Sunday, January 8, 2017

Norman County MN / Clay County, July 7th, 2016

So today was a day we didn't really expect much to happen, as can be seen by the 20z (3pm) Outlook from the SPC.
20160707 2000 UTC Day 1 Outlook Graphic
20160707 2000 UTC Day 1 Outlook Graphic

Now, for the actual storm reports, things were a little different.

160707_rpts Filtered Reports Graphic
160707_rpts Filtered Reports Graphic
Days like this happen.  It happened also to happen while I was taking some much needed time off out in lakes country.  Well, no rest for the wicked, as it was pile into the truck, and off we went!

Since I didn't have most of my storm chasing gear with me not all of my photos were able to turn out the way I wanted.  Normally when I'm chasing I have multiple cameras with me and a ton of other gear.  This chase was fairly simple, laptop, couple of cameras, and a bottle of water.  The downside is, I don't have the GPS geotagging for all the photos, so it'll be a rough guess as to where I was at.  However, it also was one of my more enjoyable chases of the year!

Let's get straight to the pictures!
Nice blocky wall cloud here.  No rotation. 


More shelfy!

This is an awesome look at the feeder band.

Bob's road.

Rain foot!

Nice panoramic!

Now, we are in the middle of winter, with cold, cold temps around.  Just the other day, this is what I saw as I went to bed. 

At least the days are getting longer, and before you know it, we'll all be out enjoying our fine summers here in the valley! 

Until then, stay warm!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Severe Storms in Wilkin, Richland, Cass, and Otter Tail Counties - August 27th, 2016

One thing I can be bad at time is making sure I keep my blog updated with latest pictures.  I have a TON of pictures from this summer of chasing, and as I look at the photos on my phone, iPad, computer, and multiple cameras I am going to have some major work to do getting everything updated.

Firstly though, over the last two days we have seen a significant outbreak of severe weather - tornadoes in the Red River Valley on back to back days almost over the same area.  It's been a while since I have seen this.  Saturday though, we really weren't expecting anything - we weren't even under a slight risk of severe weather that morning, so my plans were to spend it with friends and family out in lakes country and I brought my laptop with me...just in case.  Kind of glad I did.

While I did miss the tornadoes up in Hillsboro, I was still treated to quite the spectacle of Mother Nature!

This is one of the first cells we came on.  Nice little wall cloud - non-rotating at first somewhere in rural Wilkin County.

We watched this for quite a while and it kept cycling.  One wall cloud would fall apart - another would take it's place.  It even produced a funnel at one point - check out my video at!

Now, one of the things I neglected to mention is that I was using my backup DSLR today.  Normally I'm shooting on a higher end Nikon with multiple lenses.  Today, since I only grabbed my 'emergency go bag' I was limited to an 18-55mm lense on my trusty and reliable D60.  I don't like how it does some of the colors, but it works.

Rainbow near Orwell Dam
We watched this cell rotate, then fall apart.  It did this multiple times until finally falling totally apart near Dalton.  We also ran into an old friend - Aaron, whom I haven't seen in probably 3 years.  Amazing what happens when you run into someone on a random dirt road!

Then, do we try and go after the cells coming out of Norman County.  We still had plenty of daylight, so off we went!

Here, we were treated with a very nice rotating wall cloud which at times, looked like it might try to produce something.

We ended up calling into the station and letting them know what was going on.

What a pretty storm!
This cell near Audubon kept rotating and was really trying at some point to get some action going, but as we started to lose the heating of the day, it too then started to fade.  However, we were still treated with quite the shot of some mammatus!

I'm going to just let the next set of photos speak for their own.

What a nice day for chasing!

Now, the 28th of August on the other hand.....quite the day.....

Here's a sneak peek...


Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 29, 2016 - Cass and Clay County Chase

Yesterday was a fairly impromptu chase.  I've been going to work every day and then pretty much crashing at home while I continue to fight this nasty summer cold.  When I saw the storms starting to pop and lots of little boundaries out there, yep, it was time to head out.

One of the first things I noticed yesterday was the really nice wall cloud just north of Fargo.  Thought I'd go out and get a look!

Really nice wall cloud!  It was fairly high based though, and most of the storms would be because we had Temperature/Dewpoint spreads of over 25 degree.  (T/d spreads as we say in weather lingo) 

Here's another shot of the wall.  We actually had two storm cells paralleling each other, so it made for some very cool photos and backgrounds. 

I waited around a little and then as the cells kept moving to the southeast I started to make my way across the bridge by Oakport.  

I've had a few people over the years ask me why I don't like chasing in metropolitan areas.  Well, the reason is simple.  Too many people, no options, and no lines of sight.  It can be very dangerous even to chase in little small towns.  Once you lose your lines of sight, then you lose your vision of what the storm is doing right now.  Yes, we have all these tools of radar and satellite and everything, but those images are the past.  It takes 5 minutes on average for a radar image to get updated.  So, by the time I see it parts of that radar image may be 5 minutes old.  That's why chasing rain-wrapped tornadoes and storms at night are so dangerous.  

Once I was finally on the Minnesota side I went to to near Georgetown and saw some really interesting cloud formations.  Non-tornadic, but it could definitely fool the untrained eye.  

Pretty shot of a cloud base over Clay County 11
After this, I saw some of the most vibrant rainbows I've seen in years.  

Horizon to Horizon

Farmer's dream...

I was then treated with one of the most spectacular sunsets in a long time....
Minnesota Sunset
Non-severe storms, but most certainly one of my most enjoyable chases of the year.  There wasn't ever a rush to make sure I'm in the right position, camera is always where it needs to be, no hail cores to worry about, etc.  Just a relaxing chase, which I know to many sounds like a contradiction in terms as there is an expectation that chasing is always 100% adrenaline.    Now, while I did have some adrenaline pulse though me when I had a cg pop a -tad- too close, for the most part it was a very relaxing chase.  We also took an opportunity to do a beta test of the new video streaming system, and it worked seamless!  Look for it VERY soon! 

Now, we start entering the heart of summer.  We start to see the corn really grow (knee high by the 4th of July, right?) and the rest of the crops come in.  On the down side, we also start to see the sun set a little earlier each night, but that just means we should just enjoy nature a little more and hold on to that last little bit of daylight as long as we can.  

Tomorrow is Canada Day for our friends north of the border, and then in just 3 days after that, the 4th of July is here.  My plan is to enjoy some Timbits tomorrow and then hopefully by the end of the day I'll be relaxing with my family.  Take the time to enjoy the summer - we're too busy as is.  If your son or daughter wants to toss the ball one more time or try for 'just one more' fish, do it.  You might not remember that next ball which they don't catch or that last fish which just happens to pop off the hook as you're lifting it out of the water, but 20 or 30 years later I can guarantee they will, and that's something more precious than any tangible item.  It's a memory. 

Have a great Canada Day and 4th of July everyone!