May 22, 2005

Today was a very marginal setup with little expected. But being a weekend and the fact there had been no chase opportunites in the area since the 13th, it was enough to convince me to go out in case something happened. Weak westnorthwesterly flow aloft and a very strong cap over the area would be strong factors against any noteworthy storms forming today, but with strong heating and moisture pooling just north of a stationary front draped across northern Oklahoma, there was a slight chance some isolated storms may fire along the front. The RUC indicated this as well, breaking out precipitation across northern Oklahoma late in the afternoon. Based on this I decided to head up to northern Oklahoma in case something fired along the front.

I left Norman just after 4pm and headed north up I-35. Skies were mostly clear and temperatures were unseasonably warm, with temperatures in the upper 90s. As I approached Guthrie I began seeing scattered cumulus clouds indicitative of the stationary front. I looked off to the northeast to see a towering cumulus building off in the distance. Once again I was going to be enduring a turkey tower chase that would test my patience, as updraft towers would go through cycles of looking promising for 5-10 minutes before fizzling out. Still I kept an eye on it as it was the only area of towering cumulus in sight. I turned east on US 60 and raced east towards the cell. For a few minutes it appeared the cumulus towers had become a mature thunderstorm, but after I passed through Ponca City the storm fizzled into an orphan anvil - leaving a bunch of mid-level Accas in its wake. Seeing no signs of redevelopment I decided to turn around east of Pawhuska and begin heading back west, in part in case something new tried to form further west, but mostly so I would be closer to home. By the time I got back to I-35 the sun was going down and there were no signs of new development, so I decided to continue back to Norman.

Again, it was another frustrating day - the third day this month I've gone out where we couldn't get a storm to sustain itself. But at the same time it wasn't totally unexpected either as the cap was expected to be quite strong and shear profiles over the area weren't great. Storms did go up in southerneastern Kansas after dark when the low level jet kicked in, which dropped some large hail over that area.

Total Mileage: 375 miles
Total Driving Time: 6 hours, 27 minutes

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