A Storm Chasers Perspective - Tornadic Supercell, El Reno, OK - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

A Storm Chasers Perspective - Tornadic Supercell, El Reno, OK

May 31st Tornadic Supercell, El Reno, OK

I knew early on this day that the set up in Oklahoma was looking pretty bad. Everything was in place for large and damaging tornadoes and giant hail with a threat for dangerous flooding. We left by midday with a target in west central Oklahoma, where there was a dry line intersecting a stationary cool front. With temperatures in the upper 90s and very high humidity the air was very unstable.  Explosive thunderstorm development was highly likely.

Three supercell thunderstorms quickly developed west of El Reno with the southernmost rapidly dominating the skies, the wall cloud developed in a matter of minutes and shortly after a tornado warning was issued. The tornado itself was moving east at about 20 mph when we got in position to track and videotape it.  As we turned south on the paved road out of El Reno we were passed by the Weather Channel's Tornado Hunt 2013 vehicle.  We quickly saw the tornado had increased its speed and more importantly had changed its course from east to northeast and before the Weather Channel crew could react it was already to late, a truly scary situation and our hearts go out to those that were injured.

The tornado passed us by and we repositioned in order to watch it move away and at this point it had expanded to almost a mile wide once again, ( it was huge!).  unfortunately a satellite tornado formed behind us and destroyed a building not to far away and pelted us with debris! I would estimate the winds at about 120 mph! Shortly after that hair raising event we were in the clear but cut off from following the tornado by the debris path.

All in all this was one of the craziest and most unpredictable tornados I have ever seen in 33 years of storm chasing.

 Allan Gwyn

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  • Allan Gwyn

    Allan Gwyn

    A native Texan, Allan was born and raised in the Amarillo area. A graduate of Canyon High School he also attended WTAMU and earned his Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University.
    A native Texan, Allan was born and raised in the Amarillo area. A graduate of Canyon High School he also attended West Texas State University and earned his Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University.