The cold, hard numbers behind this chase.

Saturday, April 5, 2003
Length of Chase
11 1/2 hours
Distance Covered
400 miles
...for the year
861 miles
Chase Partner(s)
Valerie McCoy
Mike Buban
Shannon Dulin
Jake Stacken

We were unable to leave Norman until around 2:45 PM. Mike Buban and Jake Stacken drove with me while Valerie and Shannon followed in Val's car. We took the usual chase route down I-44, to south of Wichita Falls, Texas. The warm front had established itself a few counties south of the Red River and we were late to the party (which included a Potentially Dangerous Situation (PDS) tornado watch). Before we left Norman, towering Cu were already forming with one cell having a tornado warning on it.

The first half of this chase was just us trying to get ahead of the storms, which remained fairly isolated, even into the evening hours. It seemed like we were making good progress and that we were likely to get on their south sides without having to core punch. But, this was not to be! While driving through the small town of Bryson, TX, I got a flat tire. No big deal, right? Well, seems the idiots that rotated my tires last were overly zealous with their use of the impact wrench. Most of my sockets on the flat were badly stripped. It didn't end there - while trying to loosen one of the stripped sockets, we snapped a bolt off! We were still able to get the flat off and replace it with the spare, though we only had 4 of the 5 bolts holding it on. The core of the storm, which contained baseball sized hail and 80 - 100 MPH winds, passed to our south, and, needles to say, we were then out of the game.

We limped eastward to Mineral Wells and Fort Worth, where we hopped on I-35 for the trip home. The lightning was spectacular with lots of cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning and anvil crawlers. Back in Norman, we were battered a few times that night, including an instance of nickel sized hail around 5:30 AM that piled-up on the ground. The roar was incredible. I could hear it coming about 20 seconds before the hail hit. It sounded a lot like a large waterfall...which I guess, in a way, it was!