Capturing Incredible.

May 21, 2011

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There are a couple of rules in life you can bet I will always follow. The first is that you pay your taxes. The second is never tell your mom a lie because she’ll figure it out. The third? If there’s a dryline in Oklahoma in May with the ingredients for tornadic supercells you chase.


Let’s call May 21, 2011 for what it truly was — a longshot. The cap was strong, forcing was weak to anemic and only one model was giving us any prayer of a storm in the morning and that model was the RAP.

We kinda left the house expecting a cap bust…

However, we weren’t going to be deterred. From memory many good friends and most chasers were sitting this day out. Only the chasecationers and gluttons for punishment locally were out and about on this day.

We ended up targeting roughly where the RAP wanted to initiate a supercell in an area of stronger local convergence down by Ardmore to Davis.


Well you know. Things literally went from 0-60 quickly as storms fired. We knew the environment favored potential strong tornadoes if a cell went — so given that conducive environment the storms forming near Davis, OK became supercellular almost the instant they went up.

And with that, within 40 minutes of initiation we had our first tornado of the day near Sulphur.

The storm rapidly cycled up again and a new tornado was imminent.

This new tornado was located near and north of the town of Sulphur.

After this tornado happened, the storm once again cycled up and yet another tornado became imminent.

And then another tornado.

The storm produced another tornado lit up by sunset colors after the big cone near Hickory, OK.

At this point the parent storm began to weaken — and to our surprise (we had been chasing this cell for some time without actually looking at any radar data) there was a monster supercell 30 miles to our north heading straight for the town of Ada.

Danger! Ada

As we approached this supercell it was clear it was much stronger than the previous supercell. The structure was incredible and almost immediately upon arrival we watched a big elephant trunk to cone tornado touch down west of town.

Crazy enough, the storm wasn’t done and actually produced one final tornado before the day was over.

This final tornado was very weak but still was a capper to end the day. At this point, the storm was weakening rapidly so we caught dinner in Ada before heading back to Norman with a lot of tornadoes documented and several days of chasing ahead of us.