Wind Farm Tornado: Getting Organized
[Part 1 of 5] Several tornadoes into this supercell's lifetime, one of which I had seen disspate before reaching the ridge, a big new wall cloud seemed to devour the turbines at right. Yet a new menace--in the form of a separate multivortex tornado--was forming directly amongst another part of the Blue Canyon Wind Farm. I had gotten to this NE-moving storm late, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise in that I could plan to intercept it on the N side of a pronounced void in south-to-north highways through the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge. Familiar with the wind farm and area roads from prior hiking and fishing trips, I knew over 30 minutes in advance that 1) the storm was going to stay in a favorable small-scale environment, and 2) the mesocyclone-hook portion likely would cross directly over the miles-long wind farm. Accordingly, I vectored around the N side of the supercell and parked on this spot to wait for the appearance of the storm's business end, the turbines whirling merrily in the foreground. The only question was whether the supercell would bear a tornado during its encounter with the machines. This is the answer. As with all of the pages in this tornado's series, I'll add a zoomed crop below of the same image, to emphasize the detail of several stages in the rapidly evolving circulation--the now-infamous "Wind Farm Tornado" of southwest Oklahoma.
10 NNW Meers OK (7 Nov 11) Looking SW