TWISTEX Field Operations for May 25, 2011

May 25, 2011 – 10:18 am

Currently crossing the border into Arkansas

Last couple of days:

On Sunday, TWISTEX intercepted a long-live tornado producing supercell that produced multiple tornadoes in the hills of northeast Oklahoma near Dripping Springs, OK.  Although the local terrain provided significant challenges, the group was able to observe multiple touchdowns along the path were we terminated the chase at Dripping Springs.

This Supercell was located south of the storm that generated the devastating Joplin, MO tornado.

On Monday, the group observed (and collected MM readings) a tornado that was located just south of Fairview, OK.  Tornado lasted about 4-5 minutes with the debris cloud displaced several miles to the west of the funnel.  A few other spin-ups were noted as well.

Tuesday was a big tornado day for Oklahoma and Kansas.  SPC has issued a high risk for tornadoes as the forecast parameters were similar to the big tornado outbreak day on April 27.  Our group intercepted 3 tornadoes, one of which was quite strong near Canton, OK.  We had RADAR running throughout the tornado life cycle, but ground clutter blocked some of the signal early in its life. We went through one velocity fold due to the measured velocity couplet using a high PRF setting.

The ‘wedge-type’ tornado paralleled highway 51a coming within 1.5 km of us, but never crossing our road for a deployment.

We observed 2 more tornadoes with the same supercell storm before a storm merger happened–which weakened the storm.  At one point we had two tornadoes in progress on either side of the road (51a) only a few Km apart.

Today:

Another active day is ahead for tornadoes–with another tornado outbreak expected for the Ozarks including eastern Arkansas/Missouri and parts of western Tennessee and Mississippi and southern Illinois.

We almost didn’t chase today due to crew exhaustion, however the setup does look decent for strong tornadoes in northeast Arkansas/southeast Missouri.  This terrain isn’t bad to chase in *if* storms initiate in this flat terrain.  At the moment, the plan is to target the cold front between Little Rock and Stuttgart, Arkansas by mid afternoon.  Excellent CAPE and great turning of the winds in the lower levels should be sufficient for tornadoes.

Tomorrow:

Down day as the storm system pushes off the east coast. Will return to Colorado for a few days.

Future:

Looks like a few down days as northwest flow prevails over the Midwest.

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