Andy Cole's Stormchase blog

Back on the plains in 2019 to share in nature's spectacle

20 May 2019: Outbreak

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Thankfully for everyone concerned, the feared strong tornado outbreak didn’t occur. It was looking pretty scary for a while, but the thick low cloud prevented the level of surface heating required to ignite the atmosphere. However, plenty of storms still formed and we had a fun chase down in Texas, got near a couple of tornadic circulations, and experienced some of the most terrifying lightning I think I’ve ever seen and subsequently getting swallowed by crazy amounts of rain.

Today could be a really bad day for Oklahoma. The National Weather Service are not mincing their words.

“A serious outbreak of destructive, tornadic supercells is likely over parts of this region this afternoon into evening, especially in the high- and moderate-risk areas.”

This is not really the kind of day you want to see as a chaser. Yes you want to witness storms and tornadoes, but an outbreak of this scale presents a real risk to the people of Oklahoma.

It means a very different kind of day for us. We plan to keep away from the towns, and out in open country and will be giving any storm that forms a healthy dose of respect and make sure our escape routes are clear if we should ever need them.

This is about as bad as it can get

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