April Fools chase 2006






after a data stop in Enid, my gut feeling was that quality BL moisture would struggle to make it up to my preferred target of Beaver/Perryton/Woodward.  thus I headed south on 83 toward Shamrock.  while en route... this storm developed just to my west (near Wellington), while several other storms developed farther south (southwest of Childress).  it wasn't an easy decision... but I let this storm go and chose the more southern target--partly due to the high-based nature of this storm (though this wasn't particularly surprising, since it had just recently developed).
i intercepted the still-multicellular storm complex in Childress, and immediately headed just east of town to get a view from the inflow region of the storms.  this is a low-contrast photo of the forward flank gust front of the leading storm cell.
i kept heading east as new cells continued to backbuild to the south and the whole complex of storms moved slowly northeastward... really hoping a supercell would evolve on the southern flank.  it never happened.  i moved just south of Quanah to get this photo of the southern flank of the complex.
As the complex moved closer, I spotted a very low-to-the-ground inflow band feeding into the storm.
After noticing a lot of dust being kicked up directly in the city of Quanah as the storm approached the city, I quickly headed north and then east of town on Highway 6 for a closer look.  The dynamic circulation in this photo began to my immediate northwest.  I was a little awestruck and wondered if this could somehow be a tornadic circulation.  Moments later, my moderate southeaterly inflow was replaced by a cool westerly blast and I knew I was witnessing a gustnado.
The circulation tightened up dramatically (better seen in video)...
then, in an eye-blink, took a right turn towards me.  I scrambled to roll up my window and did so just as the gustnado spun itself apart atop my car and blasted me with gravel and dirt.  I headed slowly east again as sheets of dirt lifted all around me.  It was a pretty intense experience.
A little farther east, looking north at the nose of evolving bow echo.
Obligatory sunset shot from north of Vernon, TX.
This is what chased me the entire way home.  I ducked in and out of it west of Lawton, and then again in OKC.  Accerlating ahead of it the second time was really quite difficult, as I was trying to best its 55mph forward motion without hydroplaning.  Zombified, I slept 3 hours and ultimately made it to my target city in extreme northeast Missouri the next afternoon.....  but bad roads, bad timing, bad luck, and perhaps a faulty forecast meant I would be ~15 minutes too far behind to make it to southwest IA for the fast-moving warm front tornadoes.  I guess should have gotten a room in Lawton, slept in, and headed for the Missouri bootheel instead...