May 19, 2010

May 19: Arrival and Long Drive

We changed our flight to a 6:25 Am departure (from 9:20 AM), to give us a shot at the terrific setup forecast for central Oklahoma. It was a long shot....we figured 590 miles to get to the Clinton-Taloga area, and then if and only if the storms did not fire early and stayed back west.

As it is, the storms DID fire early, and were along I35 before we got to the Oklahoma border about 150 miles west of that at around 7PM. Faced with still doing a "catch-up chase" (called "stern chase" by severe weather meteorologists) to storms moving away from us, we called it a day, and pulled back to overnight in Dodge City KS.

Turns out that there was enough vertical shear and low level instability to generate a class of storms called "low topped" supercells in western KS. We arrived in Dodge City to the sound of tornado sirens, and an interesting looking sky near sunset, with a low hanging base with inflow fingers. Too dark for pictures. Here's a radar plot.