Dan D., Jeff S., Mike F., and I headed west on 12 April 2012. SPC had issued probabilities for severe storms from the triple point in W KS down the dryline into the TX and OK panhandles. The discussion mentioned the conditional nature of the severe storm potential; i.e., if storms formed, then they would likely be severe and have a good chance at producing tornadoes.
We initially drove up the northwest passage. We had a shot at targeting the triple point, but opted for the dryline bulge target in TX instead, heading west out of Watonga. The entire drive, we were socked in by low-level cloud cover – not a good sign, since it would limit solar heating and limit the ability of updrafts to punch through the moderately strong cap. It was also relatively chilly for a chase day – temperatures did not rise out of the 60s for most of the day.
We set up shop in Canadian, TX, where the skies were clearing out, waited, waited, … and waited. Our eyes scanned the horizon for any sign of turkey towers. When one finally did erupt to our south around 7 p.m., we had nothing better to do, so we dropped south after it. A few bubbling cumulus clouds did develop, but none hit the tropopause, we ended up shower-chasing. We ended the chase in Elk City, where we enjoyed a decent supper at the Portobello Grill.
It was a high risk, high-reward situation, and unfortunately our numbers did not come up. In hindsight, at my own peril I opted to ignore a preponderance of model solutions that forecast a cap bust. As they say, however, if you don’t play, you can’t win.