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Tornadoes, On My Birthday

Okemah & Henryetta, Oklahoma - May 22 2019
We started the morning in Norman, OK with the idea of chasing northeastern Oklahoma. There were two issues with that: 1) bad chase terrain with a lot of hills and trees and 2) a ton of flooded out roads. We had to be really careful to ensure not to go too far north and east of Tulsa due to the flooding. Oh, and it was my birthday so the pressure was on to get a birthday tornado (actually, I've witnessed numerous birthday tornadoes over the years).
 
As we were departing Norman, the NWS SPC upgraded the risk to a MODERATE RISK for storms and a 15% hatched for tornadoes. We waited in Prague, OK for a while to assess the situation. Some storms started firing just to our south while a larger, more potent looking storm was firing down near Lawton, OK. We finally decided to head east out of Prague, OK toward Okemah, OK. Here we paused looking west when we saw our first tornado of the day pass just northwest of our location. That tornado dissipated but the storm still looked good. To keep up with the storm, we decided to head east to Henryetta, OK. The entire time the wall cloud was spinning like crazy.
 
Several times it was so close to producing another tornado then dissipated. Finally, closer to Okemah, OK, the storm produced a large tornado. The issue is we had trouble seeing it due to trees and hills. At one moment, it appeared there might be two on the ground. Eventually the tornado dissipated.
 
To continue to track the storm, we went north out of Henryetta to Okmulgee then to Muskogee and north out of there. We passed through Wangoner, then Choteau, then Pryor. From Pryor we ventured west but got too close to the rotation so we backtracked east toward Salina, OK. On the way to Salina, we stopped a couple of times because the lightning was spectacular. I got some of my most dramatic lightning photos there!
 
From Salina we headed south until we found a good vantage point to watch. Unfortunately it had gotten dark so we were only able to catch glimpses of the wall cloud. We decided to call it a day since we couldn't get visuals anymore.
 
The same weather system also dropped several other, damaging tornadoes, including one that struck the Missouri capital of Jefferson City. We stopped there the following day to report from the damage path.

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