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)


Part 2 (Canadian, TX to Woodward, OK)


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.



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.


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:


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


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


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:


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.


The storm had fantastic structure associated with it as well.


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


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