Sunday, April 28, 2013

6-18-09 Cass/Richland/Wilkin/Ottertail County Chase

Since right now we are looking at nothing good for the next week at least in terms of storms (maybe some gusty wind Monday night when the cold front comes through) I figured I'd toss up another blast from the past.

This is from 6-18-09, where there was one reported tornado touchdown in ND near the I-29 scales.

Not looking very organized, or my camera was out of focus.....

At first I didn't think the storm was this impressive.  Needless to say, by the time all was said and done, it would turn into a very enjoyable local chase for me. 

Law Enforcement out watching the storm.  Note the wall in the distance. 
While I was out and about, near the Christine exit, I stopped to watch the storm and talk to one of the local ND State Patrol folks.  He was pretty impressed with what I had, and we looked at radar for a while all from the comfort of my vehicle.  Pretty neat to make a 'good' contact with a member of LE.  So, to whoever this trooper is, thanks!  As for the storm, it was too far to tell if the wall was rotating or not, so what did I do?  I kept my mouth shut and just watched the storm for a while. 

Getting some organization to it. 
The storm was at this point tornado warned.  No way for me to tell if there was any funnel action at this point. 

Storm started to get a little closer, and I could tell the wall was pretty ragged and not very organized.  It was around this time the tornado was reported near the I-29 weigh station.  

It was around this time the storm started to gust out and rush off to the east.  I said good bye to the ND trooper, and keeping in mind the sign that said "ROAD WORK NEXT 4 MILES" I was very cognizant of what that meant.  Keep in mind this was June 2009, and many roads were washed out by the flooding from just a few weeks prior.  

Shelf starting to form
Since I knew what roads were closed and still partially under water I was able to use this to my advantage.  I kept jogging east and to the SE and kept up with the storm, finally getting in front of it. 

This storm had many sharks teeth protruding from the storm, and at times it almost seemed as though they would reach the ground.  I saw a few gustnadoes on the leading edge as well.  I called NWS somewhere around here and said "Hey, there's a tons of gustnadoes on the leading edge of this thing - they are NOT tornadoes." 

This is a day that I hate for some reasons.  

1.  All the reports I was hearing of tornadoes on the radio (Ham, and otherwise). 
2.  Where the flying fark is my focus, and why on this green earth am I not able to get it to work? 

As I got closer to Fergus Falls, this shelf started to look really mean.  I could just see the pea-green behind me, knowing I was about to get rocked.  

This was before I learned Photoshop.  Bleh! 

Just wonderful storm structure on this thing.  

Awww, yeah. 
Not sure what I was thinking here.....
I was able to get into Fergus, and quickly realized after a phone call to Bill Doms that I needed to be somewhat outside of town in order to really see this thing.  I had a few minutes before the storm hit, so I went out towards Rush Lake, and watched her come in. 

Shelf is coming at me! 

Of course, it was shortly hereafter I learned to actually use my D60, as this was one of my first chases ever with it.  The storms, while visually impressive, also did some damage to the city of Fergus Falls with some Semi's getting blown over on the interstate.  

SPC reports from the day: 

Overall, a pretty successful chase day. 

Now, as we approach May 1st, by this time last year I had already seen the Oxford, NE tornado, and on May 1st, saw the Brooten/Sedan, MN tornado.  What a difference a year makes!  At least with the flood this year the water levels do not appear to be getting as high as was once feared.  This is good news!  As for those of you who took the first two weeks of May off for your chasecation, good luck!  Next week or so looks pretty tough for storms.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Oxford, NE 4-14-2012 Tornado

One year ago today I was chasing this:



Here's some more pics from 4-12-2012 while I get the truck all ready to do out chasing some snow.

Here's a link to the story Valley News Live did on the tornado.

Friday, April 12, 2013

8-5-06 - Cass/Richland Counties North Dakota

Since storm season really hasn't started up here in the Northern Plains yet, I'm doing another 'blast from the past'.  This day shows really how dedicated I am to chasing.  This date, August 5th, 2006, was the day of my high school reunion.  Instead of going to my reunion and seeing friends I haven't seen since graduation, I instead look at the SPC Day 1 for this day, and decide to go chasing instead.  Of course, this is the graphic the greeted me that morning.
Yep, we're going chasing today!
A Mod risk, on the day of my high school reunion.  Hrm....tough choice there!  See you in another 10 years classmates!

The kind folks at the SPC made things even better for me by starting the day off at the 12Z outlook with the following:

Yeah, guess what?  We're now not only SO going chasing, it's a day of if I had to work, I'd be calling in sick saying I have "SDS" and my doctor has strongly advised me to take the day off due to "stress".  Note, don't use this excuse if your boss just so happens to watch the same TV station you work for, or is a weather nut.  It could cause 'issues'.  Granted, my boss is great and understands that if I see something like above and I _don't_ go chasing, I'm not worth much more than a bloated sack of protoplasm, to borrow a phrase from the TV show "Ren and Stimpy".

By the time we got to 20Z (3pm for normal folks) the SPC had changed things around and we were now looking at a 5% tor risk, but an enhanced risk for large hail.

Either way, things got going close to 5pm near the Cass/Barnes county line.  The chase was on!

At 5:20pm, the storm was starting to really get it's act together.
Note the lowering to the right

And, within 5 minutes, we had this:
Near Leonard, ND
One minute later, we had this:

A little wider shot:

Wider still:

By this time the storm was tornado warned, due to the wall cloud which was rotating.  One minute later, the storm was starting to do this:

Note the appendage to the right. 
Here's a few more shots:

Of course, at this time the storm was developing a funnel.  What does a good storm chaser try to do?  Do his best Vanna White impersonation.
"I'd like to solve the puzzle!" 
This picture was taken near Leonard, ND at the same time other spotters were reporting the funnel was  on the ground.  I never saw evidence it was on the ground, but apparently it was.

Here's just a few more really neat random shots of the storm.

Oh yeah.

Note all the little details with this storm - really tells the tale.  

I love the banding on this storm!

I just love this shot.  

Class reunion?  What class reunion?

"Did I solve the puzzle Pat?"
Of course, at some point I have to add in a pic of radar from my laptop.  Thank you Baron Threat Net!

Little car is the hook.  I've found my happy place Chubbs! 
As this storm got closer to the Whapeton area, it remained tornado warned, but really never came close to producing again.  The wall cloud started to get gusted out by the RFD as you can see from the progression of the pics below:

Near Dwight, ND (I think) 

A couple of minutes later. 

This was along Highway 13 just west of Whapeton. 

RFD really starting to eat away at it now. 

One last shot of the wall cloud before it was totally gusted out. 

This was one of those days where there were chasers from all over the planet up here.  It was also the day when someone in a red pickup decided they wanted to stop in the middle of the road while not signaling and hop out of their car and take photos.  Good thing I had my head up to make sure I didn't make a sudden impact with them!  It was one of the few days when I can remember the number of chasers on the road this day actually made it a little harder to get around.  This was also the day I had my good friend Bill Doms nowcasing for me.  If you haven't seen his work, check it out.

While I never saw it on the ground, later damage surveys from FGF determined there was some damage.


Damage reports from the day.

This was also the day when Roseau was hit by a tornado as well.  It did some pretty nasty damage around the city.

Either way, it made for a pretty good chase day for me locally.  As for the class reunion, I'll be going to the next one.  Sorry guys, but sometimes chasing takes priority!

As for this winter, I'm so tired of snow.  We're looking at another winter storm hitting us with the possibility of over 7 inches of snow Sunday night into Monday.  UNCLE!