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18 May 2017:
Oklahoma tornado and beautiful storms

May 18, 2017: The day started with a "high risk" forecast issued by the Storm Prediction Center. I hate chasing high risks. I've had high-risk busts or missed fast-moving, violent wedges on high-risk days. I've never had a great high-risk chase. At least today, Kathy Velasquez and I targeted northwest Oklahoma, broke the high-risk tornado curse and saw one near Waynoka. There were many pretty sights today, even if all of them were far too brief. Share

The tornado chase took us around northwest Oklahoma. 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 or start a slide show with captions.

    The dreaded "high risk" from the Storm Prediction Center. This came with a 30 percent hatched risk of tornadoes.
    While we awaited Armageddon, we photographed beautiful cirrus clouds north of Woodward.
    Kathy and Cow survey the skies.
    Gambit one: We decided to intercept the northern storm moving toward Woodward and dropped south to meet it.
    Amid grungy visibility, there appeared to be a hint of a wall cloud.
    A multi-image panorama shows the storm's interesting structure. We briefly pursued it, then opted to go after a less messy cell to the southeast.
    A large tornado was reported with the storm near Chester as we waited out the hail core. We'd caught up with some of my storm-chasing friends, but they'd moved through the core to wait on the other side and caught a glimpse of it.
    Nevertheless, as we came through the fringes of the hail, we were rewarded with this sight - a new tornado forming.
    We hastened to get a better view but were hindered by hills and precipitation.
    A brief moment of clarity! Despite focus issues, I managed to get this shot showing the fabulous wall cloud structure and tornado. I really thought this would plant a huge tornado and stick around, but it didn't last long.
    We turned north toward Waynoka, and the funnel persisted as traffic buzzed by. Decision time . . .
    The storm was going into high-precipitation mode. Though it was likely it would produce again, we and our friends opted to drop south and west to intercept a more isolated storm west of Seiling, Oklahoma. Mammatus are seen behind the water tower, en route.
    Ah - this was the lovely storm that awaited us among the wind turbines. It was quite hazy, so I've edited my photos to bring out the structure.
    Here, I love the structure and the post-editing color with the wind turbines. What a landscape!
    This is a multi-image panorama of the storm. Kathy is taking photos from inside my Honda Element.
    As it gained on us, we decided to move east.
    Here's a quick shot as we briefly got ahead of it. I loved these furrowed fields.
    We ran into Matt Crowther and Betsy Abrams near Fairview.
    Another beautiful field with the shelf cloud.
    Here's another multi-image panorama of the storm.
    Here's the northern end of the shelf cloud over the wheat field.
    The shelf and whale's mouth appeared to eat up Fairview, Oklahoma, as the storm went overhead.
    Here's a look at the turbulent clouds.
    We got ahead of it again, catching up with friends. Here I pretend they aren't all on the road to the right!
    Wheat! Striated storm! Yes!
    There they are - the storm chasers.
    On the outskirts of Enid, we stopped to enjoy a serene sunset.
    The shelf cloud was tattered but still pretty.
    The setting sun lit up the mammatus clouds.
    And a last burst of color signaled the end of the chase.

2017 reports and photos | blog | main gallery page

All photos copyright 2017 by Chris Kridler,,