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May 16th, 2015 Tipton, OK Tornado – Chase Log

What a fun chase day! Began the day in Garden City, KS, after chasing the day before in Nebraska. With clouds and precip holding on across the Texas panhandle early, we figured southwest Oklahoma was the target area, as this area was most likely to clear out. We hit the road about 930 and went south.. Here is a picture of our whole chase GPS track.

May 16th, 2015 GPS Log
May 16th, 2015 GPS Log

We went south and stopped in Hollis, OK. There was a storm ongoing to the southeast of Amarillo, which we thought was a “sucker storm”, so we let that storm go… For the moment… We went to Hollis, OK, assuming storms would fire further south/west and move up. We knew they would be moving quick, so we didn’t want to get stuck at the river.

Well, eventually the storm to the northwest started looking a bit better. So we jaunted back north and west, which you can see in the image above, near the 83 marker. We didn’t see anything too interesting, except a lot of mud roads, so we went back south. On the way south, storms started to look a bit better near and west of Childress, TX, so we kept going south. There was one storm we intercepted near Childress, but then it died.. Meanwhile a stronger storm was taking shape southwest of Childress, so we got on it. We kept moving southeast and got ahead of it. We stopped a bit west of Quanah to take some photos and watch it. It was trying to get organized, but wasn’t quite there yet. It was moving northeast at a pretty good clip, and we wanted to get north of the river.

In the image below you can see where we stopped and took photos south of 287. Then see where we went north of Quanah to get across the river.

The Demon Storm Begins!
The Demon Storm Begins!

We crossed the river and got ahead of the storm.. You can see we had to double back, where we originally tried to go east. We wanted to get ahead of the precip and be northeast of the hook, but the roads didn’t allow it. Even with big mud tires, travel was slow, and eventually we came on a completely flooded road and had to double back.

This next part is where things got interesting for us…

We were ahead of the storm by a bit at this point. It was really ramping up and I wanted to get south because I figured a tornado was coming soon. We were moving northeast on Hwy 6… I saw a route south from Olustee and then east to Elmer.. I knew the road south was paved but I became nervous that the road east to Elmer could be flooded due to water.. It crossed a river and we already had a flooded road… So we didn’t go.. Turned out it was a paved road, not mud, and was perfectly fine.. UGH!!!! Oh well… We still got a tornado.. But missed the wedge.. Keep reading..

Deciding NOT To Go South/East
Deciding NOT To Go South/East

We continued north/east and eventually got well ahead of the storm! We then blasted south/west to finally move into position to intercept it! We went south on a familiar road (Brett and I saw a big tornado on this highway in 2011). You can see where we went west, stopped and filmed, then drove east.

Tornado Time!!
Tornado Time!!

Here is a picture from the tornado yesterday!

Tipton, OK Tornado
Tipton, OK Tornado

Here is the video!

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Brandon Sullivan

I am an entrepreneur, meteorologist and storm chaser. I travel and take captivating photos and videos across the world. If I'm not chasing, I'm at the gym. All opinions are my own and do not represent my employers or investments.

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