March 30, 2008 - Rocky, OK Supercell

Documented by: Scott F. Blair

I departed Lawrence, KS by mid-morning with an initial target of Fairview, OK. The basic reasoning for the NW OK target was the anticipation of the triple point position, slightly better mid-level wind flow, and the persistent surface convergence region existing through the morning/early afternoon hours. I met up with Amos Magliocco, Bob Fritchie, Scott Currens, and Al Pietrycha as we watched all-exciting dandelions grow under a stable-looking sky. We adjusted south towards Weatherford, OK as the surface cold front sagged southward, winds backed with time across SW OK, and aggravated cu developed within the better instability and convergence.

The first developing cell was observed west of Corn, OK with another evolving storm to the southwest of Cordell, OK. We had a view of both storms, and visually the storm SW of Cordell appeared more mature with lowered scud under the updraft base and thick/crisp anvil edge. We drove south of Cordell to Rocky, OK watching the base ingest scud, although clear signs of outflow hindered its organization early on. With time, the supercell turned right yielding to a stronger easterly component. We meandered east of Rocky on a few back roads and observed a significant improvement in the storm structure just before sunset. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the day came as the sun set directly behind the striated updraft complete with very pleasing vault structure and a well separated precipitation core. The storm occasionally managed to ingest blocky scud into the base with slow rotation.

Continuing on back roads, we stopped east of Lake Valley, OK (5 N Mountain View, OK) and watched the rotating updraft approach. At twilight, an occluded portion of the updraft produced a funnel cloud for approximately 5 minutes. The funnel managed one-quarter down relative to the ground and there is no reason to believe any notable contact with the surface occurred. A spectacular sight came as the circular updraft passed overhead with the glow of twilight. It was possible to acquire a 360 degree view by looking upward with peripheral vision, which was an unusual and memorable treat.

On the way back to the hotel in Weatherford, we spent an hour observing a third storm near the Corn/Colony, OK vicinity. We were in fairly good position to observe the updraft base, but failed to note anything that resembled a wall cloud or rotational features. Heading north on Hwy58, we encountered hazardous driving conditions in the wake of the aforementioned supercell. Several areas of flash flooding and 2-4 deep of quarter-sized hail were common in a ~3 mile stretch. One motorist had spun out into a ditch. Overall, my expectations for the day were easily exceeded and happy to have the 2008 season underway. Oklahoma was quite photogenic with the vibrant green winter wheat fields and budding trees. Photos hopefully forthcoming within 48 hours or so.

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