Oklahoma Chase - 4/17/13

Wednesday 4/17/13 was looking to be the big day of the week.  We had a 15% hatched tornado risk in SW Oklahoma and were very excited for the possibilities of the chase.  The setup was dependent on moisture coming far enough north and we were crossing our fingers that a potential crashing cold front from the north wasn't going to undercut storms.

It turned out to be the best chase of the year so far with a lot of beautiful structure and some excitement, but we did not get any tornadoes.

These two storms in Oklahoma got an earlier start than we were expecting.  TONS of chasers were out as you can see by the spotter network icons on the map below.  Some went north but most went to the southern storm, probably because it had slightly better air, and the northern storm had a likelihood of being compromised by the storm to the south.  It also appeared the storm to the north had formed behind the front, which was not a good thing.

About this time the storm started to finally get its act together a little bit with much more discernible structure than it had previously been showing.

This was my favorite part of the chase.  This bulbous lowering was rapidly rotating and had so much promise and movement.  We stood in awe just waiting for it to put down a tornado but for some reason it just couldn't do it.

At this time there were two tornado warned cells approaching Lawton.  This is a small town but has a decent sized population and we found ourselves off of the main road in a housing development.  It was tough to get a good view of the storm but we ended up finding a bit of a perch on top of a hill.  There was an obvious wall cloud and movement to the storm; it was alive.  We do want tornadoes but we definitely were not hoping for one at this time, as it was crossing over the town.

We maintained a view for several minutes as it moved along and started to display more of a gusty personality.  Once we lost visual we had to re-position to stay ahead of the storm.

We got back out in front of it one last time before dropping to the southern cell.  Shortly after the light drastically started to drop and we were struggling with staying ahead of the storm with the ever-deteriorating road network.  We then had a bit of a technical glitch with our laptop/data setup and decided to call the chase.