About once a year during storm season, somewhere between North Dakota and Texas there is one day, one storm that just makes your jaw drop and hit the floor. Maybe it's the power, maybe it's the incredible structure, or a bit of both. May 29th, 2012 was such a day.
My day had started off as any other. Get up, go to work, answer phone calls, respond to emails. SPC had a slight risk assigned for the afternoon, and with it being late in the storm season on the southern plains I hadn't planned on getting out and getting set up as I normally do. As the day wore on it reached 3pm...nothing. Another hour passed, still nothing. Finally 5pm showed up and I left work. The cap had held and I had a chance to move north from OKC, so I quickly moved to the Northwest Expressway and headed north on Highway 81. Around 6pm a storm had started developing further to the north, just west of Enid, OK. By this time I had made it to the north of Kingfisher, and as always I was wondering if I was going to miss the show by not being in position early enough. I watched the storm on radar grow, but at the same time a small cell had started developing near Hennessey. With a decision to make, I chose to stay south of the main storm and hope for the best. It was the one of the better decisions I've made in chasing.
The cell just to the west of Hennessey developed quickly. It started to take on the "stacked pancake" look (shown above) and began rotating. I followed the cell almost straight to the south along Highway 81. It slowly moved toward Kingfisher, OK and developed a massive wall cloud, almost guaranteeing a tornado on the ground at any moment. With an audience of chasers, locals, and media helicopters it put on such a show, rotating and twisting it's way to the south and now moving more to the east. It went to the northeast of the small town of Okarche and towards the OKC metro area. I quickly dropped to the east on Northwest Expressway and moved to the south towards Yukon. It was then the structure of the storm reached it peak. A gorgeous, monster of a storm with structure that was visible from top to bottom, with a perfectly round core at the bottom dropping baseball sized hail encapsulated in a blueish green hue, back lit in a way as if it were announcing its arrival to everyone. The storm went on to produce a small tornado near the Northwest Expressway, the same place I had traveled through earlier in the day and on the way back. On this day though, the storm itself was the star. The photo named "Supercell" was born, and a moment caught in time that will be tough to match anytime soon.
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