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16 May 2017:
Texas-Oklahoma tornadoes

May 16, 2017: This was almost the chase that didn't happen. My car needed a crucial part after overheating, and it wasn't available anywhere near where I was staying in Perryton, Texas, so I paid a courier to have it delivered - and the wrong part arrived, killing our chance to chase a day with solid tornado potential. Fortunately, saving the day for Kathy Velasquez and myself, our friends Matt Crowther, Betsy Abrams and Chuck Fallis saw our stranded status and picked us up. The chase was on. Share

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image or start a slide show with captions.

    We headed south out of Perryton, aiming for cells forming near and south of I-40. Here's our first look at the anvil of our target cell.
    We worked our way southeast of McLean and moved northwest toward the storm as a wall cloud formed.
    An initial funnel and possible tornado formed.
    It really looked like there might be circulation on the ground at this point.
    The second funnel/new tornado followed at 4:40 p.m.
    It had a nice shape.
    The tornado became an elephant trunk.
    Another shot of the elephant trunk tornado.
    The tornado vanished into the rain, almost a cone at this point.
    Choices, choices. The northern cell produced the tornado we just saw, but visibility wasn't great.
    We opted to head for the southern cell.
    Betsy and Matt, pilot and co-pilot.
    Wow, this one was a beauty! Gorgeous supercell structure and obvious rotation.
    This is the cell that would eventually spawn the Elk City tornado.
    Another look at the structure.
    Visibility was becoming obscured as it moved northeast.
    We encountered many chasers, including Jack Corso and Steve Sponsler.
    Another look into the grunge. We avoided the big hail.
    Betsy and Matt pick up spiky hail.
    Betsy holds some of the hail, up to three inches wide, for inspection.
      Flooding on the back roads slowed us as we followed the cell into Oklahoma.
      On its way to producing a monster wedge tornado at Elk City, the storm was still pretty, but we couldn't get a good look into the rain.
      Our first look at the tornado damage at Elk City, Oklahoma, was just snapped trees.
      Power lines were downed and metal buildings especially hard hit.
      A trailer was tossed into the road.
      Many homes were damaged in Elk City.
      The industrial area was ripped apart.
      We gave up the chase and watched the storms retreat.
      Convection continued to bubble as the storms moved east and we headed back to our hotel.

    2017 reports and photos | blog | main gallery page

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