April 29th 2016 Oklahoma Tornado

Tornadoes: 1

Hail: (Nickel 0.75″)

Wind (40 mph)

Chasers encountered: Austin King, Noah Meyers, and Tyler Bell.

Chased with:

James Gustina, Kelton Halbert, and Allie Brannan (First Tornado).

Miles: 105

Note: Left late got home early. Living in Oklahoma is the best!

We had been watching this day for a while as it looked like a pseudo warm front/ OFB would set up across central Oklahoma. Sure enough that morning we watched as dew point climbed into the low 70’s as the front drifted north. Some nice UH tracks were showing up and I was extremely confident something would happen. I had Kelton and Jamie ready to chase and decided to reach out to my friend Allie.  After convincing her to chase we saddled up and flew down I-44 as storms had gone up on the triple point. Ben Davic, CJ, and Tyler Snider had left 30 min earlier and were on the southern of the two storms that developed. Kelton zeroed in on the northern storm and its a good thing he did as it’s outflow quickly undercut the southern storm. We made contact with the storm near Apache and quickly realized this thing was a beast. It was a gnarly HP storm with rapid motion in the base. We had about 30 seconds to grab pictures and fly back north east. We realized quickly we would have to ride the notch to see anything of value.

We repositioned several times with quick glimpses of the wall cloud and rapid motion. After the 3rd time we stopped near Cement and the rain briefly cleared. It gave us a 30 second shot of a multi vortex tornado.  This tornado ended up doing EF-1 damage in Ninnekah, Oklahoma.

I was lucky enough to be part of the survey team the next day.  Unbeknownst to us at the time our first stopping spot was in the damage path of an EF-0 tornado. Had we not moved when we did we would have gotten munched. We continued riding in the notch but it became clear the storm was done with tornadoes as it bowed out.  At one point it tried to wrap up again on top of us as RFD cut us off. We punched through and got ahead of it. After a few tense moments we rode out the core at a gas station on Hwy 9 south of Norman.  As quick as it began, the chase was over and we were home. Can’t complain for a quick chase and getting Allie her first tornado!

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