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Sunday, May 11, 2008

2008-05-10 Report

So for some reason my mobile blog posts are not coming through so I'll quickly describe Saturday May 10th's chase in se OK. The day started out in Amarillo, TX for Tony L and I heading out to OKC to meet up with Tim Samaras, Carl Young, Rich Thompson, Roger Edwards and the crew from ISU.

On the way out of AMA on I-40 I was following behind Tony in my Subaru and futzing with my power inverter under the seat while the cruise control took me down the highway at 78 mph. I looked up often and kept my eye on the road but for a second I went over the rumble strip on the center median and caught my left front tire in the grass and mud. I pulled the wheel up onto the pavement and this sent me sideways at 70 mph pulling the left front tire off the rim and sent me the opposite direction and into an uncontrolled 360 down the pavement. All I remember was the screeching tires and all my gear flying in the air around me as I came completely around and down into the grass center median. Tony had his finger on the onstar button ready to push it in case I rolled but amazingly enough the Subie stayed upright. We pulled up the road and onto the service road and changed out the tire for the spare. At Shamrock, TX all they had to do was seal my tire back on the rim and fill it with air. $6 repair and we were back on our way to OKC.

In OKC we met up with the rest of the TWISTEX crew above and headed out east to the AR/OK border on I-40. There we waited things out at a roadside truck stop and got a few CGs and pea sized hail before the initial storms rocketed away at 50+ mph. The air looked worked over in the area so the concensous was that we'd make our way south and put ourselves south of the worst terrain and be on a good N-S/E-W road option. We joked along the way about how the area is a Big Foot sighting location - some video of Big Foot would've made our chase day but he was hiding this day! We found our way through the hills and down to Broken Bow, OK where we went north looking for any kind of turnout or vista to see the now tail-end charlie tornado warned cell coming our way. We settled for a clear cut area that required a short hike off the road to where we at least had some view of the sky. The approaching storm looked very intense with striated banding, low level inflow jets and dark precip core off to our north.

The dying storms to our north pushed an out flow boundary the pushed our storm over us making us flee to the south back to Broken Bow, OK where we observed a 'cinnamon bun' overhead and rapid rain sheets blowing across the road to the west, quickly changing to the east as the rotation passed overhead.

This was a very frustrating chase for all of us due to the terrain and almost 100% saturated air and haze from Mexico caught in the warm sector. We were saddened to later hear of the loss of life to the north and east in MO and AR. Our prayers go out to those affected by this outbreak. MO and AR have been battered this year.

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The Carlsons', Verne, Michael and Eric

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