Grant and Kay Counties Oklahoma
|This day will go down in memory for being one of the biggest disappointments
for many chasers in 2009. What looked like it was going to be a big tornado
turned turned out to be nothing more than a bunch of mediocre hybrid
supercells in north central and north east Oklahoma.
|I know a black cat crossing your path is supposed to be bad luck. So, what does a
4-5 FOOT long black rat snake bring you? I saw this guy crossing the road near
South Haven, KS. We don't have snakes like this in MN and that is just fine with me.
After starting the day out in Pratt, KS at what was to be an easy triple point setup, I didn't like the way the wind were
turning to the southwest pretty much through my entire target area. As the outflow boundary sagged south, it became
apparent there were not going to be significant tornado day so I opted to drift east and south with the Cu field. The
5000 joules of CAPE combined with the dry line finally got some cells going just across the OK border to my southwest
as I sat in Caldwell, KS. Made my way down into Grant county OK as this cell went severe warned near Medford, OK.
Unfortunately the cell quickly dried up and outside of producing some small hail, nothing became of it so I shifted my
interest to a group of cells which had fired out to the west in Alfalfa county OK which were approaching my position
about 4 miles north of the Ponca City, OK airport.
Even though these cells looked like crap visually (from a supercell standpoint), the VIL's (vertically intergrated liquid)
would spike upwards of 60+ indicating the possibility for some good sized hail and was spitting out a good number of
cloud to ground lightning strikes. As the cells neared, I stayed in the car and let the vid cam run on the tripod away from
the car just in case. At the last moment, I decided I would need to split the cells as the VIL's were now at 75 and there
could be some 80+ mph winds and golfball to baseball sized hail. I picked a spot near the top of a hill and got the
anemometer up and ready to go in the driving rain. I started to have flashbacks to the 6 14 06 cell out in Montana.
Looking north as the cells pass off to the east
Looking southeast from the same location
After the storms had passed, I took a drive to see if there was any wind damage and found a lot of the shelter belts
looked like this. I measure a 61 mph top gust but the Ponca City airport reported an 81 mph gust which was 4 miles
south of me.
Another view looking southeast as the sun sets
I started to head up I 35 towards Wichita, KS when I noticed there was a closed rest area which had the barracades
blown down during the storm just on the Oklahoma side of the border. Perfect. An open view and no one to bug me
(other than the mosquitoes and woodticks which were just a bad as at home here in Minnesota).
Departing storms off to the east as the sun was well below the horizon by now.
As the sun went down, the distant lightning became visable bur was very
distant. I ended up using a f2.8 70-200 zoom just to see some of the strikes.
Most of the lightning was cloud to cloud which looked cool from the long distance.
But every once in a while, a cloud to ground strike would coming popping out of the back.
After the storms moved too far east, decided to pack it in and head north up the Kansas
Turnpike for what looked to be a marginal setup the next day near the Kansas City area.