Casual Country Drive

July 11, 2013 by · Comments Off on Casual Country Drive
Filed under: Summary 

Mustang OK
8 May 13

SHORT: Casual intercept of some multicellular to marginally supercellular storms on the E edge of a favorable air mass.

On this day, I didn’t expect to be out there storm observing. I had a shift beginning at 9 p.m., and the best supercell potential along the dryline was too far SW and W for any meaningful intercept activities. However, after a late-afternoon wake-up, some convection had fired W of the OKC metro area in the warm sector and along outflow/differential-heating zones from early-day activity.

I knew this wouldn’t be an important tornado setup, because of the potential for messy storm modes and the lack of more robust deep-layer winds, but perhaps one of these initially high-based storms could rotate and exhibit photogenic structures before entering drier air closer to home. Elke and I made the ad-hoc decision to go for a casual country drive out to the Tuttle-Yukon area for 2-3 hours–one that also involved some elements of a convective sky.

Storms that had looked strong W of OKC moved into the dry air and weakened– a fate sure to befall those developing on the W side of the same cluster. Still, the boundary was weakening and moving slowly E and NE, expanding the moist sector in that direction through late afternoon and evening. Perhaps storms could follow us back home and, as a bonus, offer some always-needed rain.

Terrain between Tuttle and Minco can get rather choppy, thanks to easy erosion of the Permian red-clay shales and siltstone layers into the nearby Canadian River valley. Still, we found a vantage a few miles WNW of Mustang to watch a marginal supercell that was becoming elevated over the boundary put on one last structure show.

Except for the singing birds, mooing cows, and an occasional local resident puttering along the back road, we had the farm and sky scene all to ourselves for about an hour as this storm merged into the cluster to its N, and other convection formed on its trailing flank. Despite dealing with flimsier convection than observers were enjoying at greater distances, it was a nice relief to enjoy such a relaxing storm experience without any pressure or enticement to be elsewhere, and to do so as an appreciative couple.

Many more storms soon developed and filled in rapidly, between the initial cluster to our W-NW and dryline storms over SW OK. These started flinging CGs ever closer to us, so we eased back into Mustang for a fast-food dinner. The band of storms grew in length and intensity, forming a jagged squall line with occasional, embedded bowing segments.

This system followed us closely back down OK-4 and OK-9 to home in Norman, whereupon I had to turn right around and head to work. I got there in plenty of time, but actually had to stay outside in the vehicle and wait for the lightning-infused core to pass, pinging NSSL Ping with reports of heavy rain, small hail and minor flooding before heading inside.