2003 Chases
Severe weather photos and videos by
meteorologist & stormchaser J.R. Hehnly
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April 3, 2003
40 miles southwest of Oklahoma City

Left Oklahoma City around 6pm. I didn't expect to see much, but wanted to get in some practice with the new equipment I have.

SH37 in Newcastle looking West, 6:38pm

SH92 5 miles South of Tuttle looking West, 6:53pm

SH81 near Pocasset looking West, 7:00pm

I tried to photo the hail. It got up to the size of quarters and completely covered the road, resulting in some ground fog.
5 miles West of Pocasset, 7:30pm

April 5, 2003
Northern Texas

Chase Route

3:40 pm CST, SH6 at SH380 looking SW toward Hamlin. This was about the time the tornado was being reported there. We were about 24 miles from the town of Hamlin at this time.

3:45 pm CST, just East of Sagerton on SH6 looking SW

3:49 pm CST, a few miles Southeast of Sagerton looking SW. The storm looked very violent, but didn't have any real organized structure at this point.

3:49 pm CST, tried a panorama, but was being blown around by the wind.




4:47 Ranch Road 600, South of Lake Stamford looking E.

4:10 - 4:14 Hwy 180 West of Albany looking NE. The lack of road options forced us to drop South, on the warm side of the front, before we could get back to the storm. The temps went from the upper 60's all the way to 85 in just a few miles.

4:15 Hwy 180 West of Albany looking West. A few towers were visible, but fortunately we had just gotten back into cell service and checked radar to find they were not worth pursuing.

6:04 pm CST, Ranch Road 209, West of Woodson looking E. After a long drive we ended up back on the big cell that continued to carry a tornado warning.

6:07 pm CST, Ranch Road 209 at Hwy 183. The town of Woodson had very few West facing windows intact, shingles and siding were destroyed as well, and most vehicles had lost windows. I had never seen this much hail damage. Everyone was outside surveying their damage, and law enforcement was securing businesses and vacant homes.

6:15 pm CST, just East of Woodson. Why you should make sure your insurance is up to date before you go chasing. Val Castor's vehicle was caught in the huge hail that this storm produced. He ended up driving back to Stillwater, OK, peering through a hole on the driver's side. I heard the couple in the Honda were taken to the hospital by ambulance, injured by flying glass and hail.

7:18 Hwy 254 just East of Graford. This hail on the road had accumulated to about 4 inches deep.

April 23, 2003
Northern Texas

Chase Route

3:03pm CDT at the intersection of US277 and Hwy 25 in Mankins, TX. Radar image showing the southern storm would likely cut off any good air from the storm I was approaching.

3:29pm CDT, US277 just NE of Seymour, TX, looking NW. The clouds finally broke allowing a view of the storm NW of Seymour.

3:43pm CDT, Hwy 114, just SE of Seymour, TX, looking North. Got enough clearing to show the Seymour cell just before it died.

SE of Seymour, TX off of Hwy 114, 3:53pm CDT. Sitting behind Eric Nguyen's van as we watched the storm NE of Seymour turning to mush. After this we traveled SE eventually ending up in Mineral Wells where we dined on some Pizza, then decided to to intercept the Stephenville storm farther South. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time we got in front of it, and furthur development of the storm seemed unlikely.

May 4, 2003
SE Oklahoma

Chase Route

2:00pm CDT, I-35 north of Guthrie, OK. Initially we were going to travel north then east, but realized the dryline had already passed. I really didn't want to end up in central Missouri, and so we decided not to go farther northeast but to drive south and catch the convection going up near Sulphur, OK. In hindsight this was a bad decision.

3:45pm CDT, Hwy 3 NW of Ada, OK. Storms were firing in a line from the SW to NE of Ada.

4:26pm CDT, South of Hwy 3 near Stonewall, OK. looking NE. The line of storm cells began to merge into one cell, taking on supercell characteristics.

4:43 pm CDT, on Hwy 3 SE of Stonewall, OK. The cell was picking up speed and moving away from us.

4:54pm CDT, Hwy 3 NW of Coalgate, OK. Got a view of the backsheared anvil on this storm.

5:22pm CDT, Hwy 63 just east of Kiowa, OK. The storm became tornado warned at 5:03pm. We saw lots of rising motion, but were not in a good position to make out any of the storm rotation.

6:05pm CDT, US270 in Wilburton, OK. Evidence in town of lots of hail and RFD winds.

6:14pm CDT, US270 10 miles east of Wilburton, OK. The hail created some ground fog along the railroad tracks. Eventually caught the storm driving through heavy rain and strong RFD wind out of the north.

6:51pm CDT, US270 in Heavener, OK. First time I've ever seen a wall cloud intersect with a mountain.

7:08pm CDT, Hwy 28 in Bates, AR. Caught up with the DOW trucks and Val Castor who were also following this storm.

7:40pm CDT, US71 just north of Elm Park, AR The storm has outrun us, and failed to produce a tornado. A nice sunset.

May 9, 2003
Oklahoma Chase

Chase route

5:21pm CDT

5:37pm CDT

6:27pm CDT

6:51pm CDT

7:09-7:20pm CDT

7:27pm CDT

7:40-750pm CDT

8:30pm CDT

Route in Oklahoma City, ended when we took cover in a random house off Britton road.

May 15, 2003
Texas Panhandle Chase

Chase route

1:40pm CDT. Kyle Mozley does some hand analysis on the road to Texas.

3:52pm CDT. Chasers converge at a Pilot station east of Amarillo at the intersection of I-40 and Hwy 287.

3:53pm CDT. Kyle looks at Amarillo radar, watching for storms to develop.

4:08pm CDT. Sean Douglas, Jay Bell, and Kyle Mozley wait for storms to initiate. Had we gone north on 287 at this time we would have made it to Stratford for the tornados up there, but were convinced the dynamics were better where we were.

4:17pm CDT. A shear vortex formed overhead while we waited.

6:05pm CDT. We decided to drop south to intercept this cell, but it dissipated as we approached.

6:56pm CDT. Another shear vortex.

After dark we waited on the south end of Shamrock for the approaching tornadic cell. The visibility was terrible, inflow winds of 50+ were stirring up TONS of dust. Never saw anything, and went home bagging a zero for the day.

May 16, 2003
East Oklahoma Chase

Chase route

Didn't expect much today. Got hung up in some SLOW traffic on I-40 and missed a tornado that crossed the interstate near Pharaoh, OK. I was amazed at the drivers who dodged debris in the road, ignored the damaged structures and blown down highway signs and continued driving into the storm in front of them.

June 3, 2003
West Texas

Chase route

I left OU at about 12:30 with Kris Booker, initially going to target Amarillo and make a refined target based on what developed along the way. I had expected storms to fire off in New Mexico and move east, but at 5pm the only real action we could see was going on 100 miles south, near Lubbock.

5:14pm CDT, I-27 just south of Amarillo looking south. We could finally make out the cells that had fired near the Lubbock area.

6:10pm CDT, I-27 in Plainview looking south

6:52pm CDT, US87 near Woodrow looking southwest

7:45pm CDT, US87 north of Lamesa looking south. A layer of dust near the surface.

7:51pm CDT, US180 in Lamesa. The only tornado we saw all day.

8:00pm CDT, US180 12 miles west of Lamesa looking west. Finally made it through the dust and ensuing mud shower and were able to see the storms structure again.

8:17pm CDT, US180 10 miles east of Seminole looking east. Still plenty of dust in the air with a nice rainbow.

8:30pm CDT US180 in Seminole. We were treated to some nice mammatus clouds, and chatted with a group from Mississippi State.

June 11, 2003
West Oklahoma Storms







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