Day 1: McLean, Texas tornado and large hail
After much waffling and agonizing about whether to do a Plains trip this week, on Monday night I finally decided to just go for it. After an early night's sleep Monday evening, I was on the road west by 2:30AM Tuesday.
I arrived in Shamrock, Texas at around 1:30PM, with plenty of time to mount the hail shields and get some lunch. By 4PM, storms were firing along I-40 to the west. I went west to the first storm at Jericho to find a decent looking occlusion that I lost in the rain. I moved to the next storm to the south and east, catching a nice long-lasting tornado south of McLean as a downpour of 2" and 3" hail made my shields worth the trouble.
4K VIDEO: McLean, Texas tornado and hail - May 16
After the McLean tornado roped out over I-40, I made the mistake of trying to flank the next storm to the south at Wellington, then lost it for the better part of 2 hours thanks to a nonexistent east-west road that maps showed connecting south of Sayre. I finally re-intercepted at Clinton, keeping up with the RFD punch and numerous funnels, but I saw no other for-sure tornadoes. Ended the day in Oklahoma City, where I stayed for the night. All in all, it was a pretty nice day.
Today (Wednesday) is a down day in the Plains, with the Iowa/Missouri setup just too far away to get to in time, especially with tomorrow's setup back in western Kansas/Oklahoma. This first Plains expedition of 2017 should last through Friday, with a return home on Saturday. Stay tuned for more updates from the trip!