June 3, 2001

A well-defined stationary front was draped east-west close to the KS/OK border today. The cap would be strong today but the wind shear and instability was great enough for any storm that did form to go nuts. From looking at the RUC model, it looked like the cap would weaken just enough between Medford OK and Wellington KS for storms to develop. I left Norman at around 3:30pm and headed north on I-35, getting great gas mileage as I was being pushed along by the southerly winds. I then took US 60 west towards Lamont, where I began seeing towers going up far to my north-northwest. Once I got to Pond Creek, I turned north on US 81 to pursue these towers.

Although the towers were looking good at first, they quickly fizzled. I continued to watch tower after tower go through the cycle of rapidly developing and rapidly fizzling as I continued north on US 81. By the time I crossed into Kansas, I found myself being followed by a caravan of chasers. I had figured by this time (7:15pm) the cap was too strong and was ready to go home. But instead of turning around, I thought I would test the chasers who were tagging along. Sure enough, they followed my every move through the towns of Caldwell and South Haven. I had noticed these chasers would not turn on their turn signal until I did, so at one intersection I made a turn without using my signal. Sure enough, they didn't either. They stopped following me just before I got to Wellington - by then we were north of the front and I think they had realized what I was doing.

After that, I headed back south into Oklahoma. When I got to Tonkawa, I looked to my northwest and saw a huge backsheared anvil. I figured it would have been dark by the time I went back up there to go get it so I continued on my way home. Several other chasers also made the same mistake and went home early, but those who stuck it out caught a couple of tornadoes in southern Kansas before dark.

Today's chase was a 10 out of 95. Lesson learned today: NEVER give up until it gets dark!!!!

Total Chase Mileage: 393 miles
Total Chase Time: 7 hours, 11 minutes

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