Chris Kridler's Sky Diary: storm chasing, photography and rainy-day tales

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gallery: May 21, 2011

May 21, 2011: I targeted Ardmore in southern Oklahoma today as a starting point, due to a potentially favorable spin in the atmosphere and huge instability, among other things. When I got there after driving from Wichita, I couldn't help driving just a bit farther to Marietta, just north of the Texas border. (Also, I left the Ardmore truck stop because a skunk was wandering around, and I'd almost stepped on it when I attempted to get out of my car.) I was anxious over an already-reported tornado on the ground in Texas, but like everything in Texas, it was really far away. I chose to remain in my target area, watching cloud towers push up and break apart - until one started to look as if it meant it. It had crisp, billowing convection and began to cut a gorgeous shape in the sky. When I got up close enough to see the base, rotation was evident. At first, it had a multi-vortex appearance and produced a couple of needle funnels in this mode. Later, it put down short-lived tornadoes. And much later, as this storm died, another to its north produced a tornado just outside Ada, Oklahoma. I got to it just in time. Share

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image, or view these photos as a gallery. From the gallery pages, click the "up" arrow to return to this index.

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21 MAY 2011 - My initial target for May 21 was Ardmore, Oklahoma. I briefly drifted south, then north, hoping the turkey towers would dig in. Finally, this one did. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - I took a quick shot of the updraft's convection as I got closer. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - As I got close, south of the town of Sulphur, I got a look at the base. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com
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21 MAY 2011 - Rotation was apparent, and a funnel feature formed. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - Slightly north, the rotating wall cloud formed a couple of needle funnels and had a multi-vortex appearance. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - More winding roads and trees later, I got to the business end of the storm on the other side of town, where it formed a more serious funnel. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com
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21 MAY 2011 - After that attempt, the storm reorganized east of town. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - It was clearly rotating. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - First, a needle tornado touched down. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com
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21 MAY 2011 - Then a second tornado formed, touching down briefly. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - Here's the funnel. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - Its tendrils twisted on the ground. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com
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21 MAY 2011 - Here's a more zoomed-in shot from video. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - The storm formed another brief funnel, and then I tried to catch up with it only to be caught by a long, slow train. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - As I tried to catch up with it near Roff, I glimpsed the huge new storm that had formed to the northwest. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com
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21 MAY 2011 - My storm was dying, but I saw some of the tornado damage - a couple of power poles down, and tree damage. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - I realized I could get to the newer storm northwest of Ada, so I pushed north and began driving northwest around the loop on the west side of town. This was the view. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - I'd seen a wall cloud on the base, and as I crested the train overpass, a tornado was on the ground. I stopped to get shots. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com
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21 MAY 2011 - My dash cam recorded video of the tornado. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - Here's a still shot, murky in the haze and growing darkness. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - Another shot of the amazing structure with the funnel. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com
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21 MAY 2011 - From the perspective of my video, this looked like another funnel. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - The funnel lifted, but the structure was still awesome. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - A new wall cloud couldn't quite get its act together, but there was some great lightning. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com
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21 MAY 2011 - I loved the light. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - The still-rotating storm had a little more lightning left to give, but it quickly weakened. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com 21 MAY 2011 - Brad, Dave and crew got a close view of the Ada tornado, and they checked out their catch, along with lots of other chasers at Applebees. Photo by Chris Kridler, chriskridler.com

2011 reports and photos

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