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WeatherBug Storm Chaser See Picturesque Storms

7:30 AM CDT, May 31, 2006

By WeatherBug Meteorologists, James West

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The WeatherBug Storm Chase Team arrived back home late Tuesday, after spending more than 600 miles on the road, chasing storms throughout western Oklahoma and the Oklahoma panhandle. Although they did not see any tornadoes Tuesday, they saw several picturesque storms and took several great photographs.

The team, lead by expert storm chaser J.R. Hehnly left Oklahoma City late Tuesday morning, hoping to intercept several storms as they developed over the panhandle of Oklahoma and Texas.

Strong to severe thunderstorms developed on schedule Tuesday afternoon and evening across a large stretch of southwestern Kansas and on the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle. The team intercepted several of these storms, many of which produced frequent lightning, hail and heavy downpours, but no tornadoes.

The trigger for these storms was a weak boundary between very warm, moist air streaming northwestward from the western Gulf of Mexico and drier air over the Rockies. Daytime heating along with an upper-level disturbance converged over the Oklahoma and Texas panhandle, triggering the storm development.

Wind shear - - wind direction and speed changing with height - - was very marginal today over the region, with only one tornado being reported near Amarillo, Texas.

For a complete wrap up of the chase, check out the WeatherBug 2006 Storm Chase blog.

The team saw its first and only tornadoes of the season on April 24, when it intercepted a storm near El Reno, Okla. Whenever severe weather threatens this spring, the WeatherBug Storm Chase team lead by expert storm chaser J.R. Hehnly will head out, chasing down and reporting about storms and tornadoes.

Be sure to check your WeatherBug throughout storm season for the latest information on storm developments in your neighborhood, state and across the U.S.

About J.R. Hehnly

J.R. Hehnly, a seasoned storm chaser and meteorology student at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., has been chasing tornadoes since 1997. He saw his first tornado on June 13, 1998 near Guthrie, Okla.

Since then, he has photographed dozens of tornadoes and severe weather events. His favorite chase was the June 12, 2004 Mulvane, Kansas tornado. All the tornados that day had a very different appearance and were very photogenic.

His most memorable chase is the May 3, 1999 tornado outbreak in Oklahoma. Hehnly saw 11 tornadoes that day, including the large F5 that caused more than a billion dollars in damage in the Oklahoma City area.

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