2001 May 5
Copyright 2001 Eric Nguyen
 
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Area Chased:  SW OK

Discussion:  We departed our hotel in Aspermont, TX and drove north to Quanah, TX.  Our target was Altus, OK.  We pulled over just north of Quanah on a road called 6.  It didn't take long for us to have 12 chase vehicles waiting in that very spot for storms to form.  Many chasers were passing by, giving us the intuition that a lot of us would be out today.  Towers began forming to the north, but we wanted to stick with our target area.  An area of enhanced cumulus clouds formed to our west and slowly moved NE.  Showers began to form underneath so we drove north on 6 toward that shower.  It was nothing spectacular, just a small weak cloud, however we were waiting for it to explode once our upper air support would finally make it.  The reason we began chasing this shower was perhaps this shower could organize, it was better looking then anything else around.   The tower finally exploded and quickly organized.  Rotation on the SW flank was quickly evident and it didn't take long for a funnel to reach half way to the ground.   It was a very photogenic low topped supercell.  We began to wonder about our storm since the inflow was rainy, and cold.  We heard a report of "stacked plate meso" structure to the south which finally was the last straw, so we dove south, leaving our storm.  Once we drove about 10 miles to the south we realized there was nothing going on to the south.  Then, a tornado was reported near Cordell, OK on our supercell we just left.  We tried to make it back up there but it was getting too dark and the storms were embedded on a fast squall line / shelf cloud.  Every chaser and their dog was out there that day, which almost became a circus.  Thankfully, the DOW's and the "DOW Chasers" were spread out enough to not cause any major problems.  I usually try to find spots where there is little or no traffic.   Folks were even pulled over on the road, making it dangerous for other drivers.   We all found each other along I-40 near OKC and enjoyed a late breakfast at Denny's.  Other chasers pulled into the nearby hotel.  A channel 9 guy was there, he was told to leave the cordell storm and head for the southern storm which made him miss the tornado.  A storm chase tour van was also at the hotel next-door, they caught the Cordell tornado up close.  Not a bad day at all, I just wish I stayed on my original storm.

Pictures:

010505-1b.jpg (10035 bytes)     010505-2b.jpg (11524 bytes)      010505-3b.jpg (9542 bytes)      Funnel quickly formed under the exploding tower, striations at the base were observed.  This low topped supercell produced a tornado near Cordell, OK, shortly after.  The Cordell, OK storm.  Its very low topped yet the updraft continues to backbuild.  This is probably 10-15 minutes before the tornado occurred.


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