Chase Day: May 25, 1997
This is just a brief synopsis of our Sunday, May 25 chase.
Left OKC around 1:00PM with Herbert Fiala drove to N. of END via Kingfisher.
Waited near Nash for a couple hours watching towers go up and down. Best convergence could be seen to the NW. Drove N. to Anthony, KS as two towers had become small and organized storms.
Headed NW to near Harper as storm to our SW was small. Both storm bases were clearly visible from just east of Harper. We opted for storm to our north as the base had a "near-tornadic" look I have seen before...it was very dark with established, thick lowerings rotating hard and moving downward (always a good sign). The tower above it was quite impressive. It was vertical, broad and twisted. It looked like a twisted soft-serve ice cream cone in the bright sunlight. It also had a nice, back-sheared anvil with knuckles.
We turned due north out of Attica and watched several pointed and sharp black funnels with brief spin-ups below (aka tornadoes) form and dissipate. Finally, at about 7PM, and 6 miles due north of Attica, one of the funnels stretched downward to about halfway to the ground kicking up dark dust. We were now about 1.5 miles southeast of the tornado with excellent backlight to the NW. At the tornado's climax, it had developed a nice, black, pointed condensation funnel to about 3/4 to ground and small, but tall, black and violently rotating dust whirl.
The tornado lasted about 2 minutes.
We tracked the storm east to just north of Harper. It produced several more funnels just to our north. It began to fall apart as sirens went off in Harper.
Strong, hail-cooled out flow from the Anthony storm just to our south was killing our storm! The previously pretty marginal storm to our south had taken over the atmosphere and tracked east along 44 producing several storm spotter reported tornado warnings over the next couple hours. We could not, however, get around to the east side of that storm.
But, even though the Attica tornado was brief, it was very beautiful and dramatic with classic high contrast look (black funnel, dust whirl and storm base).