Friday, August 17, 2012

8-15-12: West Central MN Severe Storms

Mother Natures biannual battle of the seasons has once again kicked off over the upper Midwest, and on this past Wednesday evening the fight was waged over the skies of Stevens county!

On Wednesday afternoon the atmosphere over west central Minnesota was set up and primed for severe weather. At midday a very strong cold front was situated northeast to southwest over the far eastern Dakotas. This sharp boundary marked the leading edge of a much cooler and dryer even fall like air mass into the region. As the front pushed across the border severe thunderstorms rapidly developed over portions of Big Stone and Traverse counties around 4:45pm and by the 5:00 hour the storms were wreaking havoc well into Stevens county.

The start of the storm put us in Big Stone County.

 A really cool and interesting updraft near Clinton, MN in Big Stone County - MN. It almost looks like a perfect bomb blast and mushroom cloud!

Looking northeast up into the main action area on the far southwest end of the slowly southward back building line. We had a small brief wall cloud show up west of Graceville, MN, but it was mainly undercut from the get-go.

The storm is now more outflow dominant, as expected., and now developing a well more organized shelf cloud. Taken near Chokio, MN.

About to get blasted - time to head East!! East of Chokio, MN.

Here the shelf cloud is over Morris, MN.

Strong and gusty winds, very heavy rains as well as large hail with some stones reported up to 2 inches in diameter ( Hen Egg Sized ) greeted Morris and Donnelly residences as the storms quickly rolled through with a classic well defined shelf cloud on the leading front edge of the storm.

Hail damage was incurred to some of the buildings as well as many vehicles in the area, including the Morris city limits. 

 5 shot panoramic view of the city of Morris getting ate by this beast producing hail up to hen egg size at this moment.

Here the shelf cloud is now in Pope County, MN just south of Starbuck,MN. The CG illuminated the core as it moved East.

The shelf cloud is starting to blast southeast at 35 MPH in Pope County, MN.

Starbuck Fire Department was out weather spotting just southeast of town, with the shelf cloud to their Northeast. They stopped to talk with us and took a look at our radar, and thankfully knew what they were looking at. (a shelf cloud). That was nice to hear!

After this we stayed out ahead of the storm down to Blomkest on Hwy 7, where it quickly died. We then headed east towards Hutchinson, MN where we met up with Bill Doms for a nice bite to eat under some spectacular skies with wicked lightning. 

After we ate - Bill headed north, as we headed home for the evening, and captured several spectacular lightning images before the cell died in McLoed County north of Hutchinson, MN  that can be seen on his webpage at

For this late in the chase season - this was a very enjoyable chase in our home territory of Western Minnesota. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

8-3-2012 South Dakota Chase

A great chase day out in South Dakota with a nice mixed bag including Funnel Clouds,Shelf Cloud,Large Hail,Damaging winds,Wall Cloud,Mammatus as well as good friends! Cant beat that for an August chase day on the Northern Plains!

Below are pictures from the chase day

 Nice well defined Mammatus clouds on the anvil of severe warned storm near Ipswitch SD.

 Mammatus passing overhead.

 Wall cloud trying with nice upward rising motion on its right side on Tornado warned storm in Edmunds county SD.

 Please!!!!!    Trying one last time near Loyalton SD a small Funnel cloud appears on the still Tor warned storm as the window was closing fast for it to happen at this point. Hello outflow!!

 Shelf Cloud Near Cresbard SD.

 Looking up into the beast near Cresbard SD.

 About to get blasted as shelf passes overhead!

 Nick shooting the photogenic storm. It was the inaugural chase for the new car that Amanda just got.

24 foot pull behind camper trailer we watched flip over as the 70mph+ gust front passes overhead near Brentford SD.