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.
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.