Today was a really good chase by late winter standards. I traveled from Wichita to the Kansas/Oklahoma border (south of Medicine Lodge). A storm was already in progress in northwest Oklahoma moving towards Kansas. It had been tornado warned and dropped softball sized hail in the town of Buffalo, OK. I documented hail that covered the ground over Barber County, Kansas. The hailstones were around the size of nickels, with a few near the size of quarters. It was hard to keep up with the storm with all the hail on the highway. It was almost as bad as driving on a sheet of ice. I had to slow down quite a bit just to keep my vehicle from sliding around. I finally caught back up with the leading edge of the storm in southern Sumner County, just southwest of Wellington, where I filmed a dissipating funnel cloud south of Milan, KS. A tornado was reported to the north of my location just minutes before I watched this area of rotation die off as it rapidly pushed south by cold outflow. I am almost certain that this was the same area of rotation that produced the brief rope tornado near Milan. The tornado had to have been hit by strong outflow winds, pushing the rotation south, and cutting it off from the storm. As the storm pushed east, strong straight line winds did some pretty extensive damage around the Udall area. It was a great early season chase for me, I just wish I could have been in position to see the brief tornado that formed.
Today was a chase day for me, but not a very good one. I talked myself into taking off an hour early from work and heading down to Oklahoma. I managed to document pea sized hail for a minute or two and that was the highlight of the day (if you call that a highlight). The more intense convection developed in Texas, but leaving Wichita at 2 PM only allowed me to make it a little south and west of Oklahoma City by evening. The morning satellite showed extensive clouds limiting surface heating. The instability was low to non-existent in Oklahoma, but the dynamics where what suckered me into the chase. On days like this, I wonder why I even bother going out to chase these types of set-ups. I know better, but I let myself say things like “If you don’t go out, something big will happen and you’ll be at home tracking it on the computer and kicking yourself for not going”. It was obvious that the intense storms would stay confined to Texas, but sometimes I let that “what if” game take control. With gas being so expensive, I am going to sit out on more of these days unless it happens to be a “backyard” chase in the Wichita area.