Our first tour of the year was a resounding success! The first day of the tour turned out to be a great chase in western Texas. The beautiful supercell in the picture above ended up producing a short-lived, weak tornado (pictured below) near the tiny town of Lockney, Texas on April 22.
April 24 yielded a somewhat forgettable chase in north-central Kansas. The main storm of the day was briefly tornado-warned, but the storm was very HP (high-precipitation), which made visibility very challenging. After some structure and small hail, we met some chasers for dinner in Salina and concentrated on our next target in north Texas.
April 26 was a very interesting chase day. With an original target of Stephenville, Texas, we headed south and jumped on severe cells developing west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. We followed several storms during the day, but did not get visual on a tornado before the sun went down. We did, however, encounter an unbelievable amount of hail. We were lucky to not lose our windshield, as several chasers did on this day. Hail has large as softballs did extensive damage. Below is a picture of hail covering the ground near the town of Dublin.
Once the sun went down, we positioned ourselves on a country road near Rio Vista, Texas and watched a severe storm as it approached our area. The storm eventually became a perennial tornado producer, and we were lucky enough to get a few glimpses of a large tornado as lightning illuminated the storm. The picture below was seen on local news in Oklahoma City.
Unfortunately the weather calmed down considerably after the 26th, so we visited local tourist attractions in the Oklahoma City area. In a strange turn of events, we were visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo, and were briefly put on lockdown because of an escaped tiger! Luckily the tiger escaped its enclosure but was trapped in such a way that it was never a threat to the public. It was a very odd situation to be in!