April 14, 2001

Roosevelt, OK Meso & Fiery Left Split Supercell

Chase Account: Scott Blair

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1)Reflectivity of Roosevelt, OK Cell. 2)Velocity of Roosevelt, OK Cell. 3)Reflectivity of Knox County, TX Cell.

Chase Team: Scott Blair, Jason Politte.
Later Joined by: Jeff Lawson.
After forecasting intensely the night before, I departed Little Rock at 4:50am heading for our target area of Duke, OK.. In Conway, I met chase partner Jason Politte. Quickly reviewing some surface plots, we jumped back onto I-40. We encountered several turbulent elevated storms across Eastern Oklahoma. By 10:30am, we arrived in Oklahoma City and moved south on the toll road I-44. Foggy conditions still persisted as we arrived in Lawton, OK. In Lawton, we briefly stopped at the local library for data. As we reviewed the latest satellite and surface plot images, the day continued to look more promising.

By the time we arrived in Altus, the fog had burned off and skies were partly cloudy. Temperatures rapidly rose while convective turkey towers developed across the sky. Around 2pm, we pulled off outside of Duke and watched the convection. The shear was certainly impressive and the hardness of the updrafts gave me hope. We watched the towers grow, develop a pileus, then slowly flatten out for the next 1 hours.

A large convective tower developed to the north just after 3pm. This tower showed potential, but slowly weakened. Finally, about 30 minutes after the last large tower, an explosive tower developed just north of us near the Russell, OK area. This tower was well structured and continuing to develop. We decided to target this storm and moved north on Hwy34. As we approached the edge of the updraft, the tower significantly exploded towards us. We pulled off as the base was clearly visible. Next to us was Al Pietrycha and his chase partner. We discussed the situation and noticed the fantastic mesoscale surface features around us. The storm was still organizing, but certainly showed some promising signs. We were then joined by Jeff Lawson, who chased with us rest of the day. Shortly after, a severe t-storm warning was issued for the storm in Greer County. We needed an east option, so instead of punching though possible large hail, we backtracked south and east to Altus.

While approaching Altus, a tornado warning was issued for the cell. I checked the map and it appeared we would have an excellent east/west road to observe. After passing through some traffic near Altus, we moved north on Hwy283. From there in Blair, OK, we headed east along Hwy19. After about 15 miles with a few brief north jogs, we were in excellent position and had good contrast. We stopped outside of Roosevelt, OK and observed the supercell. A strong RFD was punching in as the meso began to wrap up. It appeared the storm was attempting to occlude. Two areas of rotation were observed, the main mesocyclone just to the north and a new area of rotation to the west of us across Hwy19. Surface winds began to flow into the new meso, while the north meso tightened up and produced a large funnel cloud. At this time it's uncertain whether the funnel touched down, but either way it was well sustained and very low to the ground. Rain was wrapping around and the RFD was advancing quickly so we packed up. We continued east into Cooperton as the wall cloud really wrapped up. The rotation was pretty impressive. Visibility with the storm quickly worsened as wrapping precip obscured our view. If that wasn't enough, the cell continued east into the Wichita Mts Wildlife Refuge area. We dropped south on Hwy54 and then east on Hwy49. This highway made me feel quite at home in Arkansas, which in this case, was not a good thing. Large hills and trees made it close to impossible to observe the storm. Traffic was also extremely slow as sightseers gawked at the few buffalo along the roadside. It was obvious that pursuing the storm would be pointless, so we headed south and caught Hwy62 near Cache, OK.

A quick nowcast call to Phillip Flory alerted us to some weak storms developing along the dryline near Haskell, TX. Considering this was the closest convective activity and located in the warm sector, we decided to pursue the storms. After being stuck in low clouds, we dropped south of the boundary into Texas. We still had a poor visual on the storms, so we made a quick data stop in Wichita Falls, TX. To our surprise, a classic supercell split occurred. Both cells were now very classic on radar. The right (south) spilt was moving east along a boundary while the left (north) split was moving NNE. The left split storm in Knox County was placed under a severe t-storm warning. We took Hwy82 southwestward, targeting the left split supercell. As we neared the storm, we were able to observe the fantastic structure. A large anvil overspread the area with a nice inflow tail moving towards the storm. Daylight was quickly ending, so we decided to get as close as possible to stop and shoot the storm. This was an excellent decision as we pulled off outside of Mabelle, TX. The storm became a large convective fireball, producing some dramatic sights. A good number of mammatus on the anvil also turned colors. This made for a perfect opportunity of photo stills. The cells were clearly dying as the sun fell behind the horizon. After several photos, we drove back to Wichita Falls for a dinner at Pizza Hut. We finally arrived back into Little Rock at 6:30am.

All in all, April 14 was a very nice chase day. A big thanks goes out to nowcaster, Phillip Flory. Phillip did an excellent job in relaying radar data and updated discussions. He was certainly a part of making this day a success. It was also good to once again see supercells. After a rough start, it appears that 2001 is right on track.