We awoke in Colby, KS this morning and had a fairly quick FD as we were looking at a “hurry up and wait” kind of day/set up. The initial target was Woodward, OK. Several models were showing storms firing up in the TX panhandle to western Oklahoma behind some initial morning convection sweeping through Oklahoma. Like most other days on this trip, models show the storms initially discrete before congealing into a cluster in the 21z to 0z time frame. There are multiple sources of lift (outflow boundaries, low pressure) but with fairly weak upper level winds and shear. There is plenty of instability however, and we are fairly confident that we can get on a fairly structured storm today and hopefully witness some Panhandle magic.
Kook’s in Greensburg, KS
We stopped at Kooks deli in Greensburg, KS and had a delicious lunch, a storm chase tradition, and a little tornado history lesson. From there we finished our journey to Woodward and killed a few hours at a large park that we enjoyed very much last year waiting for initiation. It took a while but winds finally started to back around the surface low and thus we re-positioned southwest towards Canadian, TX. Sure enough, a tower started to go up and remained discrete for its entire lifespan and was moving into a really good environment!
Our storm initiating around Canadian, TX
We stayed on this storm for a good amount of time and were rewarded with some great mammatus, LP structure including a rapidly rotating updraft, and even an elevated funnel near Mobeetie, TX! The funnel was fairly long and was probably 12,000 feet up and was not associated with lowering but it was still quite a sight to watch it grow and die.
Standing underneath a rotating updraft on our LP storm
Elevated funnel on our Canadian, TX storm
Mammatus and the moon to end the day & trip
To cap off a great day and an excellent trip, we had a steak dinner at Big Vern’s Steakhouse in Shamrock, TX and even got to meet Big Vern himself! Overall we had a great time and really learned a lot on this trip, and considering the pattern we were given, we made some great lemonade. We would all like to sincerely thank Dr.Durkee, Dr.Dixon, and everyone back at WKU who support this trip and help make it happen. Until next year!
– Thomas Giebel