After spending the 17th as a travel day we awoke in Woodward with the SPC upgrading todays risk to a High Risk with a 30% Hatched area for Tornadoes the most we have seen in the Southern Plains since April 14th 2012!! High risk days are always filled with dread from most chasers due to there being a high risk reward/failure type of scenario and this day would also be the same. I awoke very early checking and re-checking everything and with the Twirl team staying in the same hotel knew we were in a very good area to start the day. The morning model runs were quite perplexing showing a minefield with zero cap and numerous supercells breaking out around 18z. The first storms looked like they would go in SW Oklahoma around that time and HRRR & NAM were singing off the same hymm sheet. The dynamics today were up there with some of the best High Risks preceding, temps of 80f and dewpoints of 70f, with 50kts of deep layer shear and clockwise hodographs promoting violent long tracked tornadoes today would be a day to chase conservatively. Outlooks below.
We grabbed lunch along the way and headed North of Woodward watching radar and the first Tornado report of the day come in from SW Oklahoma near Duke. A PDS tornado watch was issued for our area and numerous storms were streaming north just like the HRRR showed. All of these were HP in nature and picking one out was proving difficult, around this time I noticed one of the early Supercells down near I40 had become discrete and had an uninterrupted flow into its updraught, it was time to target this storm so we headed off South and east towards Chester (Oklahoma) punching through a tornadic storm in the process which in itself was quite a dodgy process. Our target storm was showing itself to our South East and a large damaging wedge tornado was already in progress, from our position we had no visual and at points looking at the radar I was perplexed seeing barley 20dbz reflectivities with this storm. I punched through the northern part of the storm near Boise Junction and sat just east of the precip and then there it was a stunning meso to our west with fast rotation. A strong wall cloud was denoted and stunning Supercell structure with very dangerous Cg lightning popping all around us.
After cresting the hill the multi vortex Tornado touched down intermittently at various times with one vortex skipping across the road in front of us, the tornado was now just west of Highway 281 and North of Boise Junction so I headed North with the Tornado so it was just a few miles west of us. We followed this north towards Waynoka with various touch downs ripping up trees.
Pictures do not do it justice and as usual away from the High Plains most of these Tornadoes look grungy unless you are in the field next to them. We followed this supercell to the Kansas Border until it looked quite trashy and then headed back south towards Seiling for another couple of Supercells that had initiated along the dryline, these gave us some lovely pano pictures before sunset but the tornado threat was always low with these later storms.
We finished the day in Enid eating at 5 Guys and celebrating another successful chase day on what was a very tricky High Risk. Last day of tour 1 coming up tomorrow for the 19th before the changeover at DFW.