A Strong Tornado Hits Tipton, OK
Several tornadoes were reported near the Texas/Oklahoma border yesterday. Here is one that I witnessed in Tipton, OK. Below are a couple of videos from the storm:
The storm chase actually started in the Texas panhandle, but storm mergers led to a messy scenario that was not very chasable. I did witness some low-end tornado damage in Shamrock, but rushed east to get ahead of a line of thunderstorms, which had been responsible for producing a few tornadoes.
It became fairly clear that the environment near the Red River Valley along the Texas/Oklahoma border was becoming increasingly unstable. Combine that with enhanced low-level shear over southwestern Oklahoma and it was clear that tornadoes, some possibly significant, were going to develop.
Discrete cells began to fire just over the Texas border and as they moved into Oklahoma, one in particularly really wrapped up. That storm went on hit Elmer, OK with a large and destructive tornado. That was at the time of the above photo, as I hung out in Tipton to intercept the tornado. As the storm approached, winds increased and there was quite a bit of dust getting sucked into the storm. I dropped a little bit south to get a better view and that’s where I find myself in the field, face to face with the tornado. It was difficult to see and it wasn’t long before I needed to get out of there.
I drove west, in hopes to chase the storm, but the dirt roads were washed out. I quickly found myself in a tense situation, as I had to drive back through torrential rainfall, hail and roads that were becoming increasingly flooded. I managed to get out, but then moments later a stray hailstone smashed my windshield. I hesitantly kept chasing.
Other supercells were firing, but the storm mode was becoming increasingly messy. High precipitation supercells, quite the story for 2015 in almost every single significant event. Anyway, I did manage to follow another rotating storm near Wichita Falls, TX, basically right along the TX/OK border. Although the storm was very clearly in rotation, I did not witness any additional tornadoes. Still, the Tipton storm was unforgettable and getting any additional storms that day was just icing on the cake, so to speak.
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