MAY 14

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by Hummer Storm Chaser

Tornados Wednesday Night

Hummer H3T on Oklahoma storm
Hummer H3T Ready for Tornados

The HUMMER H3T along with the rest of the 40-vehicle armada on the biggest tornado chase ever left the hunt at darkness about 9:30 pm Central time May 13 while studying the storms above Binger, Clinton and Watonga in central Oklahoma. Teams don’t chase during darkness because tornados are not visible. At 10:30 pm tornado warnings are still in effect for central Oklahoma, and residents are instructed by all the local television stations to take shelter, stay away from windows, and brace for impact.

What was the farthest southwestern tip of a range of thunderstorms that stretched from central Oklahoma all the way into Illinois was the site of study by the VORTEX2 research project, an endeavor that involves cooperative technical field study by universities, government weather services including the U.S. Navy, private research facilities, all funded by a combination of sources with the bulk coming from the National Science Foundation.

For seven hours the 40-vehicle project scouted and surveyed the developing weather systems, which early in the afternoon Wednesday showed no visible signs that conditions were ripe for damaging storms and twisters. By 4:30 pm unstable conditions produced visible cumulus towers, including one of the most massive anvil-shaped cloud patterns dozens of miles wide. The three radar trucks directing the HUMMER H3T Stormchaser and the rest of the Center for Severe Weather Research group stopped in several areas and made radar images to analyze the storm system, waiting for changes and developments. Using these images, the mission scientists directed the teams to follow the storms for 150 miles across the backroads of central Oklahoma before nightfall.

Spotters reported two-inch hail near Anadarko, which is just south of the daylight storms that the VORTEX2 project followed.

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