April 9, 2004

Today featured a setup that did not look very promising. A fairly significant late season cold front was expected to move south through Oklahoma this afternoon. Surging cold front days usually end up being a big disappointment, so that was one thing that was not exciting me. Another thing I was a little concerned about was the lack of moisture. As had been the problem all spring so far, moisture had been slow to return northward from the Gulf Region. But there already had been two days this year the atmosphere cranked out tornadoes in Oklahoma despite less than ideal moisture, so that wasn't as much of a minus. But still I would keep an eye on this day as I would only have to work until 3pm. It would also be the last threat of any severe weather in central Oklahoma for a while.

The day started off in Norman with temps in the 50s and rain from the remnants of last night's MCS over the Texas Panhandle. But the warm front was quick to move northward, with temperatures making it into the mid 70s by early afternoon. The temperature gradient along the front tightened during the afternoon with temperatures in the low to mid 50s to the north and mid to upper 70s to the south. Just as I got off work at 3pm, a very high based cell passed just north of Norman - the high base a sign there is not much moisture. I got home to see that the front was draped WNW-ESE from about Watonga to Guthrie to Shawnee. A punch of surface southwest winds were rapidly making their way through southwest Oklahoma towards I-35. Several small cells were developing over and to the east of the OKC area, but the one that interested me the most was one developing in the Kingfisher area. This cell was just north of the front, where winds were easterly and temperatures AND dewpoints were in the low 60s. I watched on radar as this cell developed a hook. Since this cell had been persistent and the air in this region wasn't nearly as cold as the air further east, I decided to get in my car and take a look at this thing. So at 4:15pm, I left Norman and went up I-35 towards the Guthrie area. But by the time I got to Frontier City, lots of scud and cold air had begun surging southwest towards me and the NWS had cancelled the warning they had out for the cell. Cumulus towers began to turn soft and fizzle as they got undercut by the front. So I then decided to blow off that area and head east, but got delayed by traffic at the I-40/I-240 interchange so I decided to head home. The cold front made it through Norman while I was gone, with temperatures falling from the mid 70s to mid 60s.

It was a bit disappointing to see the cell north of the OKC area dissipate as fast as it did, but with the surging front and lack of moisture I wasn't expecting it to be a really huge day anyway. But it was a nice warmup for when the real season gets in gear later on.

Total Mileage: 94 miles
Total Driving Time: 2 hours, 1 minute

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