Chasing in southeast Oklahoma is a special kind of challenge. I was reminded of this fact as I spent a few minutes twisting through the hollers, my view completely obstructed by trees, as a tornado-warned storm that had already produced funnels was moving somewhere over my left shoulder. Nonetheless, that was my target today, due to a potentially favorable spin in the atmosphere and huge instability, among other things. Ardmore, specifically, I viewed as a starter point, but when I got there after driving from Wichita, I couldn’t help driving just a bit farther to Marietta, just north of the Texas border. (Also, I left the Ardmore truck stop because a skunk was wandering around, and I’d almost stepped on it when I attempted to get out of my car.) I was anxious over an already-reported tornado on the ground in Texas, but like everything in Texas, it was really far away. I chose to remain in my target area, watching cloud towers push up and break apart – until one started to look as if it meant it. It had crisp, billowing convection and began to cut a gorgeous shape in the sky. When I got up close enough to see the base, rotation was evident. At first, it had a multi-vortex appearance and produced a couple of needle funnels in this mode. Later, it put down short-lived tornadoes. And much later, as this storm died, another to its north produced a tornado just outside Ada, Oklahoma. I got to it just in time, and this photo shows the structure of the storm with the tornado on the ground under it. I’ll be posting more photos later, but once again, I am extremely sleep-deprived and anticipate more driving and chasing tomorrow and Monday. I hope I can find a few minutes (really, a few hours) to post photos soon.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said, in a real dark night of the soul, it is always 3 o’clock in the morning. The same might be said of website building. I’m designing this site to showcase my new business, as I plan to leave Florida Today newspaper after 11 years of reporting and shooting in just a few weeks. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and covering events like Tales of the Cocktail this summer in New Orleans, as well as shooting and editing some great video stories and photos. And, of course, chasing storms in Tornado Alley, which I will get to do in May without worrying about rushing back to Florida to meet a newspaper deadline.
I still have a lot more I want to do with the site, but a girl has to sleep sometime. Stay tuned, and you will see the design evolve, particularly on the gallery pages.