May 23rd 2016 Woodward, OK Tornadoes

Tornadoes: 4

Hail: (Golf Ball 1.5″)

Wind (None)

Chasers encountered: Gabe Garfield, Tim Marquis, Paulina.

Miles: ??

Another awesome day keeping the streak alive. Started the day in Norman around 10 am. I had to pay the TxDot parking ticket from the day earlier. (FU Wheeler County Texas). We shot west on I-40 again before cutting north for Woodward. High res cams were highlighting activity on the Kansas side of the border so we decided to push as far north as we could.  We arrived in Laverne, Oklahoma around 2pm as the dryline was starting to push a little east.  An SPC MD had come out while we were on the road showing a potential outflow boundary from morning convection draped east to west intersecting the dryline.  They also highlighted areas in the southern panhandle near Turkey, Texas close to where we were yesterday.  The crowds had been split pretty evenly by the large risk area but much of the traffic such as TWIRL seemed to be further south and west.

We continued to sit in Laverne tossing the softball for another hour or so as the dryline and cu field started to bubble. This was my first time sitting behind the dryline on a chase day and it was really cool to see the disparity in the clouds on either side. After a while we pushed east and north to Buffalo, Oklahoma and sat outside the airport. We then noticed some robust looking towers going up north of the border near Coldwater, Kansas. One of the towers had a very odd protrusion from the base but we weren’t able to see it well and decided to push onwards. Chase on! We pushed north got to the storms and were surprised to see they were very sickly.  LP structure through the whole storm with very small albeit circular bases.  Our storm became severe warned for hail but looked particularly unimpressive. The one plus was that the storm had some strong inflow to it. and it looked very picturesque churning in an empty wheat field.

We decided to sit and wait hoping things would pick up but they didn’t. The storm fizzled and the whole car was bummed. We thought we had busted and the streak was going to die. Little did we know there was a surprise waiting for us. I kept checking the radar hoping form something to show up. A little blip south and west of Woodward was persistent. I managed to round the guys up and we blasted south on State Route 1 out of Coldwater, Ks. Around the border the tower came into view and it was one of the most gorgeous sights I have ever seen. It was a tall, mostly vertical, and a back sheared monster. Most of the other towers were sheared, over this one was not.

We skirted the developing core North of Woodward on Ok 34. When we emerged on the inflow side and were surprised to look to our west and see a developing midlevel funnel out of the vaulted updraft. Gabe Garfield and Tim marquis had just called Kelton and we were letting them know we were on the storm and headed their way. We cut through the west side of woodward and pulled over. We then came face to face with some of the best storm structure Ive ever seen. It was a nearly perfect circular meso with a vaulted updraft.

We watched it spin for about 25 mins as a couple of german chasers pulled up next to us. The storm cycled several times with ragged wall clouds and a prominent beaver tail.  We decided to meet with Tim, Gabe, and Paulina on a dirt road east of Woodward. We tried to get closer as the storm started to ramp up.  It began throwing half dollar sized hail at us and we bailed back south and west. We came across a new farm road that put us in a gorgeous field with a great view of the storm. It dropped possibly 3 tornadoes as the sun set. It was perfect.


We followed the storm till dark where it produced another brief tornado we could see through the lightning. We called it a day, grabbed some Arbys and headed home.

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