May 2, 2001

Today was a slight risk day in the Texas panhandle, northwestern Oklahoma, and southern Kansas. Not the best looking day in the world but since I didn't have to work tonight and I hadn't seen a storm in nearly two weeks I thought what the heck. A fairly sharp cold front draped across southern Kansas, northwest Oklahoma, and the Texas panhandle while a dryline was expected to move eastward from the Texas panhandle into far western Oklahoma by early evening. There were two areas I was looking at for development - in northwest Oklahoma near the intersection of the dryline and cold front, and southwest Oklahoma where a dryline bulge would cause winds to back locally. The RUC model indicated that there would be better instability and a weaker cap in northwest Oklahoma so this was the area I targeted.

I left Norman at 2:50pm and drove west on I-40 to US 270/281. From there I went northwest until I got to the intersection of US 270/281 and Hwy 51. Here I stopped and waited for storms to fire. A couple of pathetic updrafts tried to go up along the cold front off to the distant northwest along the cold front but these quickly fizzled. But off to the west I soon began to make out an anvil. Not knowing how far south the storm extended I got in my car and continued up US 270/281 to Seiling then dropped south on US 183.

As I entered Custer County I learned of a severe thunderstorm warning to my west in Roger Mills County. I also had learned that storms were also moving into southwest Oklahoma but since the Roger Mills County storm was closer I went after this one. By this time the storm had spread a huge anvil all over the area, and as I got close it was apparent that it was fairly weak and unorganized. Just for the heck of it, I continued to follow the storm into Woodward County. By this time the sun was setting and the storm was falling apart, so I knew I would not be at great risk by driving through the core. I got into some heavy rain and pea-sized hail in southeastern Woodward County around 8pm, then continued on my way back to Norman.

I would give today a 10 out of 18. Although the storms were not particularly intense they were still quite spectacular since visibility was good and they were backlit by the setting sun.

Total Chase Mileage: 427 miles
Total Chase Time: 8 hours, 32 minutes

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