Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 17, 2015 Eastern South Dakota Huge Hail & Cool Skies

We saw that the SPC put our favorite chasing spot: Western Minnesota and Eastern South Dakota into a slight risk for Friday. Nick looked at the models and said - we need to be on this.

We left the Cities at 11:30am - and was in Eastern South Dakota by 3pm. We watched the birth of the cu field all the way from Glenwood, MN. Once we saw the first blip show up on radar near Britton, SD we knew that was the dominant cell.

We made it to Britton and saw Large hail was coming our way. We escaped to cover under the canopy at a local gas station. The first wave of hail came through with dime sized up to quarter sized hail. Then it rained some. Some people thought it was all over with. Mother Nature had another plan. Round 2 of the hail came through and it packed a mean punch. We saw the smallest size of quarter and the largest up to Tennis Ball sized hail. 3.00 inches!

huge hailstones the fell in Britton

The power went off at the local gas station as the rain and hail just poured.

Finally the hail let up that we were able to head out. We went around town to see if there was any damage. We found some localized flooding; and many 3.0 inch hailstone scattered about the town.

We knew that we wanted to get on the south west side of the storm to see if this thing had any tornado potential with it. We tried to get south but there was no great option of roads East of Britton and the storm kept going along Hwy 10. We had no choice to follow it behind the large hail; stopping when we got so close and had to back off from the storm. We tried to head south on a gravel road and east and ALMOST got the car stuck. We knew then to stick to the tar roads unless the gravel was dry.

Looking east towards the back edge of the storm.

Shot looking down hwy 10 towards the hail core with rainbow in sight.

We had many rewards for stopping and waiting for the storm to proceed east. More baseball sized hailstones. Mammatus Field over the top of our heads. The close lightning strike that was 200 yards away when we stopped to talk with Doug who also was filming the huge hailstones. That was crazy.

Mammatus straight over your head!

Mammatus field looking to the west.

A selection of the hailstones we found along side of the highway.

Hail measuring 2.00 inch and larger

Larger than a golfball!

When we finally reached the outer limits of Sisseton, SD we were finally able to head south on a nice road. We wanted to head towards the Peever exit off the freeway so we could blast south to the Wilmont exit  to cross the border at ortonville.

Looking over the Sisseton Valley Hill at the storm

We stopped at the road that head to Peever to view the storm that was out to our west - tornado warned. The lightning had many CG's and we stopped to take video and pictures. It was awesome.

We then took the freeway south to the Wilmont exit where we again headed west a bit on the gravel road to try and see the storm that was producing the rain wrapped tornado off to the west. we got to the top of the gravel hill; the view was amazing - but the lightning was starting to become more frequent and being on top of that high hill - we booked it east to continue towards Wilmont.

Looking west towards the storm. 

Looking West towards the tornado warned storm.

We stopped when we turned on Hwy 109 to photography the nice shelf cloud that was forming on the Eastern South Dakota side.

We then proceeded a little bit further down the road - and got this amazing shot of the mothership.

 Looking down the side of the approaching shelf.

Panoramic shot of the mothership! 

 Shelf approaching closer.

Edge of the shelf nearing the MN/SD border.

We crossed into Minnesota and knew we had to take cover when this beast crossed the border. We took refuge in a do it yourself car wash on top of the hill in ortonville. We were joined by local folks who too were also riding out the wind and hail that was coming towards our way.

After the storm passed - we set out east to photography some wicked crawler in the night sky from the storm passing to the ESE.

The fading sun illuminating the mammatus above

One of the many crawlers that was captured above the corn as the storms moved to the ESE.

After the storm just went too far out of our reach for photos - we packed up and headed up to the farm for the night.

Saturday morning we knew of damage from a tornado report in the town of Waubay. We traveled there in the morning and saw the extensive damage to the trees along the main street; as well as some structural damage; bins down, and campers turned over and destroyed.

The local Red Cross had set up shop to provide assistance for those who needed it. Day County Emergency Services were also on hand, as well as the local Sheriff. Everyone was on clean up duty. The town also had its local doings this weekend and all that fun and play was put on hold to clean up the town and make the roads passable again.

Huge trees were uprooted and tipped over - all laying to the east.

We talked with a local resident on his modular house that was shifted an inch off the foundation from the wind. They just finished the deck on the house and now the big tree branch decided it had other ideas for this deck. There was also a huge branch that was penetrating into the side of the wall. The owner said there was damage to the roof and that 4 rooms in the house sustained extensive water damage. The lucky thing was that no one was home at the time of the storm and no one was hurt.

tree branch that feel on the deck. did not break the table on the deck.

tree branch through the side of the house.

backyard of the house littered with insulation, tree branches and a thrown swing set

We went out to the lakeside campground where many campers were destroyed. We also saw 1 power pole snapped off at its base and was laying down - wires still intact.

We relayed gps coordinates back to the Aberdeen weather service office for their assessment purposes later on.

Below is our two video links. One from the storm and one from the cleanup/damage

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