Tornado forming over Oklahoma Prairies
July 18, 2009
On a hot weekday afternoon I had driven around Oklahoma City and rejoined Interstate 40 about ten miles beyond the city heading west toward the Texas border. As I drove along I noticed, behind me, a vast wall of huge thunderheads. They rose high into the sky, their color turning from white to pearl to a deep, dark yellow. I grew up in the Midwest. I know the signs of a forming tornado. I pulled off on a rural exit, drove south away from the interstate, parked by a collection of small grain silos and walked northeast into a large uncultivated field. From this vantage point I could see a distant farm, the surrounding fields, and the vast open Oklahoma skies. A huge storm cell was forming over the farmlands in the distance, a little north of Oklahoma City (some thirty miles east). I considered staying until the tornado formed (or the supercell fizzled out), but I wanted to reach Amarillo by early evening. I drove westward watching the clouds form and the sky turning darker and darker.
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