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Chase May 19 2003

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Route:Ardmore (OK) - Chickasha (OK) - Cole (OK) - Healdton (OK) - Wilson (OK) - Ardmore (OK)
Chasepartner(s):Saskia Mulder


CHASE LOG:
A hot and humid day in Oklahoma. But an active cold front should bring relief AND thunderstorms later in the afternoon. First we headed north towards Lake Chickasha. Here we tried to photograph the local wildlife and we succeeded. At 16 LT we went east towards the OKC metro area for a better reception of the NWR. We strandend near a small town called Cole, and at about 18 LT we heard about a severe thunderstorm watch. Storms tried to form in our area, but they had trouble to get their acts together. Soon a severe thunderstorm warning went out for a county to our south. We found that storm near Lindsay. It was mainly a rain producer. Another warning was given for a storm near Duncan, further south. While driving south on highway 76 we saw a storm near highway, 29 which looked like a supercell, but that wasn't the storm we were looking for. The Duncan storm now had a tornado warning as it moved over Loco, so we moved on. Near Healdton we found the rotating wall cloud.
There were lots of chasers around here, parking on the shoulder of the highway. After about 15 minutes the outflow took over and the wall cloud started to dissipate. We went south and stopped near US 70. The wall cloud was still present with some rotation visible. Just when I thought it would disappear, it produced a small horizontal funnel.
But the storm slowly died and lost it's severe thunderstorm warning as it approached Ardmore. Another storm formed near the cold front and near Ringling it got a T-storm warning for large hail. As we would like to do some lightning photography, we headed towards this storm in search of the lightning core. We went south on highway 76 and east on 32. Soon the storm surprised us as we had no idea how to get out of the rain again. Than the hail started...lots of hail and LOTS of noice! We were a bit frightened at that moment as we didn't know how large the hail would get. We made a bad decision to head into this core! Fortunately the hail didn't get bigger than quarters, but it took about 30 minutes to get out of the core. Near the I35 we got out of the rain as well and looked for a spot for photography. When we found one, the storm had move far further southeast, so we only saw an occasional crawler.
We went back to our motel when the lightning was too remote. While watching radar images on TWC we saw a new storm coming in our direction. So we went out again and stopped on the westside of Ardmore with an open view to the WNW. At the horizon we saw CG strikes coming our way rather fast. We set up for photography and tried to catch the strikes. Unfortunately it started to rain much too soon, so we couldn't get any close strikes. While sitting in our car in tremendous rainfall, CG's struck all around us. I guess about 25 CG's struck within 100 meters of our car. It was fun!


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© 2003 Bernard Hulshof