Here was our big catch from Thursday, this nicely structured supercell in north-central Oklahoma near Stillwater. The Hokie Storm Chasers had chased one supercell across the same area earlier that spawned a tornado — linked here is a picture of the cone funnel, unfortunately the base slipped behind the trees. (The part of Oklahoma east of I-35 has lots of trees and hills.) Spotters closer to the funnel confirmed it touched down — the rapid rotation of the funnel was plainly evident from our location. We were chasing storms from about 1 to 7 p.m., which is unusually early in the day to start, and unusually early to finish a day with actual storm chasing. So we had time for a real sit-down Mexican food meal.
Good thing we got to rest relatively early, because there is a moderate risk of severe storms — including the potential for tornadoes — in Oklahoma. After this, the pattern out here may calm down a couple of days before a resurgence early to mid next week, which would be our final days in the Plains.
Another sunny, 80s to near 90 temperature day for Southwest Virginia today. The front affecting us out here will increase the shower and thunderstorm chances by Sunday and cool off the warm spell early next week.
Late next week, forecast models are pointing toward potential tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico. Long-range models do not always have good handle on tropical potential, or sometimes, they’re picking up on something that takes a little longer to develop. But still something to keep an eye down the road. Maybe I come back from a severe storm chase directly into a tropical cyclone setup.