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5/31/13 El Reno, OK EF5 & OKC Intercept


Well I left Omaha early in the morning and we made it to OKC area and had lunch in Moore. Our plan for the day was to head to El Reno and be west of the city and hopefully chase it to the north east and bypass the city. We absolutely did not want to get caught in traffic in a chase in OKC. First storms formed and we went to the first one north of El Reno. Very shortly 2 more cells formed in a line from that one to the south. We waited for the southern storm to get its act together and head to the north east. The goal was to place a video probe in a tornado so we wanted to be ahead for the storm. The southern storm then took a right turn and started moving to the south east. We knew we were to far north and the base was getting wrapped in rain so we blasted south. We were right in between El Reno & Yukon when we saw the rain wrapped wedge make a left turn and come at us. We did also observe a satellite tornado with this that seemed to be anti-cyclonic. We decided to blast south to get to the other side of the storm. All was going good then our south road was closed. We had to go back to the north and forced to go into the city. We blasted east on I-40 and dropped the video probe on the side of the road near the turnpike and got this intercept as a new large rain wrapped tornado that was entering OKC. After we dropped the probe, we continued on I-40 and then tried to get south of the storm by going on I-44 south. It was okay for awhile then we came to tons of traffic. Knowing if this tornado continued we would be sitting ducks, we made our way to an exit and managed to get off the highway and continue south just east of the airport. Again we came to more traffic. One tornado wrapped in rain passed just to our north so we sat there as it passed. We heard the roar to this tornado and it was an scary feeling. Once it past, we then noticed the storm to the west also had a tornado and was coming our way so we continued south to avoid this one. This one got close and we saw power flashes behind us. Noticing it was going to the south east we made the decision to go opposite & go north of the traffic and get ahead of the circulation. This was a great decision and we watch the rain wrapped tornado cross the road from a safe distance. After this we went back to check on people & recover the probe but the highways were flooded. We were forced to wait for the waters to die down.

  1. States: NE, KS, OK
  2. Miles: 1542
  3. Hail: Ping Pong
  4. Tornadoes: 3

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