The cold, hard numbers behind
March 12, 2003
This was the first day of real return
moisture of the year. By mid-afternoon, a cold front was moving
through southern Kansas, where isolated severe storms initiated.
This line eventually became linear in nature with large hail
being the main threat. Storms failed to initiate in Oklahoma
until late in the evening, after sunset, due to a strong capping
At 7:30 PM, Valerie and I left the apartment
for dinner. I checked the radar just before we left and storms
had yet to fire. However, the cap had eroded by 9 PM and the
lightning in Norman was almost continuous. Storms fired up in
a SW to NE line from near Clinton to Osage County, OK. First,
the cap was broken north of Tulsa, with subsequent convection
exploding within 30 minutes, as if someone had pulled a zipper
from Tulsa to Oklahoma City. Click
here for a radar loop.
The squall line was pushing its way
south and we decided to drive south of Norman, about 20 miles,
to near Purcell where we planned to have the line intercept
US. I took some lightning pictures with a DiMAGE 7i digital
camera, which are posted below. We experienced pea sized hail
and frequent cloud-to-cloud lightning.
Although this was not, by far,
the most exciting chase we've ever been on, it was the best
show we've seen in the Norman area since last spring!