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April 26 - May 6, 2012 Severe Weather Project

Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas

Donald Dolan and Tom Dolan

Thursday April 26, 2012 - Oklahoma

Landing in Oklahoma City with our primary target for Friday being Eastern Kansas.

Friday April 27, 2012 - Edmond, OK ending in El Dorado, KS

Storms started initiation in the  afternoon in North Eastern Kansas.  We targeted one of the lower storms. 









Below is a 3D view of our initial thunderstorm.












Half inch hail fell and then a near ground rainbow trailed behind the storm.







We ended our day in El Dorado, KS













Saturday April 28, 2012 - El Dorado, KS

Today we backtracked and photograph the April 14, 2012 Waynoka, OK to El Dorado, KS Tornado Complex. 





Broadcast tower toppled.

This was a series of Tornadoes generated from a long lived Supercell that started down in Oklahoma and tracked passed numerous communities in open country and went through Wichita, Kansas. 

House damaged southwest of Wichita from one of the many tornadoes from the long track thunderstorm.








A barn was destroyed and the debris was seen in the destroyed trees across the field.  the homeowners friend that came down from Alaska to assist mentioned that his house had been replaced from a tornado that had destroyed it several years before.







Trees up rooted by the Kansas and Oklahoma boarder from the long track tornado producing storm.









We ended our day in Woodward, Oklahoma.  During the night numerous thunderstorms were generated before midnight that passed to the south of our area prompting numerous NOAA radio alerts throughout the night.


Sunday April 29, 2012 - Woodward, Oklahoma

We started our backtracking the Woodward Tornado from its lift off point northeast of town.  Many of the homes that were destroyed two weeks prior on April 15th have been removed down to the foundation.  Six people which included children lost their lives on this tornado that came through the town after midnight.







































Below is a barn destroyed outside of Arnett, Oklahoma near the starting point for this long track tornado.
















Watch your step.  He sure can wag its tail!

We then headed to intercept thunderstorms in western Kansas













40 mile an hour winds, lightening and hail.  Almost felt like a sunburn after the lights went by.























We ended our day in Dodge City, KS

Monday April 30, 2012 - Dodge City, Kansas

Our target for this afternoon will start in the upper part the Texas Panhandle.  We stopped for lunch and fuel in Perryton, Texas.  At 2:18 PM CDT the National Weather Service put out the first warning for our target area west of Amarillo, Texas















We were passed by the weather channel's tornado hunt crew while observing west of Claude, TX.

We called in a storm report to the NWS in Amarillo for golf ball size hail 2 miles west of Claude, Texas.








We moved back further from the storm as it continued to produce hail as it slowly passed Claude, Texas.
















Lightening near forming funnel.














We watched slow unorganized rotation at the base of the thunderstorm in Goodnight, Texas. 
















The Weather Channel vehicles were located behind us after we pulled off the highway to stay behind the storm.  They loaded up and left when the hail and rain started up.  The hail can be seen streaking down in the picture below.
















Hail, rain and rainbow.

















We proceeded up the highway and stopped as larger hail started falling.  We filled up a hat with the the hail that covered the ground after it slowed down enough to go out and retrieve some.

The ground was covered with the large hail.






Reports came in later in the evening that the Weather Channel vehicles windshields were destroyed by large hail.  They were further ahead of us in the storm as we kept holding towards the  back edge of the thunderstorm.

We called in a storm report to the NWS in Amarillo for Hail that we measured at 2-1/4 inches in size.  We were two miles northwest of of Ashtola, Texas on Highway 287.  The hail started to melt rapidly in our warm car.









We ended up stopping for the night in Clarendon,Texas.  The local tornado sirens were sounding for the storm that was still working it way through the city to our east.  Lightening activity was intense.

Tuesday May 1, 2012 - Clarendon, Texas to Kearney, Nebraska 

Our plan for the day is to arrive in lower Nebraska traveling from Texas.

We had clear blue skies in Texas as we traveled north.























Greensburg, Kansas was destroyed in 2008.  Damage is still present in parts of town mixed in with new construction. 

Old Kansas farm house.



























Kansas fields of green.

Doppler used by Hastings NWS








Storm Intercept in Nebraska














Sun setting in the clouds


















Target for Wednesday is Eastern Nebraska.


Wednesday May 2, 2012 - Kearney, Nebraska to Grand Island, Nebraska 

We traveled over to stop by North Platte National Weather Service office.  Back on March 18th five tornadoes traveled east of North Platte damaging homes and train cars. 

Here is the link to the radar analysis of that event.  North Platte, Nebraska Tornadoes














Reviewing analysis technicque with Steve Carmel at the National Weather Service office in North Platte, Nebraska.












Tornado risk at 5 Percent today in Eastern Nebraska.  We were able to sit in on the afternoon weather briefing.

Steve Carmel and Tom Dolan

We traveled to the western side of North Platte and visited the Union Pacific Bailey Rail Yard.














We took a tour of the Golden Spike Tower at the Union Pacific Bailey Rail Yard which is the largest in the world.  Here is a picture of some of the many locomotives that are serviced at the yard.  In discussion with the on duty docent, the tornado on March 18th crossed the yard at the far end of this picture toppling 31 rail cars.  Two Union Pacific employees were able to take cover inside a locomotive while the tornado passed.

Numerous homes were destroyed from the tornado.  The rail yard is in the background.








We watched a thunderstorm just north of Kearney, Nebraska.  The sun set to the west and the hail and rain core can be seen at the base of the thunderstorm.

Below is a view of the thunderstorm.  The purple is the hail core and the storm had a slight hook formation in the trailing end but the storm did not produce a tornado.











This picture shows both the sunset and the upper levels highlighted by the sun.




















Nebraska sunset and lightening flash in picture below.














We then headed east to track on tornado warned storm east of Hastings, NE.


We attempted to intercept a tornado producing storm east of Hastings but were cut off by merging thunderstorms.  We decided to move north for the night to be out of the evenings storms.



Thursday May 3, 2012 - Grand Island, Nebraska to Edmond, Oklahoma 

We toured the damage track for the tornado that occurred the night before.  The tornado touched down just past Davenport, NE and lifted before hitting the next town. 

Primary damage was to trees, an irrigation system and a barn was destroyed.






A painting in Davenport, NE.  The tornado touched down Northeast of town.












Irrigation systems destroyed by the tornado below.













Barn destroyed by the tornado.














The tree above is broken off and the grass is blown down and curved around the backside.













Interesting to see the wind patterns in the grass from the tornado.















We intercepted the thunderstorm near Franklin, NE















Below is a 3D image of the thunderstorm.














A weak funnel structure visible below in the thunderstorm.

























































We then traveled south to be setup for activity in Texas.  We stopped along the way when we found the biggest ball of twine.










We travel and stopped in Edmond, OK with our target staging area to be near Wichita Falls, Texas for Friday.


Friday May 4, 2012 - Edmond, Oklahoma to Stephenville, Texas 

Toured Fort Sill.  The site has many static displays.










A very nice museum displaying cannon's from various periods.








World War II tank display.








We arrived to Intercept two thunderstorms passing Archer City, Texas

Thunderstorm passing south of town with Funnel Cloud trailing in Texas


















Thunderstorm passing to north of town











The 3D radar display below shows reverse hooks on the two thunderstorms we were observing.














Thunderstorm after it cleared town to the north.













View of the Southern thunderstorm













Saturday May 5, 2012 - Stephenville, Texas to Ardmore, Oklahoma

We staged for the afternoon in Abilene, Texas and had lunch at Famous Dave's BBQ.  We anticipated initiation within an hour of our location so took the time to relax and wait.












On exiting the restaurant we had storm initiation about a 45 minute drive to our south. 

We intercepted this thunderstorm below that had a small funnel visible.
















Weak funnel visible in the upper left of the photo below.















Our position relative to the storms is visible below.  The left screen is the base reflectivity view.  Clouds in blue with the heavies rain being red.  On the right side is the base velocity view.  This is the winds as seen by the Doppler Radar.  Red is winds traveling away from the radar and green is winds traveling towards the radar.  Notice on the storm to the left of our position.  The mix of wind patterns is a good indication that the storm has potential for rotation.














Double Rainbow was observed as we traveled south.













Texas Sunset















We video taped long lasting lightening displays from these storms in Texas.


Sunday May 6, 2012 - Ardmore, Oklahoma to Departing Oklahoma City 

We left Ardmore, Oklahoma and had to travel through a line of thunderstorms moving north.  We encountered light hail in passing our final storm of the trip.







We toured the lobby area at Norman NWS office and took a look at the data probes, DOT 3 and Dorothy used in the movie Twister.

We drove past part of the damage path of the tornado that touched down in Norman, Oklahoma on April 13.

We collected a fair amount of photos, data, video on this trip to do post trip analysis and will provide updates to this website in the future.

June 8 - June 12, 2012

Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming

Tom Dolan

Friday June 8 - Denver, CO to Rapid City, SD

Saturday June 9 - Rapid City, SD to Fargo, ND

Sunday June 10 - Fargo, ND to Lincoln, NE

Monday June 11 - Lincoln, NE to Denver, CO

Tuesday June 12 - Denver, CO



Copyright 2009-2017 by Tom Dolan. All rights reserved. Federal copyright law prohibits unauthorized reproduction.


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