Area Chased: W OK
Discussion: What an incredible day, one of the best fall chases I've ever had. Out of three separate supercells, I saw five tornadoes. Two wedge style tornadoes, one multiple vortex that lasted for a minute, and two stove pipes, one was very large. The structure today was absolutely incredible. I combined tornado shots with structure of rock hard updrafts. I left at 19z (2pm CDT) after a few things occurred. SPC analysis page, which showed extremely low LCL's and LFC's, fairly high instability (up to 3000 J/kg), and sufficient shear aloft. To top it off there was a boundary in the area where winds backed enhancing low level shear.
The storm in Collingsworth, County, moved into W OK and produced a few tornadoes starting near Sayer, OK. I arrived to Clinton by 3:00ish , installed my ham radio, and got my camera ready. I could already see a new large CB with a developing anvil to my WSW. I saw the updraft just off I-40 of the northern storm, had huge wall cloud with rain free base, but I began to loose it in the haze when the sun came back out. I was more interesting in the storm to my WSW. I drove into Elk City and waited watching my storm begin to form striations. The rotation was moderate at the time, but the storm appeared to be intensifying. As I was filming it, the sirens began to go off in Elk City. I got out watching the base lower and get darker. The rotation rapidly intensified, and just as it looked like it was going to do it, the sirens went off! I couldn't believe they had gone off at this time in the life cycle of the storm. I moved into Elk City watching the funnel wrap up almost overhead. As I got just east of town the tornado touched down about a mile away. I jumped back onto I-40 the tornado took on a ghostly rope appearance. It was an unbelievably gorgeous tornado! I watched it for a while tear up the dirt and kept moving east a tad to keep in the best light. At one point the tornado seemed to dissipate and the wallcloud / bears cage began to rotate violently with sub vorticies periodically touching down. Finally a large tornado touched down in the center of it and began to grow. This is when I figured out I was going to be a monster tornado. The oration at the surface appeared violent as it began to rip up some buildings or homes send huge pieces of debris into the air. I took a lot of pictures and video and watched it until it finally roped out northeast of Elk City. I continued east and exited onto a large hill on an side road. There, I filmed the second tornado, even thought strong rotation was evident, it only lasted for maybe 30 second. Tornado was probably west of Clinton and north of I-40. I saw a hail shaft to my south and decided to move east toward another supercell producing that hail. The Elk City storm took on a classic LP look and was absolutely gorgeous! I drove to Weatherford, OK and then drove south on a small farm road. There, I watched a stove pipe in the distance, it was located just south of Weatherford. I kept an eye on that storm, and was expecting it to produce another tornado. I video taped it until it was almost above me, and then I bailed. It had violent rotation in the wall cloud which was extremely low to the ground. I noticed that storm appeared to be weakening so drove south along with Matt Sellers whom I ran into. We drove east on I-40 and then south on 281 toward Binger. Finally, we got out of the rain and saw a huge cylinder supercell rotating violently. We drove to a hill and pulled over just as tornado number four of the day, began to form. We watched as the entire storm rotated at an unbelievable rate, and dropped a large tornado which slowly moved east. At the same time, a large wall cloud with strong inflow tail was forming just north of it, had multiple funnels rotating violently. We quickly left when the tornado #4 finally dissipated. The new wall cloud was almost touching the ground and had a funnel rotating into it, which touched down just west of the road. We quickly drove north and pulled over 1/4 of a mile away from it as it condensed to the ground and began doing damage in a huge wide spread swath. A car almost didn't make it through before the tornado crossed the road. It was one of the most incredible spectacles I've ever witnessed. I spent most of the time looking at the structure over head. The inflow tail was racing into the tornado at probably 60mph (guessing) as the tornado was only 1/4 of a mile south of us. Condensation was probably hitting the top of the nearby trees and the tornado looked like it was way too close for comfort so we left and drove north quickly. We lost sight of it and went back to 152 and went east to Cogar. After we left the final tornado, we got into some large hail, exceeding golf ball sized occasionally. It was interesting hail, some oval shaped and mainly clear. Between Cogar and Minco we watched another large wall cloud to our west. Due to trees, we were unable to see anything.
After the Binger event, I had met up with friends Amos Magliocco, Robert Hall, James Clark, and Matt Sellers. We kept an eye on the storm but pretty much had enough for one day. It moved into OKC with a tornado warning I believe, but appeared the threat was over for tornadoes. It was dark, and getting late so we all went to IHOP in OUN for some steak! FYI we reached IHOP by 0220Z (9:20pm CDT).
Time Line: Exact times using data stamp on my camcorder.
Tornado I: Began 2132:10UTC (04:32:10pm CDT) Lasted for 24.3 minutes, wedge type tornado which hit only one small area that was ratable, which was officially rated at F3. Tornado began just east of Elk City, OK and dissipated between Elk City and Clinton. It dissipated at 2156:30UTC (4:56:30pm CDT).
Tornado II: Began 2214:30 UTC (05:14:30pm CDT). Brief tornado touched down northwest of Clinton, OK. Ended 30 seconds later, 2215:00 UTC. I moved SE toward another supercell that produced the Cordell Tornado.
Tornado III: I went to Weatherford, OK, and heard of a large tornado just south of Weatherford. It got a little scary but once I got into the notch I turned around and a stovepipe tornado was indeed on the ground 4 miles south of Weatherford. That eventually dissipated. I saw it while it was ongoing so unknown time on beginning. The time I ran into was 2254:00 UTC.
Tornado IV: I met up with some friends (Amos, Rob Hall, James Clarke, Paul M., and others) and watched the next 2-3 tornadoes at Binger. We pulled over on a rise in the terrain and waited as we watched very strong rotation at cloud base and storm updraft. It produced a tornado near Binger, OK which lasted 5.3 minutes. Began at 0002:40 UTC (07:02:40pm CDT) and dissipated at around 0008:00 UTC (07:08:00pm CDT). After that, we went north a mile or two for another very intense rotation was looming to close, the new meso to this Binger storm.
Tornado V & VI?: This was a treat! We were about 1/4-1/8 of a mile away to the north and watched it cross the road! Multiple vortex and it was huge! A car barely missed being hit by this tornado. After that we stayed in the inflow occasionally going through very large hail of up to 2.2ish inches. Some of the hail was oval so maybe up to 3 inches, but that was very isolated. Another series of wall clouds was seen along with very intense inflow bands, but it was too dark to confirm the tornado, mainly cause we were behind some trees.
Arrived at Elk City, watching a striated base with some rotation. Later, a wallcloud forms with rotation rapidly picking up as the base lowers.
Very strong rotation at cloud base, tornado touching down.
Few pictures of a ghostly white tornado.
Getting bigger, and very strong rotation at wall cloud level.
Getting stronger, unfortunately debris is visible, hitting some houses and outbuildings.
Large tornado east of Elk City, OK. Lasted 30+ minutes.
Structure of the storm during tornado and after.
The third supercell of the day, and the forth tornado of the day. This is one of the best looking supercells I have ever seen. Had a cylinder shape with a tornado on the south end and a rapidly rotating wall cloud and inflow tail on the north side.
A few more pictures of the structure. First image shows the southeast side with tornado #4 still on the ground. Second image shows the N/NE side with the incredible vault and inflow tail. Makes Rob in the second image look small. Third image shows the storm as it came closer to us. The wall cloud was rapidly rotating and would soon produce a brief tornado and then another large tornado (Both of these tornadoes were counted by NWS's damage survey. So both of these tornadoes are tornado #5 or first was #5 and second was #6).
Large tornado multiple vortex tornado developed rapidly. However, it didn't last too long and dissipated a mile or so east of the road. This was the fifth or sixth tornado of the day.
Additional Info: SPC kept a watchful eye on October 9th as a potential tornadic supercell day. Both NWS OUN and SPC did an outstanding job forecasting and warning folks of this event. Below are 5 MCD's (two MCD's shared one graphic) giving a little of what SPC was keeping their eye on throughout this event.