Wednesday, April 2, 2014 — Central OK


A classic early-season cap bust defuses this system's only day with decent tornado potential.

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This day offered great potential for early April, but it all hinged on initiation. We've seen this movie before (4/5/10, for example) and know how it ends. This was probably the most crushing version yet, though, because initiation actually seemed fairly plausible as late as early afternoon the day of! The GFS and ECMWF both remained adamant on warm-sector convection from several days out all the way up until the morning of. Many high-res models, especially 4 km WRF variants, were not nearly as optimistic, but the HRRR initiated multiple supercells along the warm front and dryline through most of the day. Unfortunately, the real atmosphere is not a democratic representation of our numerical models, and we came away with just another cap bust.

Daniel, Derek and I "chased" again, not leaving Norman until 3:30pm given the close proximity and uncertainty on initiation. The dryline stayed fairly close to the western OK border for most of the day, while the warm front was draped from around WWR to PNC and into SE KS. We agreed that convection along the warm front, if any, was likely to grow upscale quickly and be generally unrewarding. While the dryline was the riskiest play in terms of getting a storm, we decided it was the only area worth pursuing, so we headed W to El Reno initially. By 6pm there were a few areas of bubbling Cu along the dryline, so we nudged W to the I-40 Northwest Passage exit, then finally NW to Watonga when puny updrafts began to emerge S of WWR. These updrafts amounted to nothing and dissipated after 15 minutes, leaving us with little hope. Sadly, we had just enough hope remaining that we didn't want to risk a long dinner at Pizza Hut, the only establishment in the fine town of Watonga with edible food. Instead, we begrudgingly hit up the drive-thru at Sonic, waiting 10 minutes at the window only to receive food so stale that we threw most of it away upon getting home. There's no love-hate relationship quite like storm chasing.