Oklahoma Panhandle Tornadoes

Chase Map
Date: April 15, 2016
Chase Partners: Zac Flamig
Chasers Encountered: Mike Scantlin, Connor McCrorey, JR Hehnly, Marcus Diaz, Alex Bartholomew
Miles: Driven: 583 Miles
Severe Risk: SPC Outlooks
States Visited: KS, OK, TX
Weather Encountered:
Funnel Cloud, Good Structure, Hail, Severe Wind, Tornado, Wall Cloud


Videos: (Click to watch)


Chase Narrative: 

This happened to be one of the better early season chases in quite awhile, as Zac Flamig and I intercepted 4 nice tornadoes in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

We left Norman shortly after noon and took our time somewhat to go west on I-40, stopping to eat in Weatherford and for gas twice on the way out. We also spent some time at the allsups in Vega before deciding to bite on the storm to the northwest. It didn't look horribly organized and was still in a high temp/dew spread, but was obviously going to move into a better environment, although not a great environment. Dewpoints were struggling to the 50s that far west, but the hope was just for a good supercell at this point.

We headed north and then west out of Vega to our first intercept point and vuvuzela-ing of Mike and Connor near and south of Dalhart, then followed the storm into Dalhart. We got into 2"+ hail which I think may have left a couple of dents before heading into Dalhart, which was a complete construction mess.

The storm almost produced south of town and east of town, but quickly became undercut by outflow again it seemed. The next hour or two would feature a lot of cycles with no real sign of hope, including almost shriveling up a couple of times. Classic signs of moisture starvation. We ended up on some back roads and almost got stuck with some of the sloppy roads, but managed to emerge back on pavement later.

Eventually the storm seemed to again ramp up as we neared the OK/TX border. We had 2 really good cycles where the wall cloud seemed beefy again, but both blew out as quickly as they came and we were left with a storm that seemed on life support in upper 40s dews. We ran into Mike and Connor on a back road southwest of Eva, OK with defeat on our faces. The sun was about to set and this storm wasn't going to do it.

...Or would it? Things seemed to ramp up again as we were nearing 412 and all of a sudden I found myself on the sloppiest road I've ever taken my car heading east towards a funnel and then tornado - Albeit Brief. Then another tornado.

Finally after 2 tornadoes and a precip dump, we headed north and got to pavement at 412.... barely.

We headed east on US412 punching through some hellacious RFD and then north towards Eva. It was hard to tell what the storm was doing at this point, but apparently it blew some power lines down in a spectacular fashion behind us. I only noticed a small spark off the pole to our left as headed north, dragging our bumper.

The storm gave us a last hurrah of 2 more tornadoes at the same time, one behind the other. After that it'd fade into Kansas where it likely dropped more, but it was hard to tell with how dark it was.

JR Hehnly got a room at the Hampton Inn in Dumas, so we headed that way, eating allsups burritos for dinner.