31 May 2013 El Reno, OK
We began this chase as I woke up early from my first midnight shift, and hauled my boys to Love's on hwy 9 W to meet up with Bryan Smith (SPC) and Chad Meyers with a crew from CNN. We targeted the strong convergence zone just W of El Reno, where CAPE was extreme and vertical shear was clearly favorable for supercells. The MDT risk/PDS tornado watch scenario would live up to the potential we feared with a large, violent, and deadly tornado near El Reno from 6-7pm. We had a very close call with the outer circulation of the tornado, near the time our friends Tim Samaras, his brother Paul Samaras, and Carl Young were tragically killed by an apparent subvortex on the SW side of the intense tornado (another storm chaser/observer was killed earlier by the same tornado). The was the most dangerous storm I've encountered in my 28 years of chasing to date.
We sat in two locations only two miles apart on Jensen Rd. (immediately NE-N of the El Reno airport) for more than an hour, watched the tornado form, and then embarked on the most dangerous 10-15 minutes of my chase career. After we escaped the tornado, we were caught in a massive panic evacuation from the SW OKC area, with traffic jams as far as 30 miles from OKC! Returned home to the second tornado-related power outage in two weeks, as well as to a few trees blown down by intense RFD winds.
Size: 38 items