Douglas and Ottertail Counties Minnesota
A vicious outbreak of tornadoes tears through northwest, central, and southern Minnesota. A very rare true
dryline entered western Minnesota early in the afternoon with ample directional shear and an extremely
unstable atmosphere to work with. After the previous days issue and getting next to no sleep from navigating
through the debris fields and floods, I headed back to Eric Whitehill's house for an hour nap then headed
back down to the ND/SD border on I-29 to wait for initation. It quickly became evident initiation was going
to be just to the southeast of me as you could see the rapid change in the Cu due to the dry air slamming
east. After taking a brief look at a developing storm northwest of Fergus Falls, MN I hit I-94 and headed
southeast to intercept developing storms which were rapidly becoming severe coming out of Grant and
A string of pearls was obviously developing with motion to the north/northeast. The lead cell went tornado warned as it
entered Douglas county. I set up near Evansville and waited for the storm to come up to me. With the sirens blaring in
town, I headed north to be able to have a better view. This is the country I grew up in so I had a really good working
knowledge of where the best viewing areas would be. In the end this was a mistake and I should have just chased the
supercells like I do anywhere else. Overthinking put me in a position when I should have just blasted east to highway
29 and not tried to zig-zag my way around thinking I could avoid the bigger lakes and forrested areas. This photo was
taken on the road my godmother lives on looking north / northeast.
Tornado warned storm number two near Millerville, MN. It produced a very brief spin up under this large bowl shaped
lowering. As I followed this cell east and north, it produced a long thick rope tornado over by Leaf Valley. In the video you
can hear me calmly saying "as soon as I get around these trees"...well, again due to not blasting east all I got was slammed by
wet RFD from the north cutting off my view.
The second storm was hauling butt at about 45kts off to the northeast and I knew there was no way I was going to get on the
east side of it and be able to keep up so I took this third tornado warned storm. Now I was on the east side and would be
good to go if it produced. Sitting just southwest of Parkers Prairie, MN it produced this brief spin up. Keep in mind all of
my shots are at 18mm so everything is a lot closer than it looks but I like to see the whole storm!
A little closer to Parkers Prairie now looking northwest at a large tornado moving northeast towards Almora eventually where
it would become a killer unfortunately.
Heading north out of Parkers Prairie now. You can see a very large cone tornado with poor contrast to the left of the truck in
front of me. Shortly after the torn grew into a wedge nearly a mile wide doing massive damage from Almora up to near
Wadena, where a second tornado would form just before hitting the city. The damage path just south of the highway 29/210
intersection (known as 4 corners to locals) was just heart wrenching. This area is populated by some of the best people in
Minnesota. They come from simple roots and would give you the shirt off their back despite not having much in terms of
material goods. However, the sense of community and family means everything to them. It is going to take a long time for
them to come back from this...but they will do it. My next door neighbors daughter was one of the unfortunate victims in
Wadena who lost everything. Her house, their cars, clothing....everything. It really hit home...literally. As I was making my
way through Wadena and heading back southeast on highway 10, I had to call Jessica (Melinda's daughter) and tell her there
was another storm southwest of our home and when the sirens went off, it was the real deal and she needed to go to the
basement. We ended up having an EF1 touchdown less 2 miles from one of our houses and less than 1/2 mile from the other.
An example of how to screw up a wedge tornado. This is a video frame capture. I managed to leave the VX attached to a
tripod from the last time I stopped and the only vid cam I had access to was the PD170 which had a superwide lens attached
to it. Heading east just south of Parkers Prairie now looking north/northeast.
Not even sure why I'm posting this video other than to show how bad of a multi-tasker I was. Between the live streaming
cam, shooting stills, and trying to get video, I almost managed to screw it up to the point I had nothing to show for the day.
And a parting jab at the local CBS tv/radio meteorologists M.L. and C.S. in the Minneapolis area. QUIT TAKING
CALLS FROM PEOPLE ON I-94 REPORTING TORNADOES BY MONTICELLO!! Really??