24 May 2011: Central OK outbreak in brief

To make a long story short: I did not go chasing because I was attending a workshop at the NWC, which let out two hours early. Lacking a chase partner, I stayed, and tried to keep the workshop organizers (many of whom were from NSF in Washington, DC) informed and helped funnel the attendees down into the tornado shelter when the warning was issued. (This was actually my first time being in the NWC during a tornado warning because, usually, I’m out chasing!) Judging by photos taken by a few people who snuck up to the NWC obs deck, the rope stage of the Chickasha/Blanchard tornado was visible for a few seconds. I missed it. The same supercell went on to drop another tornado east of Norman, near Pink, but I didn’t see that either.

My husband was out navigating the NOXP radar, and his crew collected data on the Canton / Fairview tornado. Jeff Snyder reported that he collected an amazing RaXPol data set on the Hinton / El Reno / Piedmont tornado. I have to admit to being more than a bit jealous!

I’m sure either of Dan or Jeff would trade in those data in a heartbeat to restore the lives of the tornado victims. (Five people are confirmed dead as of this writing.) Still, the data collection was a major victory for severe weather research, and hopefully the work that comes out of it will help to redeem some of the tragedy of today.

Update: Corrected locations where radars collected data.

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