April 19 Chase
Southcenral Oklahoma

Four Tornado Warned Storms, No Tornadoes!

Long range forecasts showed a possible severe weather outbreak across north central Texas and most of Oklahoma as far as a week prior to April 19.  Accordingly, our long range plans showed the outbreak to be during Easter break.  Ah! a preseason chase in the making.  As the weekend approached, Donnie Lynn and myself began to make serious plans to vacate north Louisiana and head west.  Indeed we did make the journey Friday, April 18 to Dallas.  Once there, we met up with chase partner Brad Farrington and Cory Denton.

Saturday's Day One Outlook from SPC showed a moderate risk area for the eastern two thirds of Oklahoma east of an Alva to Ardmore line with a slight risk area west of the moderate risk area to the Texas Panhandle.  A surface front stretched from a low over southwestern Kansas across the Oklahoma Panhandle into Colorado.  The dryline extended southward across western Oklahoma.  Forecasts showed the dryline to surge east during the early afternoon hours firing storms over western Oklahoma.  However, the dryline had other intentions.  The southern portion of the dryline bulged eastward during late morning.

Our initial target area was Duncan, Oklahoma about 100 miles SSW of Oklahoma City.  This was the western most edge of the moderate risk area.  We surged northward up I-35, then west on US 70 out of Ardmore.  About 50 miles west of Ardmore, skies rapidly cleared and SE winds shifted to the SW.  What?  The dryline was still to the west wasn't it?  Unknown to us, it had unexpectedly jumped to the east.  Unsure of ourselves, we continued on to our target area in clear skies.

We parked south of Duncan and observed a short line of storms just over the northwest horizon.  These storms had fired up ahead of the cold front over northwest Oklahoma.  Around 2PM some towering cumulus began to form 50-75 miles to our north.  To our east other towering cumulus could be observed about the same distance away.  Enough was enough.  It was time to convince ourselves the dryline was to our east!  We immediately headed east on state highway 7 back toward I-35 and Pauls Valley.  Not enough!  OK, let's try for Ada.  Finally, northeast of Ada, we caught up with the dryline and the newly developing storms.  Once ahead of the storms, we could observe a short but broken line of storms.  In addition, a "Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS)" watch had been issued for all of eastern Oklahoma along and ahead of the dryline.

The storms appeared to cycle having sharp well defined updrafts to a more diffused appearance and back again.  They never took on the sharp appearance typical of most severe storms.  Storms continued to develop in the same general area and move to the northeast.  During the next four hours, four supercell storms formed in and around McAlester in Pittsburg county.  These storms basically took the same northeast track with each storm forming just slightly south of the other.

Many local spotters were in the area along with some chasers.  The 2-meter ham bands bustled with activity as each storm formed and moved northeast.  In more than a few occasions, local spotters reported sightings of funnel clouds which turned out only to be scud.  These reports were unfortunately relayed as fact to the National Weather Service.  In some cases, we were in the same location as the reporting spotter.  We were amazed at how inaccurate the observations actually were.

Darkness fell and we retired in McAlester treating ourselves to pizza and "adult beverages."

North Louisiana Chase Team setting up dish
Distant towering cumulus some 75 miles north of Duncan
Small wall cloud southwest of McAlester
Large wall cloud approaching Eufala Lake
Disorganized wall cloud approaching Eufala Lake
Staring into the eye of the beast!
Donnie Lynn records wall cloud of tornado warned storm
Well defined wall cloud NW of McAlester
Ragged sky over McAlester with sirens blowing
Underneath of flanking line southwest of McAlester

Nothing like beautiful Texas Bluebonnets in chase country!