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

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9 May 2016:
Violent tornado near Elmore City, Oklahoma

May 9, 2016: My expectations were not high when I woke up in Wichita this morning, but it was clear there would be severe weather, with the most potential - given the upper-level flow and moisture - in southeastern Oklahoma. Known not-quite-affectionately to chasers as "the jungle," this is a very difficult area to chase, with hills and trees hindering visibility and navigation. Nonetheless, I hit the road. Though I looked at a number of forecast parameters, I was intrigued to see one little cell go up right where the HRRR model said it would. I arrived in its vicinity, near Elmore City, Oklahoma, when it was just a shower. As it grew, I observed eerie "fingers" (shear funnels, presumably) dangle briefly from the storm. Then it began to strengthen, and I dashed a bit east and south near Katie, Oklahoma, and found the top of a hill to observe the areas of rotation. One of these produced a tornado that became the most dramatic I had ever seen. It was on the ground for about 25 minutes. I worried it might run me over (though I had an escape route planned), but it stayed just to my south, where I had a view of its violent motion and could actually hear the tornado's roar. Unfortunately, I later learned there was a fatality along with damage to several homes in the area.

I was then late to get to the wedge tornado near Sulphur and saw it only from a distance. But I did see a pretty white tornado form near Connerville out of a negligible storm. Overall, it was an amazing day. Share

Video of entire life cycle of the violent tornado that hit in the Elmore City to Katie area of Oklahoma area on May 9, 2016 - plus a pretty white tornado at the end. For best quality, click on gear symbol at lower right of video and choose 1080HD. Video by Chris Kridler.

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.

Here's a shorter video of the Katie, Oklahoma, tornado on May 9, 2016. (The longer video, without music, is above.) For best quality, click on gear symbol at lower right of video and choose 1080HD. Video by Chris Kridler.

2016 reports and photos | blog | main gallery page

All photos copyright 2016 by Chris Kridler,,