Start: Randlett, OK
End: Stillwater, OK
This was the third consecutive chase day with good-to-excellent prospects. SPC again showed an enhanced slight risk with a 10% tornado risk, primarily in NC and NE Oklahoma, north of I-40. We were in good shape position-wise, with an easy two-hour drive from Randlett (near the Red River along I-44) to Oklahoma City and Guthrie. However, storms developed quite early. Big towers were going up just north of Guthrie as we waddled out of our Arbys lunch stop! This was displeasing, as early storm development usually means a weak cap. And a weak cap often portends a quick transition from discrete severe storms to non-discrete junky and messy storms. This is basically how things went in Oklahoma today.
Our first good storm in the target area today was moving eastward along Route 33 from Kingfisher. When we arrived on its eastern side (above), it was already an HP supercell, and it was spilling out cool air to some extent. Yuck. Nevertheless, it was a nasty-looking beast, and it had some good air to move into. The storm chased us eastward through Guthrie, and a second supercell was now not too far to its south. I elected to stay with the north storm. We stayed on 33 to the Perkins area, and jumped from high point to high point where the trees were not too dense in order to check out the storm structure behind us and to the southwest.
The structure was not bad at all, and at one spot the horses galloped in a cyclonic fashion in the foreground. A tornado was reported near Perkins with the storm, about the time that the 5th (of 7) image above was taken, looking west towards Perkins. We failed to observe the tornado. Either we were driving east when it occurred, or trees were blocking our view, or rain quickly wrapped around it and blocked our view. Excuses, excuses.
We continued to stay with the increasingly disorganized and linear activity beyond Cushing and Drumright. Though it was barely 4 p.m., the chase day had deteriorated significantly and the prospects for anything interesting were slim. We threw in the towel in time for a daytime dinner in Stillwater.
This was the third consecutive day with a 10 percent tornado risk in prime southern Great Plains chase territory, and it was the third consecutive day with very disappointing tornado results, from a storm chaser’s perspective of course! For much of the May/June chase period, it seemed that each and every decent tornado opportunity which received a 10-percent risk wound up a dud, for the most part. It was just one of those years!
On May 12, a down day, we poked around Wakita and the Great Salt Plains Lake (see photos below). The following day required a very short drive from Enid to Oklahoma City for the end of Tour 2.