Sunday, June 26, 2016

May 22, 2016 LaMoure and Dickey County ND

It's been a long, and cold winter.

Anyone care to take a dip?
As I sit here dealing with a nasty summer cold I figured it was time to update my blog.  Now, though, spring has sprung and the storms have made their appearance north of I-80 and we're seeing much needed rain across the valley.  I know it's been a little while, and even here in June, there's still portions of the southern valley that could use a little moisture.  

This year with chasing we've made a few modifications and changes as we do every year.  Some you can tell, others are changes behind the scenes.  The biggest thing is that the video I'm feeding back to the station will be in high definition this year.  It's not using the pure cellular technology I have been using, but it's something with a little more kick and signal strength!  I'm sure you've seen it already this year when we were able to feed the video of one of the tornadoes near Barry, MN right at the end of the 5:30pm newscast and then when we were feeding the video from the mean looking wall cloud near Arthur, ND back on June 3rd.  

I know many of you watched my feeds in the last few years via the TVN Weather app and trust me, we've heard very loudly that you want to be able to see it again.  We are working on it and we hope to have something for you very, very soon!  As soon as we have the stuff signed, sealed, tested, and delivered, we will have it up!  My question for all of you is how would you like to see the live video feed?  

1.  VNL Weather App/VNL News App
2.  Via YouTube
3.  Web site link on VNL web page/some other web page. 

Also, what about audio?  Any preference for audio?  Normally I don't have it on for one of two reasons - 1.  I like jamming to music while chasing, 2.  Sometimes we talk about stuff and the occasional naughty word slips in.  :) 

If you have other ways you feel passionate about how you want to view it, please let us know!  We want to make sure you have access to the video and position in the best way possible.  Speaking of positions, if you've watched any of our severe weather cutins so far this year, you can now see where Hutch, Robert, Lisa, or Justin are able to overlay my position right onto the radar map on air!  

I'm guessing you aren't here now to just read about the other stuff we have done (upgraded radio for communication, upgraded other camera gear, (4k anyone?) and some other geeky stuff.  Let's get on to the chase pics! 

This was a day which was going to be non-severe for our neck of the woods.  Most of the tornadic and severe weather potential was going to be far to the south along the dry line in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, while a secondary threat would be up here in the northern plains in parts of southern and northern SD.  That's pretty close to how the models progged it out, and the results were similar.  

I was lucky and I had Robert Hahn with me this day.  (Make sure you check out his blog over at  for some of his pics.  One of the best parts about chasing is when Robert is able to come along for the ride.  It's always helpful having another weather-mind in the car, helping me forecast, find roads, help with communication back to the station, etc.  

Some clouds and a bird near Tower City, ND. 
Our first stop was near Tower City, just on the edge of Cass County.  There's a few exits along I-94 and I-29 which if you live near, you can many times see me stop and just check things out.  It will offer me paths to where I need to go, and it tends to be a little out of the way, but still offers many great vantage points and gives me great road options.  I know some of the troopers from NDHP and the local county sheriffs have stopped me a time to two and looked at radar data with me and just talked shop and weather.  It's a great thing because these are men and women who are out there doing a very tough job and anything I can do to help them out is good - it helps to keep our communities safe.  

Another shot of a rain shaft. 
 Soon after Robert and I started to watch the storms coming out of Emmons and Burleigh Counties and make their way towards our viewing area.  After a quick fill up, it was time to hit the road again!  Robert and I ended up off to ND 13 somewhere I think and ended up just watching the storms come to us.    

Taken around 7:20pm
With this storm we knew we were getting close to the end of daylight and it was severe warned, so we just let the storm come to us.  

Nice big shelf!
We knew the chance of us getting a spin up here would be slim to none, but had some awesome pictures anyways!  

Wait, did we say no spin ups?  I mean, uhm.  err....uhh. 
Lots of rising motion under these clouds.  A couple of times I know Robert and I were talking to each other going "Ok, watch the cloud that a leading edge vort, or is it something different?"  Most likely good Skywarn material from today.  

We also knew many fields were just planted and that the dust would be an issue.  The dust would make things even more look like we were going to have spin-ups, even though we knew that would not be the case. 

Nothing like some CG action behind the shelf!
We started to have to move off to the east after sitting here almost 20 minutes.  

Dust from the outflow of the storm.  Not a tornado. 
We kept seeing these cool looking dust bombs from the leading edge of the storm.  At one time we had a little dust whirl spin up just to our south, but as it was getting dark it didn't turn out very well.  

Dual dust areas!
Shelf action with dust underneath might make you think tornado, but no. 
As it got later in the evening, I did end up having to adjust my camera more and more in order for us to make out the features of the storm.  

After playing leapfrog with this storm for around an hour, it was time to start making our way back to Fargo.  Both Robert and I had to work the next day, and we knew the storm was losing it's intensity and with not much for lightning, seeing any structure would be hard.  

One more shot, then home. 
Overall, a good chase.  A few more miles on the StormTeam vehicle, and then in bed by 10:30.  Can't really beat it! 

Even though this is only the second chase of the year, many more updates are on their way! As I sit here writing this up at the end of June, I think I have 4 or 5 more blog posts to write about for chasing this year!  

Make sure you let us know how you want to do the video feed!  Comment below or on Facebook/Twitter! 

See you out there on the plains!  

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