More Lightning…

Lightning event #3 came just one day after #2 here in the Okarche area.  These storms were also very late in the night and produced 0.49 of an inch of rain.  Our June total is now up to 2.83 inches.  It was hard to find a good place to photograph lightning with a strong wind blowing from the storms toward the camera.  My stops were dusty and wet.  The best place I ended up finding was on the front porch of my neighbor across the street.  This somewhat unusual vantage point put my house in most of my pictures – something that I haven’t done much of before.  Some of the overall lightning during a 30 second exposure was bright enough to make it look like daytime – despite it being 4 a.m.

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Event #2 of the Summer Lightning Series

Well, the HRRR didn’t get much respect with regard to its solution of moving/developing storms from west Texas into central Oklahoma during the overnight hours… but that’s exactly what happened.  For as much as that model gets it wrong, it’s amazing how right it can be sometimes.

After putting together a birthday breakfast for Mari, I drove out a couple of miles to watch the storms come in.  We also had an incredible sunrise to go with it!

The total rainfall in Okarche today has been 0.37 of an inch… this brings our total for the month to 2.34 which is hard to believe given the kind of heat we have been dealing with.  A few images from this morning… including a final bolt that sent me to the house!

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Recent Updates…

I had a laptop crash during the last chase trip – and it was well past time to get a new desktop up and running – so buying a new machine and fixing a laptop has been taking a lot of my time lately.  Unfortunately, this has cut into my time uploading pics/info on what was a great chase trip.  Also, a lightning shoot on the 23rd took up a good bit of the evening.

There are some folks that are interested in what I have captured during the last few outings – so I have spent this evening uploading some pics at last.

First of all, the lightning on the 23rd could be considered the start of the summer lightning season.  A lot of the really good cloud to ground lightning strikes were too far away to make excellent photos – but I managed quite a few various shots on what ended up being average results.  I do like a couple of them…

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The rest of the gallery can be seen at: http://www.pbase.com/okweatherwatch/062311

A page is still being constructed for the June 18-21 chase trip.  While no information is attached to these galleries – some photos have been put up at:

June 18, 2011 – http://www.pbase.com/okweatherwatch/061811

June 19, 2011 – http://www.pbase.com/okweatherwatch/061911

June 20, 2011 – http://www.pbase.com/okweatherwatch/062011

Incredible Four Day Chase Trip Wrapped Up!

Doug Speheger and I have just wrapped up what is likely the best “storm chase trip” we have ever had.  Especially when the full body of work across several days is considered.  It is going to take many days or weeks to sort out our events / times / locations / photos and video – and I will be providing updates here.

This is a very brief summary which includes a few shots for tease.

We left on Saturday/18th about 6 p.m.  It was a late start, but our only goal was to see a few storms and catch a little lightning while we worked toward I-70.  Overall, this was a positioning move with a couple of bonuses.  Looking east at distant storms forming near the Kansas/Oklahoma border:

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Sunday/19th was expected to be a more active day and we saw three tornadoes in southwest Nebraska.  A couple of the tornadoes were fairly photogenic.  This one was the first of the day:

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Monday/20th was also expected to be a significant day and it didn’t disappoint.  We saw another three tornadoes including the strongest and last of the day:

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In between, we have numerous lightning and storm shots, post storm mammatus/wild flower shots and even some interesting segments of video.  Again, it’s going to take some time to sort out the details which will eventually find a home on a designated page.

Tuesday/21st was a travel day from York, Nebraska to Okarche.  It was a trip to remember…

HEAT! – and the Last Hurrah!

As of 2:45 p.m. on Saturday/18th – the high temperature in Okarche has been 101 degrees.  This has broken the record for the date and is also the 11th high temperature record which has been broken so far this month.  It’s hard to believe that we are seeing these kinds of temperatures so early in the year and it doesn’t bode well for the Summer – which technically hasn’t arrived yet.  Exceptional drought to our southwest is likely to cause the temperatures to spike every time a southwest wind blows across western Texas.

Temperatures got completely out of hand on Friday/17th with 114 degrees reached at Grandfield – 113 degrees at Altus and 111 degrees at Kingfisher.  The high in Okarche only reached a mild 104.  Other highs from the 17th:

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Meanwhile, a strong storm system is moving toward the plains and will be resulting in what very well may be the last of the “typical” significant severe weather producing systems of the storm season.  There will still be the usual upslope flow events across the central and northern high plains – and isolated occurrences of severe events through the summer – but this may be the last of the systems characterized by deep surface low pressure and strong mid-level flow.  Once this system clears the plains on Tuesday – I believe that we can consider the 2011 storm chase season closed and open up the 2011 summer lightning season.

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Sometimes… I crack myself up…

Severe storms formed in central Oklahoma this afternoon.  Unfortunately for me, they formed a little too far south to give them a look.  Anything south of Okarche moves right into the Oklahoma City area which is not favorable chase territory.

So, I continued on with various plans of shopping, cleaning and gardening – also working in new episodes of Deadliest Catch.

Meanwhile, the severe weather did continue, and I took the time to peek in at the radar to see who was being affected.  One of the storms moved across northwest Oklahoma City.  I called my parents and they told me that they had about a ten minute period of golf ball size hail.  The warning said tennis ball size hail was possible as the storm moved toward Edmond.

One of the things that I noticed while reading the warnings was my good friend Doug Speheger was the person issuing the warnings from the National Weather Service in Norman.  Now we change gears…

Our friends Pete and Steve from England and our friend Ester from Spain are currently in the states storm chasing.  We have a BBQ planned at the house tomorrow to celebrate the storm season coming to a close and see them off before their trip back on Friday.  Doug had already been invited to the BBQ and I confirmed with him earlier in the day that he would be there.

Now back to the storms… while seeing a storm producing tennis ball size hail headed toward Edmond, and another storm producing golf ball size hail was moving through Norman (including Doug’s house – and the National Weather Center) – I figured it was time to give Doug a shout – knowing that he was the warning forecaster for this ongoing severe weather event.  My message to him?  “Do you like ranch or italian for your salad dressing?”  I didn’t really expect anything back, but soon received: “Mmmm, ranch.”

Sometimes… I crack myself up……….

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It’s Not a Good Sign When…

…the forecast discussion only contains four sentences:

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
609 AM CDT SAT JUN 4 2011

DISCUSSION…
THERE IS LITTLE TO SAY ABOUT THIS VERY STATIC WEATHER PATTERN
EXCEPT THAT THE HEAT WILL FEEL LIKE AUGUST IN EARLY JUNE. LITTLE
VARIATION ON THE UPPER RIDGE`S POSITION OVER OKLAHOMA IS EXPECTED.
SOME DAILY CIRRUS FROM SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS IN EASTERN NM AND
WEST TX CAN BE EXPECTED TO MODULATE SUNSHINE IN WESTERN OKLAHOMA.
OTHERWISE, HOT, HUMID, NO RAIN.