March 30, 2016     

A much anticipated, first chase out to the plains was in order for the day.  This day was looking like a very active severe weather day for several days prior to this event with a  pretty solid target of eastern Kansas. 

Ryan and I left the house early in the morning and picked Brian up at his work place to maximize the turn around time as his shift ended.  We made a quick exit for a target of Chanute, KS.  We wavered a little and ended in Emporia, KS as we tried to figure out where the dryline would erupt.   After a brief break for gas, we decided to cut back to Highway 75 for the road south.

We were noticing that there were a couple of cells in Oklahoma that were working their way up toward the Chanute, KS area, so we decided to make those storms the new targets as the storms further north did not look promising.  We reached the storms and positioned ourselves to watch the storms roll in.  They were severe warned and were dropping hail, but as we watched the updraft area, the rotation was weak and the storm became very outflow dominant.  



As our last hope of the day, we saw that their were more storms further south working their way toward the Tulsa, OK area that appeared to be the best cells of the day.  As they continued to show growth, we bolted south to intercept these storms.  The storms and our car were getting to Owasso, OK at about the same time.  Luckily, Brian having lived in Tulsa for several years, was very familiar with the roads and made it a breeze to get where we needed to go.  We jogged east on Highway 20 off of Highway 75, then a turn back to the south on Highway 169.   As we reached Highway 20 again to the east, we looked up against the tough contrast of the clouds and the word "tornado" rings out in the car.  We got the camcorder going as we began down the exit ramp to Highway 20 losing sight of the tornado from the bridge. 


We reached the bottom of the ramp and the traffic light is red.  There were two trucks in front of us at the light.  And the light stayed red, and stayed red, and stayed red.  The light wasn't turning green and nobody wanted to move.  (We will need to do some major audio editing to the video tape here).  Eventually I broke out of the line to turn west to just make a U-turn a little ways down.  Wouldn't you know it.  As soon as we break out of our spot in line, the light decides to cycle through green again. 


As we eventually made it under the bridge, we hoped to once again have the tornado in sight, but to our dismay, the tornado had lifted off the ground.

We continued to follow the tornadic storm as it worked its way east.  Dusk quickly turned into night, although many times we could make out the wall clouds and funnels along with another full tornado.  We managed only one lightning lit picture of our second tornado near the Rogers / Mayes County line on Highway 20.  This picture was taken just a few seconds after a power flash.


1108 miles, around 21.5 hours

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