March 6 - 2017: Wright County / Mc Leod County to Sherburn County.
An early spring severe weather outlook day produced large hail and damaging winds; and tornadoes in MN. This will mark the earliest date in MN histroy that a tornado was ever recorded. The previous record for this happening was March 18, 1968.
We left early in the afternoon and targeted Southern Wright County. We intercepted the storm that was racing to the northeast form near Redwood Falls.
Our storm chasing mascot, Mr. Prairie Dog, was able to get on his very first chase of the 2017 season.
Here he is when we were trying to get on the line of storms moving to the northeast.
This picture was taken during the first tornado warning of the 2017 chase season. What a way to star off the season! This storm was in Wright County near Cokato where the storm on radar had a kink in the line, and visually she was turning by no means "much". We never witnessed any funnel or tornado with this storm.
In this shot you will see the golf balls photo bombing my shot of the low topped supercell.
We kept following the storms as they raced to the northeast. Here in this picture is us riding the whales mouth where we blasted east just out ahead of this scorching fast line to take a peak just southwest of Buffalo, MN.
Here is another look at the storm, now looking north down the road.
We encountered 1.25" hail with this initial cell.
Once we heard of the damage reports up near Zimmerman, MN - we blasted north to try and get there prior to it becoming completely dark.
It was a serious situation in Sherburne County right near sunset - as it was evident that a very tight couplet presented itself in the bow of the storms with the QLCS line just west of the town of Zimmerman near Orrock. We arrived on scene just moments after the damage was done and encountered numerous large trees snapped and fallen; house and sheds with heavy structural damage, and many large power poles snapped off at their bases. Some barn tin was wrapped and tossed into the tress as well as the power lines. It looked like a tornado could not be ruled out here at this location; based on radar and damage.
The MPX NWS will be on scene March 7th to do the damage assessments.
Some damage photos:
Many rescue vehicles were on scene.
Here is Mister Prairie Dog with Nick in the background shooting video on scene of the tornado damage.
Most information will be posted later about the rating of the tornado when the NWS is finished with their surveys.
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Our video from our chase can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWZGpGDxnWc&t=20s
National Weather Service - Twin Cities Recap of March 6, 2017 Storms