Pope & Ottertail Counties Minnesota
|With a cold front approaching from the northwest, a weak surface low formed near Aberdeen, SD and moved
east/northeast into west central MN where supercell thunderstorms formed in a highly unstable environment.
After letting the first Pope county cell go due to getting a late start, Melinda and I settled in on this supercell which
was rapidly developing southwest of Glenwood, MN. I was surprised by the structure given the shear was not all
that great but this area of Minnesota gets some help from the topograhy of the Buffalo and Glacial Ridge Areas so
anything is possible.
The LCL's were a little high but the base of the storm was lowering as we headed west after having to deal with local
gawkers who were blocking a major intersection. At least it wasn't TIV2 for a change.
The road network in this area is really good so we had no trouble keeping in close proximity to the slow moving
supercell as it really started to wrap up.
About 7 pm, a very tight curl started to develop under the meso while a second area rapidy dropped to the ground
further back in the rain and hail. Brad Winger was able to capture this video of the brief tornado from a closer
vantage point in Barness Township.
Pretty nice supercell by Minnesota standards. About this time the surface inflow really started to increase. Note how all of
the grass is bending towards the storm.
Mel and I take a minute to add a photo to our collection of "us" pictures.
Mel getting some video.
The storm finally started to pick up some speed as we dropped south in Rolling Forks township. The inflow
was still very good and the same area of rotation persisted. It would briefly form structures like this but they
would disappear just as quickly.
As we headed east towards Swift Falls, MN, the storm tried one last time to produce a large wall cloud but it
lost it's battle to contain the outflow and quickly transitioned to a linear mess.
After a quick roadside chat with Tony Perkins we continued south to near Murdock, MN where we called the
chase off and opted to head back north in hopes of doing some lightning photogrpahy on the back of anvils.
The back of the storms were very dirty with a lot of debris and ligbt rain falling so no lightning photograhy which was kind
of disappointing but the slow moving supercell more than made up for it.
Chasing is a family thing for us. Not to be outdone, my mom (Pat) hit the road in Ottertail county and did get
on three different tornado warned storms.
Here is the first cell passing over Fergus Falls, MN with a small wallcloud. Her entire series of pics shows the wall cloud
form, then a funnel form, before dissipating pretty quickly. If time and space allows, I'll try to make an animation of the
sequence and post it on here.
Same wall cloud with a stubby funnel underneath which never did make contact with ground according to her.
The third cell. (On the second one it is really hard to make out a distant pronounced lowering under the
updraft base.) This was a mean little sucker as the hail to the left of the wall cloud is 3"+. Quite a bit of
damage was reported from the hail from the Orwell Dam area over to near Pebble Lake. This photo was
taken from the CR25/I94 junction looking south. All in all a very interesting evening for us!