Day 6: The lightning day

Day 6 was our last day of chasing and although SPC had a 2% tornado risk for our area, the actual chance of seeing a tornado was very low, mainly due to a high dew point/temperature spread that would keep the cloud bases high. The risk for very large hail was higher than the day before so this was our main chase target.

Today was however a day where we learned about the road network of North Central Texas – or, rather, the lack of it. We found a very promising storm which showed a prolific hook on radar (which could be a precursor to a tornado) we could not get anywhere close to the base. The high moisture content at the surface was however making it very hazy and difficult to see over long distances – and a road network that made it very difficult to get close. So, we played the waiting game.

While waiting we were put on a rather spectacular lightning show with plenty of positive cloud-to-ground lightning, one hitting a tree at a distance and lighting it up! When the storm finally came in over us it soon clashed into another storm and got into an MCS mess.

Similarly to the other day, the southern storm of the same complex had gotten tornado warned but just as last time, it was too far away and in the wrong direction since we needed to go north. It was not a storm ready to drop an EF-5 by far but it always feels bad when you cannot reach a tornado warned storm on the same storm complex.

Tour guide Alec Scholten at the peak of the storm (see the hook on radar)

As we closed the day, we drove north under a great show of anvil crawlers, double rainbow and a beautiful yellow sunset. We made a few stops under it and this was really the highlight of the day.

Continuing north, back to Oklahoma City, we stopped for a well deserved dinner and arrived back at OKC a bit after midnight.

This week certainly had its ups and downs, starting with the terrible news in the beginning about the Omega Block and Death Ridge. At that point I thought we would barely be chasing this week, and that I would be lucky to even see a supercell. Given that, the week turned out better than I thought on my first morning at the hotel room. We were at a rotating supercell, with a wall cloud close to go tornadic, saw some large hail and were treated with some really nice lightning.

Still, what I hope for when I go chasing is not necessarily to see a tornado but to be treated with something that I have not experienced before. A new adventure, so to say. I don’t feel like I did this time. The main thing I bring back in terms of experience is that I had not seen any storms at all for 4 years, so just experiencing that was great!

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