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Day 7 - Wall Clouds, Lightning Storms, and Abandoned Hotels
Published 5/21/2017 in Charlie's Weather Author Charlie
Our last (sniff sniff) day of storm chasing was significantly more relaxed than Thursday’s, but we still managed to see some well-defined mammatus and asperatus clouds, a giant wall cloud, some very strong straight-line winds, and the most amazing lightning storm I’ve ever seen in my life. Because Friday's storms were much further south than Thursday's, much of the day was spent driving, and we gained an appreciation for the beauty of the Central Texas landscape and drove through many small, quirky, and historic towns. We left Clinton, Oklahoma around 11:30 and started our journey down to North/Central Texas. Soon after we entered Texas, we ran across some beautiful mammatus and asperitus clouds from storms to our south. Asperitas clouds under a thunderstorm anvil. If you think this picture is cool, timelapses of... read more ❯

Day 6: A Stunning Shelf Cloud and Our First Tornado
Published 5/19/2017 in Charlie's Weather Author Charlie
Even though it was nowhere near as active as forecast, day 6 was by far our most active day yet. We saw it all: a tornado, tons of wall clouds, an amazing shelf cloud, multiple funnel clouds, and we were pummeled by high winds, torrential rain, and hail on two separate occasions. The SPC homepage Wednesday night and Thursday morning painted an apocalyptic scenario for the day. In a pink highlighted message at the top, they warned that "some strong, long-lived tornadoes are expected, along with hail to near 4 inches in diameter." In their "Convective Outlook," they also designated Central/Southern Kansas and Western Oklahoma as a "high risk" area for severe weather, the highest on their scale. Their map of tornado probabilities (which highlight the probability of a tornado occurring within 25 miles of any given point) was... read more ❯

The Rainy (And Snowy) Season Is Over!
Published 5/19/2017 in The Dalles Weather Blog Author Karl
Whew...how was that rainy, cold weather on Tuesday?!? The Dalles officially registered a high temp of 59, but it was in the low 50s for most of the day with heavy showers and hail at times. (Normal high for May 16, is 73 degrees F.) What's more, Timberline Lodge recorded 28" of new snow! There was heavy snow over Government Camp and even a couple inches at Cooper Spur Resort, roughly 3400' elevation. Pretty damn unusual for the 3rd week of May! This was caused by a low-pressure system from the polar regions (i.e. Alaska), diving down the Pacific Northwest coast. It's the kind of pattern that could give us snow very near sea level, anytime between December and early March. When you get a cold airmass in conjunction with a summer-like sun angle (remember, solar summer = early May through early August!), the... read more ❯

Day 5: BBQ, the National Weather Center, and Thursday Storm Prep
Published 5/18/2017 in Charlie's Weather Author Charlie
With tornado activity well to our north yesterday, we decided to take a day off from chasing and explore Oklahoma! After sleeping in past noon, we decided to head east from Clinton, OK towards Oklahoma City and get some good southern barbecue. We stopped at Swadley's Bar-B-Q on the western outskirts of Oklahoma City and had some pretty darn delicious ribs. It's good I don't live here... if I did, my belly would grow faster than a supercell on a sunny spring day with lots of CAPE. After a very filling breakfast/lunch/dinner at Swadley's, we took an hour drive northeast to the Oklahoma University campus in Norman, Oklahoma. As luck would have it, we parked right next to the "National Weather Center," which is a building holding pretty much everything an atmospheric scientist like myself could ever dream of. In this single building, you can find the NSSL (National Severe Storms Laboratory),... read more ❯

Day 4: A Potpourri of Severe Weather
Published 5/17/2017 in Charlie's Weather Author Charlie
Our second day of storm chasing was definitely a lot more active than our first! We saw flooding rains, strong winds, lots of (presumably wind, possibly tornado) damage, a weak funnel cloud, several weakly rotating wall clouds, lots of "scud," and even smoke from an oil tank that got struck by lightning. The storms started firing up a little sooner than yesterday, so we were on the road heading south from Guymon, OK to the Texas panhandle by 12:30 pm. The first storm we spotted had some light rotation on radar and we were able to get some good shots of a lightly rotating wall cloud. We even saw a "non-condensation" tornado dropping down from this wall cloud - a rotating column of dust at the surface that appeared to be the beginnings of a tornado - but unfortunately it wasn't large enough to show up in pics. ... read more ❯

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