A messy day reminiscent of 2015, with a strong HP supercell riding along the 44 corridor. This day ended up being challenging due to the meh terrain and lack of straight roads east of 44, but marked my first tornado of the season.
We started out of Norman in the early afternoon with storms going up along the dryline just west of the Wichitas. Moved down 44 as the main supercell of the day began to take shape near Saddle Mountain. Initially we were looking to stay east of Fletcher and let it come to us but with how quickly it's low-level circulation ticked up, we instead moved into position to look down the notch west of Fletcher on the east side of Lake Ellsworth. We got our first view of the storm as it was rotating like a top and rapidly turning HP at this point. It had a decently well defined RFD cut with a solid updraft base/visible rotation. This storm also displayed the most eerie green glow I've seen outside of the Elmer storm. After encountering a confused local in an old VW bug, we hauled it back east through Fletcher and over 44 before cutting north again. Most features were not discernible from our vantage point until we got east of Cement on US 277 after popping out on Country Street 2730. The storm was pulling in inflow like crazy by this point and already had turned it into an almost as dark as night lighting situation. As a result, none of my photos of the ensuing multi-vortex tornado came out well as we closed in on Ninnekah (also partly due to my lack of a tripod in strong inflow winds). Andrew Lyons managed to grab the following photo in the distance of the tornado as it touched down. Shortly after watching it move back into the rain, we continued east on US 277. The storm's massive gust front was rapidly approaching and the tornado was completely shrouded by the time we reached the Ninnekah Truck Stop. At this point, we got slammed by high winds and heavy rain/small hail. We continued east/southeast into a worsening road grid due to the numerous creeks/streams that feed into the Canadian River to the east. We gave up the ghost near Dibbler and headed back to Highway 9 with the storm on our heels. We rode it out as it entered Norman near Riverwind Casino as it continued to choke itself off.
Definitely not the spectacular first tornado of the season I had been hoping for after the initial frustrations of April, but a decent chase nonetheless, even with the crappy terrain and worse road options.
Miles Driven: 141
Hail: Pea (1/2")
Winds: ~60 mph (RFD)