April 9, 2009 Oklahoma / Arkansas Storm Chase

Click Here to view my pictures of the Tornado Damage in Mena, Arkansas

I didn't have much freedom today as I was chasing on the clock for the tv station I work for (40/29tv) and I couldn't risk going to far NW in case something moved into the NW Arkansas area....so I decided to just head west on I-40 and hope storms could form and stay isolated. I got to Henryetta just in time to see the CU towers turning to weak storm just NE of OKC. I went a bit farther west and stopped and watched the storms stuggle for quite a while. Eventually I headed back east to Henryetta and around 3:30pm some better storms formed off to my southwest. I headed east and stayed just ahead of the storm convoy and watched several storms cross the interstate. One of them that headed up toward Okmulgee appeared to have a wall cloud with it but I was so far away I am not 100% sure. I headed east to Checotah and was in Checotah when the tornado warning was issued. The storm didn't look very good from there and I didn't see anything even though I was in a position to do so. At that point I had to start playing for the southern end of the line so I began the mad dash south and east. I eventually made my way down to Poteau for a tornado warned storm there that produced some tornadoes a bit earlier. By the time I got around the storm it was losing intensity. There was a somewhat elevated wall cloud that had some weak rotation but it too was quick to go. That storm started gusting out pretty good and the next storm down (the first tornado warned storm to affect the Mena area) was too far east so my only road option to avoid major hail and dangerous conditions was ENE. I stayed just ahead of the hail core but did let it catch me once at Hartford and I expereinced nickel and some quarter size hail (there was a few larger i'm sure). I still thought about dashing south to try to get ahead of the southern storms but it was just too risky so I called it a night.