Violent El Reno/Piedmont Wedge
[Part 1 of 2] We had driven down from the north and turned east, ahead of a supercell with a long-lived tornado that was reported to be crossing I-40 near El Reno. From this position, we waited patiently for the then-unseen vortex to approach. A rain-wrapped and fat cone tornado gradually became visible emerged inside the hazy murk to our southwest, expanding quickly into a dust-flinging barrel shape, then a bonafide wedge. Observers in the El Reno area had a difficult time even seeing the tornado; but from here, it appeared to shed much of its moat of rain...all while expanding in size and drawing closer. As it did, we had no doubt whatsoever of this tornado's top-end violence and potential for great destruction. This writhing, pulsating, fast-moving, increasingly bloated monster of a tornado made for difficult photography, thanks to: 1) its tendency to wrap in rain, except for this brief, high-contrast interval; 2) the deep darkness of the storm that forced long exposures at high ISO; and 3) the tremendous speeds of cloud movements that still made it hard to avoid blurring. We bailed south about a mile and a half to give it a wide berth, in case it turned rightward...
4 WSW Piedmont OK (24 May 11) Looking WSW