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February 10, 2009 Storm Chase

I was expecting to end up near or southwest of McAlester but on the way west on I-40 I saw some great towering cu trying to develop just W of I-35 in central Oklahoma and McAlester was still socked in with clouds. I was hoping to not end up over there but as I continued west I saw no reason to not continue on since nothing else was going on. My timing was perfect as I entered OKlahoma City a tornado warning was issued and I was able to get in good position NE of OKC. I soon saw a large wall cloud with obvious rotation. I shot some video here which should be pretty good...especially when time lapsed. I headed a bit farther north to Waterloo road and decided to get a closer look at the wall cloud. After just a few blocks heading west I saw a funnel appearing out of the rain around the wall cloud. The tornado appeared less than 5 minutes after I left my good vantage point up on I-35. I snapped off a quick picture and then continued west to higher ground and hopefully a good view. My cell phone rang then and I answered since I figured it was weather related since I was in perfect position. It was Jim Cantore with The Weather Channel and he wanted to know what I was seeing. As I got to the top of a hill I could clearly see the tornado all the way to the ground. It was a lot closer now and I could see the RFD was about to hit me and the toranado was already disappearing behind it. The RFD hit and debris starting falling from the sky - probably from the strong RFD winds (50 mphish). I did a phoner with The Weather Channel and then I headed back east but only to setup for the next supercell which was just southwest of the first. I was in pretty much the same position for the next supercell that tracked right behind the first. It had a nice wall cloud but it started to gust out pretty good with a shelf cloud forming and beginning to race out to the east. I decided I should start back home and wait on the stuff to hit later since the tornado potential seemed to be really waning and more importantly I work early the next day (3am) and I needed to be back in my home area in case the line did any damage there later. I wish I had stayed up on I-35 a few minutes longer and I probably could have tripoded my camera for the tornado pics. With the RFD bearing down and doing the TWC phoner I didn't get but the one picture. I did get decent video of the wall cloud just minutes (less than 5) before the tornado...I shoulda stayed in that spot!

Here is video:

Supercell #1 and Tornado

Supercell #2 - Wall Clouds and transitioning into Shelf Clouds

The line of storms made it back to me at Sallisaw Oklahoma where I had been waiting on it (and resting) for a couple hours. It came through just after 10pm. I was a bit surprised to see that a nice shelf cloud had raced out ahead of the storms a good few miles. The shelf cloud was sorta neat as it went to the ground in several spots. I am sure some thought there were tornadoes as there were several good look-a-likes. After the line overtook me I stayed in Sallisaw for a while trying to get lightning. I eventually headed south towars Spiro and got more lightning down there.

Here are the pics from the second phase of this chase:

This was in Sallisaw and shows the shelf cloud / tornado look-a-like.

Lightning from between Sallisaw and Sprio, OK

This little guy flew into me on my way into work. I turned around and came back and stayed with him till he was feeling ok...he flew away seeming as though he was just fine.