June 5, 2001

Things still had changed very little over the previous two days. The front was still in the same area and there was still lots of instability and shear. One change from the past few days was that the cap was weaker today, so storms would have an easier time firing. There was no reason not to target southern Kansas again, but instead I decided to go towards the triple point in northwestern Oklahoma - as that's where the tornadic storms fired the day before.

For the third day in a row, I left Norman at around 3:30pm. I took US 81 up to Enid, then started going west on US 412. As I headed west out of Enid, I began to see some anvil blowoff from storms to my west and northwest. Once I was approaching Orienta, it became clear there were two separate storms....one appeared to be around Woods County and the other appeared to be near Woodward County. Since I was in an area of terrible NOAA Wx Radio reception I had to trust my visual here, but going visual wasn't helping much either as I was entering some difficult terrain. Still, I was seeing a wall cloud on the Woods County storm from a distance of about 40 miles. The wall cloud was still holding together by the time I got to the intersection of US 412 and US 281, so I started going north on 281 to go after this storm. As I was making this turn, I noticed what could have either been a debris cloud or scud about 15 miles to my west. There appeared to be a small funnel pointing down from the rain free base towards this feature at a 45 degree angle. I can't be positive since I only saw this feature for 4 seconds before it disappeared behind the terrain. I kept going north hoping to get a view of this feature but the terrain just wouldn't yield a clear view to the west. So after a few miles I turned around and headed back to the 281/412 intersection. Of course, by the time I got back there the feature was gone. Was this a landspout??? Or just some scud???? Whatever it was, it occurred around 6:42pm and was probably located close to the town of Mooreland.

Although the Woods County storm was still producing a nice wall cloud, I decided to blow it off and focus on the Woodward County storm. I went west on US 412 for a few miles. Near the town of Quinlan, the rain free base started taking in a lot of scud. This scud started to rotate weakly so I pulled off to the side of the road to watch the storm. As I sat on the side of the road I noticed the storm had a clear slot and was forming a wall cloud. The storm was within 5 miles of me and heading in my direction, so I decided to head back to the intersection of 281 and 412.

Just moments before I got back to the intersection, a tornado warning was issued for this storm. I looked back to the west to see that the wall cloud had become well developed - looking much like the one that was on the Woods County storm. From this intersection, I had a perfect view of the wall cloud, so I parked here for more than 20 minutes to watch this storm as it slowly moved east towards my location. The wall cloud was displaying varying degrees of vertical motion and rotation, but I never saw any obvious signs of circulation at the surface. The storm was close to my location by 7:35pm, so I went east again a few miles. By the time I pulled over again, the storm appeared to have become outflow dominant and was falling apart. Before it did though, the updraft base began rapidly taking in a narrow column of condensation. This condensation column was showing rapid vertical motion and made for a quite convincing tornado look-alike, but it was not rotating. I did see a sheriff racing towards this "tornado" with emergency lights flashing, so at least one person was fooled. Once this condensation column began to fall apart the storm really seemed to dissipate. Darkness would soon set in as well, so I decided to call it a day and head home.

I would give today a 10 out of 14. The terrain made this storm chase an adventure, but once I found a spot with a good vantagepoint I was treated to a pretty, slow-moving storm I had practically all to myself. Only a couple of other people shared the intersection with me to watch the storm. I don't think any of them were spotters or chasers, though. One lady came up to me telling me she had a newborn baby (born 5/31) in the car, and asked me what the best way to get away from the storm was. I told her to go east. I did see the 4-Warn Chase Van drive by, following the storm up US 281 into the difficult terrain. I guess everyone else was either getting a storm further to the west near Woodward, getting the storms in Woods County, or up in southern Kansas.

Following are some video captures from today's chase...

Total Chase Mileage: 362 miles
Total Chase Time: 8 hours, 2 minutes

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