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April 25 - May 5, 2013

Severe Weather Project

Donald Dolan and Tom Dolan




Thursday April 25, 2013 - Oklahoma City, OK to Ardmore, OK

We traveled from Oklahoma City to stage in Southern Oklahoma in preparation for Fridays Thunderstorms along and above the Red River. 




Used the evening to prepare the vehicle with the antennas and cables for the equipment needed for this weekends activity which likely will take us into the southern states. 

Magnetic mounts used for Satellite Phone, Two broadband data and HAM Radio Antennas.  A Magnetic Mounted anemometer for wind speed reading during wind events.


Friday April 26, 2013 - Ardmore, OK to Lawton, OK

Storms are expected for later this afternoon for the Red River area.  Watching the model runs we decided we would first go north then started heading west in Oklahoma. 







Thunderstorms began development along the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle. 


We approached the storms from the South.

This thunderstorm with the radar image above was up to 40 Thousand feet tall.  Heavy rain and hail creating localized flooding.











































Storm is approaching Elk City. 













We are located at the bottom left behind the hail core which is the circle plotted by he GPS. 

We stayed back west of the storm and allowed the storm to pass.  Heavy rain fell filling the streets.






The next three images below is the thunderstorm as it traveled past Elk City Oklahoma.

Base Reflectivity with green the lightest rains, yellow moderate rain and red heavy rains.  The pink region is typically the hail core of the storm. 








Base Velocity depicts the wind general direction with green towards the Doppler radar site and red moving away.  The gap area between the red and green is the likely location of any rotation on this storm.  Below is the view of the rotation.






Normalized Rotation is shown with the blue being cyclonic rotation and the green is anti-cyclonic rotation.








Lightning illumines the underside of the thunderstorms we are following.

Target plan for Saturday is to head towards the Del Rio, TX area for the late afternoon thunderstorms.


Saturday April 27, 2013 -Lawton, OK to Kerrville, TX

We staged in Sonora Texas.  Thunderstorms could be seen developing on radar in Mexico and shortly later our first storm to chase appeared South East of our location

We intercepted our first Thunderstorm at Rocksprings, TX










Approaching Storm Southeast of Rocksprings, Texas




















We moved north to allow the storm to go by.  We then passed between two storms shown below and traveled south towards Barksdale, TX to observe the next storm.






















Submitted a storm report online as we monitored the storm Northwest of Barksdale, TX.

Event Time: 04/27/2013 07:55 PM
Reported By: Tom Dolan
Profile: NWS Storm Spotter
Location: 1 Mile NW Barksdale
County: Edwards, TEXAS
Event: Hail
Details: Quarter - 1.00"
Comments: Observing Thunderstorm approaching Barksdale, TX.  
Hail started as Nickel size and then Quarter size started to fall when we drove east.









We drove off further south and waited until the storms passed our location and then traveled to Kerrville, TX to complete the day.


Sunday April 28, 2013 - Kerrville, TX to Ardmore, OK

A visit to the Alamo is planned and then to monitor the afternoon weather for route planning for the day.








Clear skies in our area so off to dinner at the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, TX. 







Not seeing any local thunderstorm development we decided to start our traveling to Eastern Kansas and Nebraska for Monday.


Monday April 29, 2013 - Ardmore, OK to St. Joseph, MO

Current has storms forecast for our area.

St. Joseph, Missouri was the starting point for the Pony Express from 1860 to 1861.  The mail was carried to Sacramento California.







St. Joseph Tornado Sirens












Home of the outlaw Jesse James








Thunderstorm activity occurred late in the evening up in Iowa.  No activity in our area.


Tuesday April 30, 2013 - St. Joseph, MO to Emporia, KS

Current forecast has storms for our area this evening.

Tornado Siren at Clearmont, Missouri







We crossed over into Iowa.

While holding our position a rapidly developing Thunderstorm was occurring 12 miles to our west.  The tops were already at 32,000 feet as shown in the yellow on the image below.













We moved our position near Blanchard, Iowa and found a nice overlook to watch the storms build.














Six Turkey Vultures took an interest in our activity or maybe just took advantage of the same hill.  After a bit they moved on but provide plenty of entertainment.













After video recording the storms building we drove Northeast to track the storms.  Storm reports had it producing one inch hail along its path.

















Only Severe Warned Thunderstorm in plains was located here in Iowa.  Pictured above with the radar image to the left.















We called off the chase and toured our way back to the Interstate.







We drove to Emporia, Kansas for the night to position for storms in Northeast Texas.


Wednesday May 1, 2013 - Emporia, KS to Henrietta, TX

Traveling to Wichita Falls, Texas to stage for storm development. 

The storms started to initiate in Western Oklahoma along the front.  We moved over to the first storm as it was building near Loveland, Oklahoma.  A larger storm was forming further north.  Forecasts had storms anticipated in Texas and Oklahoma.










We decided to stay with the Oklahoma storms and head up to intercept the Severe Thunderstorm warned storm to our north.













Intercepted storms in Southwest Oklahoma.  Storm passing Snyder, Oklahoma












Scud Cloud formation below the wall cloud.  Lowered almost to ground








A second scud cloud form later seen on the far right of the photo.









Tracked the storm as it moved east.  Rain and hail core still active as shown below.














Wall Cloud East of Snyder,  Oklahoma






















We then went south to follow the storms heading towards Texas.  The Red River between Oklahoma and Texas needed to be routed around.  The four panels below are Left upper is Base Reflectivity, Right upper is Base Velocity, Left bottom is Echo Tops (Dark Red is 50K feet) , Right bottom is Vertical Integrated Liquid.















View of storms in Texas we are driving towards.












In the Base Reflectivity view below the storms have a developing large hail cores seen as the purple color shown.   With the hail cores going up to 30,000 feet the size of the hail has a better opportunity to grow larger.  We are still located on the Oklahoma side of the Red River.












We pulled off the chase half way to Archer City as the storms closest to us were dissipating.  We returned back to Wichita Falls, Texas.  The remaining clouds made a great Texas Sunset.















Thursday May 2, 2013 - Henrietta, TX to Woodward, OK

Clear weather day and backtracking previous storm event.  We stopped off for lunch in Snyder, Oklahoma.

Pictures pending...

Stayed in Woodward, Oklahoma


Friday May 3, 2013 - Woodward, OK to Springfield, MO

Friday morning sunrise in Woodward, OK. 













On April 14, 2012 a Tornado formed Northeast of Arnett, OK and traveled towards and striking Woodward, OK right after midnight on April 15th. This late night tornado occurred during the outbreak of April 14-15, 2012.

Woodward's Theater roof collapse photo.  (Taken April 29, 2012)













The next three images are processed images blending Base Reflectivity and Normalized Rotation.  The yellow and red colors are the heavy rains with the dark highlighted darker blue the cyclonic rotation.

12:18 AM












12:23 AM












12:27 AM












Below is a screenshot with the Tornado highlighted by lightning flash from a video posted by Woodward News.













Image Permission granted from Woodward News.


Meno, Oklahoma Tornado Siren









The forecasts for our area were clear skies for the next several days.  Decided to traveling to St. Louis Missouri area and a bit East for today's storms.














With snow fall increasing in Missouri we decided to return to Springfield to take in the new Iron Man Movie.


Saturday May 4, 2013 - Springfield, MO to Oklahoma City, OK

We will tour the damage area in Joplin on our way back to Oklahoma City.  Joplin was hit by a severe tornado rated at EF-5 on May 22, 2011.  The tornado touched down at 5:34 PM.











Above is a mural of Faith, Hope, and Love.

A tree painted as a reminder.












Many areas of Joplin are barren with stark reminders of the tornado past.  Lots are cleared with damaged tree and only grass.


Similar ghostly scenes are still present in Greensburg, Kansas long after the May 4, 2007 EF-5 Tornado. 

Greensburg occurred six years ago today. 


A program following tornados to help bring life back would be a tree planting project.  Each lot that lost a home or business needs a tree planted to start the re-growth process.  In California the wildfires have a natural recovering process with the vegetation returning within a few years of the fire.  The tornado paths are more destructive and need assistance to recover.












The site of the Joplin Hospital has been cleared as shown above and a new facility is under construction below.


Rebuilt Pizza Hut.











The image to the right is the base reflectivity of the Joplin EF-5 Tornado at 5:44 PM.  The height scale is just over 50K feet with the storm moving from right to left in this view.  In advance of the Tornado is heavy rain.  The pink is a debris plume that is being pulled up 18K feet.  (Also known as debris balls)





In this image at the same time as above is the Normalized Rotation.  Overall circulation was over a mile wide with a very intense rotation core.  This tornado also had intense anti-cyclonic rotations on the north and south side running along side.  Post Tornado satellite images showed a lot of roof damage far from the main damage path.  Possible the strong anti-cyclonic rotation adjacent to the Tornadic cyclonic rotation could have played a role.


We took in a great dinner at Longhorn before heading to Oklahoma City.  This is an area recovered from the area devastated from the Joplin Tornado.










Sunday May 5, 2013 - Oklahoma City, OK  - Return End of Trip


Monday May 20, 2013

Moore, Oklahoma was hit by an EF-5 Tornado











Moore, Oklahoma EF-5 Tornado Doppler Radar Analyses - Tornado Video Link The video is a blend of Normalized Rotation and Base Reflectivity.

Tuesday May 21, 2013

Tom Dolan's interview with Ian Schwartz Weather Reporter for CBS Sacramento 13

"Storm Chaser Gives Insight on Moore Tornado"

With a computer program, Tom Dolan takes a 3-D look inside the storm that stretches nearly 10 miles in the air. He plans to visit the site of the tornado and compare the images to the damage he sees on the ground, since radar only tells part of the story.

Here are the two news stories:

CBS Sacramento - Storm Chaser gives insight on Moore Tornado

CBS Sacramento - Storm Chaser hopes to help improve tornado warnings





May 22 - May 27, 2013 Severe Weather Project

Tom Dolan


Wednesday May 22, 2013 - Kansas City, MO to Wichita, KS
Thursday May 23, 2013 - Wichita, KS to Vernon, TX
Friday May 24, 2013 - Vernon, TX to Ogallala, NE
Saturday May 25, 2013 - Ogallala, NE to Rapid City, SD
Sunday May 26, 2013 - Rapid City, SD to Grand Island, NE
Monday May 27, 2013 - Grand Island, NE to Sacramento, CA
Tuesday May 28, 2013 - Sacramento, CA to Wichita, KS
Wednesday May 29, 2013 - Wichita, KS
Thursday May 30, 2013 - Wichita, KS

Friday May 31, 2013 - Wichita, KS to Sacramento, CA

Early flight back to Sacramento.  Forecasts for Oklahoma was again targeting another severe weather day.  Storms commenced in the evening and rapidly became severe.  Views on Radarscope indicated rain wrapped storms traveling towards Oklahoma.  News reports came out later in the evening that the Weather Channel Tornado Hunt crew as hit by the El Reno Tornado and rolled.  Injuries were sustained.  On Sunday tragic news was disclosed that Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young were killed from this storm.  On Tuesday following it was reported that another amateur storm chaser Richard Henderson also lost his life in the tornado.  The tornado crossed Hwy 81 and Interstate 40 with rain proceeding. 

El Reno EF-5 Tornado as it crosses Hwy 81.















The debris core of the El Reno tornado measures 2.85 Nautical Miles wide or 3.28 miles wide and 20,000 feet or 3.8 miles high using measurements taken using the Correlation Coefficient product obtained from the Dual Polarization enabled Doppler Radar.  The eye of this tornado measures to 3.28 miles making it the largest tornado on record.  Below is the view of the Correlation Coefficient showing a debris free eye of the El Reno EF-5 Tornado.  The blue fringe is the screenshot is debris signature.  Interstate 40 is the line that crosses at the top of the core and Hwy 81 is just to the left of the tornado.














This view below is the vertical displacement of the debris can be seen in the image below.  This image is a product of the Dual Polarization upgrade of the Doppler Radars.  The Correlation Coefficient view as shown here displays positive values for scanned objects.  The red, yellow and green are moisture and hail with values closest to 1 being of equal size.  Odd shaped objects such as tornado debris can be seen as the blue fringe inside the tornado core.  The are absent of values is the vortex hole or tornado core it extends up to 20,000 feet.














If we assume the atmospheric pressure at 20,000 feet is 365 mmHG and ground elevation pressure of 760 mmHG then there is a 395 mmHG pressure difference in this tornado core.   The El Reno Tornado pulled up debris to 20,000 feet and along its edges creating the debris absent image you see above.  The pressure drop at the base of this tornado could likely have been as much as a 395 mmHG in the tornado core.  The effect of being on the ground would be similar to opening a window in an aircraft flying at 20,000 feet.  By far the severity of this tornado to pull the debris to the sides of the core and to the heights achieved makes this a record breaking tornado event.


Copyright 2009-2017 by Tom Dolan. All rights reserved. Federal copyright law prohibits unauthorized reproduction.


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