Saturday, September 20, 2014

9-20-14 Tornado Warned Storms in Sargent County, ND

We got one more in us for the year I think!

After a day which left most meteorologists scratching their heads with EF-1 tornadoes in NW Minnesota,  I was bound and determined not to let this day pass me by.

After bugging Robert this morning saying "LET'S GO!  ONE MORE BEFORE THE SOONER GAME!"  (Ok, in reality, we were texting Apollo 13-style countdowns to each other)  we left.

Not long thereafter, we started paying really close attention to the storm in Dickey County.

As we approached, it became severe, and then Tornado warned.  Unfortunetly we were never able to see the main updraft base at first when the couplet on radar looked the most pronounced.

Nice shelf along the cold front!

It was a mean looking shelf.  I was actually somewhat shocked none of the danglies were called in as funnels/tornadoes.

We crossed the border into SD and after seeing some pretty decent piles of hail along the side of the road and sending in a quick report, we came across this:

Now, this was attached to the cloud base, and it was just hanging out.  We stopped to take one more quick shot:

And quickly realized the storm potential for the day was pretty much done.  The cold front had caught up and was going to eat up the rest of the storms.  There was still going to be some pretty good wind out ahead of it, but the system was moving at 50mph+, which makes keeping up with the storms, much less getting ahead of them, next to impossible, so Robert and I called it a day.

Not too bad of a day when you go leave the house at Noon, get on a tornado warned storm, and then get home in time to see Sooner Football!

The question now posed, is this the last chase day of 2014?  We know the temps are going to warm back up into the 80's this week, so the temps need to come back down at some point....but will they?

8-23-14 Tornado near Cresbard, SD

This day started off like no other.  Zero tornadoes seen for Robert.

We changed that today.

I'll spare you most of the details, and get straight to the awesome pics!

Nice Shelf outside of Orient, SD
As we came up on the storm (after harassing Skip Talbot) it looked rather shelfy.

But, that would change as we got further along in the day.

Or not.  Still really Shelfy!  But, that just means time for us to goof off since we were able to meet up with my really good friend Bill Doms and Joel Lampe and Mark.

Let's see those pearly whites Joel! 

Lots of danglies along the leading edge.  But, would it do anything? 
As we kept watching the storm, it kept acting like there was enough shear to get it to do something. 

Not what you think it is....
It would even go on to produce some good scud nadoes! 

Robert, scanning the skies like a DOW!
We ended up having to go a little north at this point.  The storm was starting to spin, and we all knew what that meant...GAME ON! 

A few miles up the road, it dropped one.'s not moving left or right...but it looks like it's getting bigger....I wonder what that means...
And then we pulled off on this road and watched the tornado...and it wasn't moving left or right.  

A minute or so later....

Yep, time to move! 

We didn't even get a chance to get a picture of Robert in front of it.  It was one of those where we were just in awe of what we were seeing.  The rain curtains wrapping around it, and then when it went by us, we could hear the roar.  It's a sound when you're a chaser you don't forget.  You don't always get to hear it, and in our case, we could.  Some people describe it like a freight train, but not all tornadoes sound alike.  Bill Doms has an excellent photo of both Robert and I in front of it - visit it at if you haven't already. 

We also happened to catch the end of this tornado as well just after we cleared the trees.  A pretty neat day!  

As we were wrapping things up for the day, we did get a nice shot of a shelf cloud.  It was still tornado warned at this point, but really we couldn't see the updraft base any more. 

This day was pretty memorable for me, since I was lucky enough to be there when Robert saw his first tornado, and even able to see it next to my best friend Bill.  A pretty happy day for everyone!  It's not every day you get to experience something like this.  No matter how many tornadoes I ever see, no matter the storms, this one in particular will always be special.