April 28, 2017  
Anticipation for a multiple day chase was in the works.  We left late Thursday evening and met up with Brian Stertz in Overland Park, Kansas.  After a few hours of sleep at his place, we set out at daybreak for our target in Southwest Oklahoma.  The initial target was Duncan, Oklahoma.  A quick stop at the Pizza Hut in Moore, Oklahoma and then took a tour of the tornado path from the EF5 tornado we watched back on May 20, 2013.  Still remnants of damage to be seen nearly four years later. As we traveled and watched the data, the target began shifting westward.  First to Lawton, Oklahoma, then to Altus, Oklahoma.  Since we still had a bit of extra time before storm initiation, we took another side trip up to the top of Mt. Scott in southwest Oklahoma to take in the scenes and the wildlife, then met up with Jeff Piotrowski at a Mexican Diner in Altus. 

Storms were scheduled to erupt near or after dark along the warm front to the north and along the dryline to the west.  We positioned ourselves just north of Elmer, Oklahoma right before dark and played the waiting game.  Weather models continued to have trouble deciphering the data just like they had the entire week prior.  Each model made picking the prime spot impossible.  We stuck with the idea that big storms would erupt between 8:00pm-10:00pm around Altus, Oklahoma although there was no sign in the sky of that happening. 


As we waited, a few storms were going up 50 miles to the northwest of us.  We watched as they went up, but knew since these storms were in the cooler air, they may produce hail, but there was little chance of tornadoes, so we waited to the south of the warm front.  Darkness fell on us.  As the storms back-built, they kept toying with reaching the warmer, juicier air, but they just could not make it down that far.   We continued to hold out hope as we continued to look at the data with Jeff as we waited. 

Eventually, the longer we waited, the more convinced we became that the storms were not going to happen.  We made the decision to give up on the possibility of tornadic supercells around 10:30pm and made our way east to grab a hotel in Oklahoma City and get some sleep before the long drive to get into position for the storms the following day.  We drove through some of the rain on the northern storms on the way to Oklahoma City and one of the interesting events of the day was driving by some kind of refinery.  We could see this orange glow in the sky through some very heavy rain even from several miles away.  When we approached the area, we saw two out of the ordinary, huge flames shooting from a couple of the stacks.  We drove by them as they sat right next to the interstate and could hear very loud alarms going off at the refinery.  Never did find out what was going on, but we did not stop and got the heck out of there.

Around 2:00am, all of us were suddenly awaken after about an hour of sleep by a huge roar outside the hotel window.  Winds of 80+mph, Hail, and Torrential Rains slammed into the hotel and for a couple of minutes, made us wonder about our safety.  This storm knocked the power out in the hotel for the rest of our stay.  Turns out, this squall line originated back around Altus, Oklahoma around midnight where we had been waiting for storms to erupt just a few hours earlier.  Although it produced no tornadoes, this storm ended up doing much damage to trees and powerlines along its path.  This storm took us so much by surprise with our startled awakening, we never even thought to grab the camera or camcorder, so no pictures out of the hotel window.

 (Total 2 day Trip)  54 Hours  -  1515 Miles

Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.

Return to the Index