May 8, 2005

Today would bring another chance for severe storms in the southern Plains. For the previous several days, I was not overly excited at the chase prospects. Moisture would still be limited, and shear profiles would be much less favorable than they were the day before. Computer forecast models had consistently been forecasting winds at the 250mb level to be out of the due south. One concern was that there would be extensive anvil seeding on storms that formed along the N-S oriented dryline. In addition, the models were also forecasting a large MCS to develop over south-central Texas, which would prevent much moisture from streaming northward into Oklahoma. These concerns were both realized this afternoon. Although I was not overly impressed with the setup, I kept an eye on things all afternoon in case something interesting happened close to home.

I spent much of the afternoon waiting at home, watching clusters of storms both on radar and out my window briefly go up, move northward, then fizzle over southwestern Oklahoma. This continued for a couple of hours. But by around 5pm, I noticed a couple of severe warned cells between Lawton and Norman which had been persistent. These had held together long enough that I decided they were worth a look. After being briefly delayed by a door to door salesman, I packed up my cameras and headed south on I-35 to intercept these cells.

At the time I left, there were two cells in progress - one to the north entering McClain County, and another to the south entering Garvin County. I decided to target the cell entering Garvin County. After skimming the edge of the precip core of the McClain County cell, I set my sights on the Garvin County cell. I pulled over near the Hwy 19/I-35 intersection just west of Pauls Valley and was greeted to the sight of a high based shelf cloud with a bluish green precip core behind it. I got out of my car to take a couple of pictures, then went west on Hwy 19 a couple miles. After I got overtaken by the storm's outflow, I decided to turn around and head back east towards Pauls Valley. Lots of dust was kicked up as the outflow surged ahead of the storm. I continued east on Hwy 19 through Pauls Valley to get back ahead of the outflow, where I got back ahead of it east of town. Once east of Pauls Valley, I pulled over periodically to get pictures of the advancing shelf cloud. The shelf cloud was a sight to behold with its multitiered structure and bluish green precip core, but I was unable to stay at one spot too long as it was moving east at about 35 mph. I finally was far enough east of the storm near Ada where I pulled over and tried to get some video, but again the storm's leading edge got on top of me rather quickly and I was forced to make a hasty retreat as strong outflow winds buffeted my tripod and my car. I went ahead and let the storm overtake me for good in Ada, where I got to witness another mini duststorm near the East Central University Campus. The storm was in a weakening phase as rain was not overly heavy and there was no hail, and with the sun going down I decided to head back to Norman.

Digital images

Total Mileage: 155 miles
Total Driving Time: 3 hours, 41 minutes

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