March 31, 2004 by · Comments Off on SMACK
Filed under: Journal Entry 

At the end of his summary post to WxChase list serv, Shane Adams wrote:

>Aside: Happened to catch Elke smacking Roger with a map
>while driving through Custer City, heh.

We continued to hear from all sorts of folks about this little incident. Imagine our surprise, when a friend called to direct us to a poll being conducted on

Why did Elke hit Roger with a map in Custer City?


28%-He wouldn’t stop talking about the Dallas Cowboys trading for Keyshawn
12%-He was scribbling the 20Z on a napkin while driving
20%-He wouldn’t stop talking about the south Atlantic hurricane (he did talk about it some)
32%-Because he was there (~.~)
8%-Never forgave him for selling The Meatwagon (were they kidding!?)

The correct answer is, of course, None of the Above

I responded to Shane’s post with the following:

I keep hearing about this from all sorts of folks. It’s as if it were posted in a tabloid!

We had a day much like what has been described already, got on storm A just as it was crossing I-40. We didn’t much like that cold look to the updraft base the whole time we were on it. After we finally got over the Foss Dam (stuck behind a fire vehicle doing 15mph in light hail) and back ahead of it, the storm looked even worse, strung out as well as cold. Roger could be heard steadily berating it for several minutes … right up to the moment we made a fortuitous left turn for a quick stop and I said,

Gee, Roger, there’s a tornado over there!

We were still laughing about it later on, when the love of my life started in on a classic bit of bull, claiming he had secretly believed in that storm the whole time, oh, he just knew it would PRODUCE! He was just trying to chastise it into better behavior. Since I didn’t have with me the Texas BS repellant spray he had given me on our marriage (for real), I’m sure you can imagine I had to take other action 🙂

We had a great time and it was precious, when time off from work and kids for a weekend coincided with a chase day. Hearing the rumble of continuous thunder and watching the Weatherford supercell hoist sails and drift off painted by the sunset – that was the icing on the cake. It may be a circus to chase out here, but it’s really good to see many friends too!


Supercells in Weatherford, OK Vicinity

March 27, 2004 by · Comments Off on Supercells in Weatherford, OK Vicinity
Filed under: Summary 


Short Version: Intercepted 2 supercells and weak tornado between Foss, Thomas and Weatherford in wrn OK. Very pleasant supercellular sunset. Good company both during and after chase.

Long Version: Right after sending my FCST post, a final look at VIS imagery nudged our outbound path toward the N end of the target area, heading W along I-40 toward CSM instead of SW along 62 toward LTS. Let’s hear it for last-minute diagnostics!
There were towers already bubbling and even glaciating along the dryline N of the Interstate, and it was only a matter of time until something along or S of the Interstate did likewise.

One of the towers to the N became the tornadic Vici storm, which we had no chance to intercept in time.& En route, another storm formed and crossed I-40 near Sayre, and we were beginning to think that we left too late — even by our 1230 CST departure. We were concerned we might miss something early. Still, the environment was right for a potentially tornadic storm, at least in a zonally narrow (but meridionally elongated) corridor across the region.






Breaking out of the gunge to see this crisp anvil behind the fractus helped also. Then, a few minutes later, an eastern approach perspective that is surely dear to the heart of any bonafide pursuant of atmospheric violence. The storm looked elongated, precip-filled and somewhat chilled by the time we got to it near Foss, however. I started berating it. Al P called to inform us that this was the best show going, nonetheless. We stuck with it northward past Foss Lake park. A new meso formed to the NE of Foss Dam in poor contrast conditions from our vantage. On our way to get ahead of it, we found this hail – which we actually mesured with a ruler in the car at up to 2 inch diameter). The hail had covered a side road 2 S of Butler. Look close; there’s a vehicle path through the hail cover and across a flash flood! We saw sporadic but even larger hail on the road 5 E of Butler (same hail swath), 5-10 minutes after it fell. I can vouch for the authenticity of the 2.5 inch hail report in that area.

Still I insulted the storm. Following it past Custer City, it unfailingly looked elongated and distorted, with only weak and intermittent cyclonic shear eddies in the base just ahead of the core.  I looked for a spot SW of Thomas to pull over safely, found a W road and began to turn. I was amidst another episode of heaping derision upon the storm when Elke interrupted to inform me of a tornado dangling from it.

OK, so the “cold, rainy, strung out POS” was producing a hose! We saw a snakelike and somewhat wavy condensation funnel extending up to 90% down, and I managed to reel off a few Provia slides before the funnel shortened. It was good to get the first one of the season in March (my earliest ever), and we were quite grateful. I have had many tornado-free seasons, so even a “junknado” like that definitely was appreciated.

Soon after, the storm took a big dump. Upon exiting Thomas E on 33, I spied to the NW (N of Thomas) a somewhat smooth, tapered lowering somewhat removed (SW) of what appeared to be the main area of cyclonic cloud base shear and lift. Though it looked like a funnel, I was hesitant to call it so unless able to make out definitive rotation. I was driving at the time and unable to watch it for more than glimpses. By the time I found a safe place to pull over, it was falling apart. If there was a vortex with this feature, it must not have been that special anyway, or it would have wound itself into a real tornado. Soon, W of Watonga, it looked worse than ever. We met Rich and Corey; and Rich provided his non-verbal opinion of the situation. (K & L) They followed us back SW for an intercept of the Weatherford supercell. View to SW from a mile N of Weatherford… (M) … and later from 1 SSE Hydro, where we also saw CFDGer Jared Guyer (N & O).

Not optimistic about tornadoes, but hoping for some structure shots, we went E. Corey and Rich parked with us, at a pull-off well removed from the main highway 1/2 mile S of the Hinton exit, and we watched for around an hour as the storm passed us to the NW, N and NE. Elke and I even got out some folding lawn chairs from the trunk and sat in them awhile, soaking in the majesty of the storm, standing alone in the N and NE sky, dominant and powerful in its domain, yet at the same time, delicately painted in the warming pastels of the waning sunlight (P-V).

Of course there was a very fitting moment of levity… (W)

As VOF Doswell mentioned, we had a great dinner later in abNorman, swapping the day’s chase tales and ideas about improving training and understanding among operational meteorologists. Congrats to all who were able to chase today and appreciatingly took in the skies, tornadic or not. I must say that one of the human highlights of the day was seeing the sheer joy Corey was deriving from the retreating sunset supercell and all its intricately sculpted, ever-evolving detail, someone thoroughly enraptured by a portion of the sky alight with convective wonder, and despite not having seen any of the hoses that day. He was right — that scene alone was worth all the effort of the intercept.

Thanks to Alnado and Chuck for their calls and observations (Chuck’s afield, Al’s from the CRT screen in Illinois). And I didn’t have to destroy any wayward tripods today. 🙂 –RE

27 March 2004 – Western OK

March 27, 2004 by · Comments Off on 27 March 2004 – Western OK
Filed under: Forecast 

sfc map


Well, today is only a little clearer than mud, although the reasonable target area is fairly narrow. The near-MAULs and weak cap on the morning AMA/MAF raobs and weak cap indicate that, for discrete storms, it may be an early show, and that we need to get on the road soon. [I say near-MAUL because the UL is not exactly true…those layers had lapse rates weaker than absolutely unstable.]

John Hart’s sounding pageis a great way to look at RAOBS, BTW…in a way more visually appealing to me, and that I can read much easier than the UCAR or COD displays.

Alnado’s sfc map as of 11:10:34 CST shows the dryline/cold front intersection a little NE of GCK, dryline SSW through Beaver County to just W of Canadian, moving E through the Post/Slaton area and already past MAF. The dryline is mixing and advecting nicely off the Caprock, a process which shall continue through the remainder of the afternoon until it crosses into OK. I do see some evidence for a weakly baroclinic and kinematic (wind shift) ENE-WSW boundary, as Bobby mentioned, just S of the Red River, which would lift N through the afternoon.

Examination of the sfc maps show a relative dry hole down in central and west-central TX, with dew points mid-upper 50s F, and which has been advertised by the Eta for several days now. Gripe all you want, justifiably, about that model’s other problems related to severe convective forecasting; but it seems to pick up on these dry holes well. [29 May 1 Kress-Turkey storm was badly assaulted by inflow trajectories from an even more pronounced dry hole.] This is something to watch for the farther S one chooses to play a storm. Therefore I am not inclined to go too far S of the Red River, if at all.

Farther N, generally N of I-40, VIS imagery shows there is a narrower window of optimal diabatic heating between the W side of the pre-drylinear clouds/storms and the dryline itself. It is possible to get a tornadic storm farther N, but lower probability IMO, particlularly with the front rampaging into NW OK later today. Farther S along the dryline in SW OK, the midlevel flow should strengthen and become more westerly with time this afternoon as the main trough impinges upon the area, increasing crossover and absolute 0-6 km AGL shear.

These factors bracket my area down to the CSM-CDS corridor. We’ll head WSW past the Wichita Mountains, and “go visual.”

The hoards will be out. If a few careless, unthinking yahoos leave tripods set up in active traffic lanes, their loss! I do not plan to drive *around* such equipment as in the past. My front end already has some damage, so a little more won’t matter.


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