2012-04-12: Bust in Canadian, TX

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.

Cumulus patheticus south of Canadian, TX on 12 April 2012

Cumulus patheticus south of Canadian, TX on 12 April 2012

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.

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