EL RENO, OK CAP BUST 8 MARCH 2002
|Robert Hall and I left Denton, Texas
at 12:40 PM targeting Watonga, OK, northwest of Oklahoma City. Aware of the strong
cap on the OUN and FWD soundings, we hoped for a dryline surge and locally backed winds to
lend convergence despite model indications of persistent southerly flow parallel to the
Initial cloud deck was scattered in Southern Oklahoma and bases were appealingly low. Vertical development of early congestus also looked promising as midlevel instability was shaping up nicely. Steve Miller called with details of an MCD from the Storm Prediction Center before we turned north at Chickasha and set up near El Reno.
Around 5:00 PM a line of small cu developed out west but evaporated quickly, repeating the cycle several times until it was clear the cap was too strong.
When the midlevel cloud shield passed overhead we saw a remarkable three-tiered structure of rich reds and pinks facing the setting sun. These looked something like striations to storm-starved chasers like us, and mammatus-like protrusions hung from the underside of the deck. The entire visible section of the shield was circular, giving the appearance, with all visual features combined, of some strange cross between an anvil and an orphaned but still rotating updraft.
At 7:00 PM we drove back to Denton and arrived in time to film the frontal passage from downtown.
Amos Magliocco Storm Chasing Page