Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 15, 2016 Oklahoma Panhandle Tornadoes

April 15, 2016 ended up being a very rewarding chase day. Our day started in Amarillo where my dad and I grabbed some lunch. Today was totally dependent on moisture quality and was the only real question mark regarding tornado potential. A large upper trough was located over Utah/Arizona with great upper level flow spreading over the southern high plains. Strong southeasterly low level winds were transporting marginal moisture into the northern panhandle in a last minute moisture return scenario. We knew the shear was supportive of supercells. Started off near Dalhart where storms began to organize and followed a nicely structure supercell northeast along HWY 54 through Stratford and eventually into Texhoma, OK. We turned north on some back county roads through the Oklahoma panhandle eventually making our way to HWY 412. I was just about ready to give up on the storm thinking the inflow was just too cold (it as probably 62-66 degrees around 7pm). Made the call to just head west to sample some hail since the core had just strengthened on radar. Arrived west of Eva, OK to notice a wall cloud forming. Quickly had a brief picturesque tornado drop down. It lifted and a new wall cloud formed and another nice tornado touched down over the open prairie. Video from that evening. Another larger tornado formed after the 2nd one lifted. It became rain wrapped and crossed HWY 412 behind me.

April 15 2016 OK Panhandle from Sam Dienst on Vimeo.

Here's a look back at the setup. Most maps are from around 7pm Friday evening. Tornadoes occured between 7-8pm.