and I hesitantly “went for the tornado home run” instead of settling on the closer cells. I took a few shots along the way, hedging in case Woodward didn’t work out.

West of Canadian cell, as seen from Glazier, TX:

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Northeast of Canadian cell, having struggled mightily (it would finally get going an hour later):

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The west Canadian cell spat out a picturesque left-split that dazzled in the evening golden light.

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At this point the Woodward cell roots and a tornado warning is issued on it. I blast northeast and it is evident that this cell really has it going:

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Reaching the town of Woodward, I see my first tornado ever!!! …stretching down from the base of the storm! Too far away to take pics or video though. It lifted quite quickly, but once I got a bit north of the town, closer to the storm, another tornado emerged from the rain curtains. My first ever photo of a tornado.

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The storm had fantastic structure associated with it as well.

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Staying in Woodward tonight, hoping for another great day tomorrow.

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