30 March 2006
Roger Edwards, Ryan Jewell, and I chased in two vehicles. Our initial target was development near I-35 north of OKC, and we planned to follow this convection northeastward into KS, if necessary. The first storm of the day in our area weakened before reaching the interstate, but a second storm intensified as it reach our location near I-35 and hwy 51. This storm developed classic supercell structure and threatened to produce a tornado about 5 miles east of Mulhall, OK. However, that occlusion failed, and we ended up on our second spastic 45 kt chase of the season. We zig-zagged east then north through the Osage County area (known for great roads!), and managed to stay close. It wasn't close enough, though, as we lost several minutes trying to get through Bartlesville. Those few minutes cost us a view of a 17 mile F2 that crossed US hwy 160 west of Independence, KS (about 8-10 minutes ahead of us).
This storm moved into a region of cooler surface temperatures and weakened, so we chase a new target storm that was just forming on the dryline to our west. This storm had problems with cold outflow when we got relatively close, and we figured the chase might be over.
Persistence paid off when we opted to follow the storm a little longer, aided by a couple of timely radar updates that revealed a curious intensification of the midlevel mesocyclone after we had driven through a few miles of ~55 F outflow on its S/SW flank. The end result was a surprise tornado in Wilson County KS just before the storm died near sunset!
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