May 25, 2011

May 25: Holding Steady in Oklahoma

Today is a down day for us.

We've had a change in plans.  Although there is a reasonable pattern for severe storms in eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle tomorrow....there is a far better risk for organized convection and supercells in the eastern half of Oklahoma on Friday.  Right now, the plan is for Thom to change his flight to Oklahoma City or Tulsa for Saturday morning.   We'll make a final decision about that tomorrow morning.  But tonight and perhaps tomorrow we'll be staying in Norman.

This gives Thom a chance to see the National Weather Center (aka Intergalactic Weather Center) and us a chance to visit with Chuck and Vickie.

Meanwhile, we had an illustration yesterday of why Tornado Warnings, even if very timely, don't work very well anymore out here.  The server at the Starbucks in Enid yesterday told us that when she hears a Tornado Warning she heads outside to check the sky.  Mostly, that would be OK, of course, because most tornadoes are small, and the tornado warnings are kind of general cities they turn on the sirens to warn the whole town.

In the case of Joplin on May 22, the tornado was so large and fast moving that any action besides taking cover was probably fatal.  I am trying to get permission to repost what one of my storm chase colleagues related about his experiences in Joplin that day to illustrate.