Today started out earlier than I had planned. I was in the eastern part of Oklahoma City for the night, and figured we would be on the western edge of any high risk that went up- or perhaps a brief jog west. Once west, we would either choose to follow storms north or south of Oklahoma City- not through.
I originally targeted Watonga, but due to the cloud cover, decided to continue west to Clinton, OK. There, we stopped at a Loves for a break, and while in the Loves, the cloud cover had broken enough to allow several tall towers to go up. We got back on I-40 and headed east, and then up N2310 to OK 33 at Custer City, OK. These storms had started going severe, and were on a northeast track, so OK 33 was the perfect road to take, as it moved northeast until we reached OK 58. From there, we continued north on OK 58 towards the same towns we chased in yesterday.
A few miles up OK 58, and a clear, low wall cloud was developing at the base of one of the storms. Joey said, “I think that will produce a wedge tornado”. I said I didn’t know, but that we should keep watching it.
After a few minutes, we got to an area just south of Canton where we were just south-southeast of the wall cloud, so I drove a little ways down a dirt road and stopped. Within a few minutes, we had a tornado on the ground.
After a few minutes, the tornado became obscured by rain, so we headed north a little bit to try to catch it again. We never did catch that same tornado, but after a while, a new tornado formed from a new wall cloud, a much thinner tornado:
We watched it for several minutes and then proceeded north some more. We never were able to catch up with the storm again- between other chasers, the road network, and stopping to try to get data, it just never happened. Eventually, we ended up near Enid, OK and I made the decision to travel north and try to see a few storms going up behind the main line. I figured they would be moisture-starved and go linear quickly, but there was no way I could catch up and get through the now 40mph+ severe warned line to my east. I did get a nice shelf cloud type thing as my first attempt at a panoramic photo:
I stopped at the US-60/I-35 interchange outside of Tonkawa again and was able to connect to the internet. I could either go south and try to catch the next cell which might develop south of Oklahoma City, or go north where there was another piece of a squall line. Wichita radar was down, so I headed south on I-35.
Once we reached Oklahoma City, warnings in the Norman area were being cancelled, as the system had moved a long ways east. We decided to call it a night and began our trek west.
We made it as far as El Reno, where a tornado had done significant damage. I-40 was down to one lane while a crane lifted power lines over the interstate, and they removed a tractor trailer that had been thrown a long ways. Joey spotted a truck rearview mirror on the ground and maybe half a mile away, they were dragging the remains of a tractor trailer from off of a small hill. Most of the debris scattered around was unrecognizable. Lots of sheet metal.
We ended the night in Shamrock, TX at the Shamrock Inn. They could have left it at the “Sham Inn”, no water pressure (almost low enough to prevent the shower from working), most of the lights didn’t work, and a bunch of ungrounded outlets. The kicker was the fact that there was no key for our room, and the manager could open it with the master key only. At least it had a door chain… On the plus side, it did have internet, microwave and refrigerator.
Today’s journey is shown below. The red markers are where we saw tornadoes and the yellow mark is El Reno, where we went through a damage path.
Starting Odometer Reading: 209133
Ending Odometer Reading: 209646