McPherson County South Dakota to Kandiyohi County Minnesota
Sometimes chase days just don't go as planned. I was planning on an early to mid-afternoon initiation. Not late morning and 150 miles
further west. My target was Ashley, North Dakota northwest of Aberdeen, SD. The plan was to leave home about 8:30am which would
get me to the target area close to initation time which would be just to the west / northwest. Well....overslept and finally got out the door
at 9:30. Called Eric Whitehill to make sure he was heading out and to meet me near ABR. About an hour into the drive radar returns
were already showing up southwest of Bismarck, ND. Called Eric back (who is based out of Fargo, ND) and told him probably best to
get going and head west to Jamestown then southwest.
|Original target area in red. 1 pm with the target storm waaay to the west and I'm still a long ways away.
|About the best it looked on radar and I'm still an hour or so out of Ashley. At this point I am praying it will stay discrete
long enough for me to intercept as it moves east-southeast.
|Wishfull thinking. Just as I get into McPherson county, it starts to line out. Well, that was a fun nearly 6 hour drive.
|...and it's done. Notice the thin blue line showing the location of the gust front now rushng out away from the line of
storms. That is also what a 20 degree temperature drop looks like. I was kind of surprised even the south end was now cut
off from any inflow.
|West of Roscoe, SD, US highway12 looks a lot like the Florida Keys! A stoplight on each end lets lines of traffic alternate
passing over the land bridge of sorts. Note the stop sign on the left. Behind the stop sign is a rail grade! Years of above
normal precip is really taking it's toll out there.
Near Hillsview, SD looking northwest. I still couldn't believe the south end of the line was cut off already!
Bovine convergence about to get mowed down west of Hosmer, SD
Here it comes!
I will not be escaping south down this road.
Finally fished my way to highway 47 and got south of Bowdle, SD. View looking north as I decided the new cells just to
the west were not going to survive so time to fly east to see if I could stay ahead of the now powerful squall line.
The next 120 miles took me 2.5 hours driving straight east on highway 12. Before the squall caught me from the
northwest, it was pretty cool to look south at the horizon and see as many as 4 gustnadoes at one time scattered miles
apart. Once I got back to Aberdeen, it was 90 miles of white knuckle, hydroplaning before I finally broke out of the
precip at I29. The outflow was miles in front of the storm now. As I passed the truck stop at the I29/12 junction, the
parking lot suddenly became a near white out of dirt and dust.
I was still cruising along on highway 12 with no real expectations that anything remotely interesting was going to happen
on the way home, when a notch developed on the line west of Milbank, SD and ABR slapped a tornado warning on it. I
was just coming into Milbank so I quickly got to the east and south outside of town to wait and see what would happen.
Mind you I was sitting in 60 mph northwest winds and it was about 65 degrees out at my location. There was never any
I have chased a lot of southeast moving summertime supercells over the years and have never been much of believer in
leading edge suction vorticies on linear crap. I did notice something I don't recall seeing before. This is my view from the
position on the map above. This "lowering" acted like a wall cloud as it was rapidly condensing on the right side as a tail
cloud normally would but this thing was FLYING at about 70 mph to the southeast. Never saw anything remotely
tornadic as I followed the storm towards Granite Falls, MN.
The rest of the chase was a powerwash of 60-70 mph wind driven rain and hail. The best part of the trip home was
seeing a CG hit a transformer about 100 feet away just outside of Renville, MN effectively knocking out the power. The
worst part was I needed gas urgently and had no choice but to stop at the Casey's in Granite Falls. Just as I put the gas
hose in the car, the wind blasted out of the northwest at well over 60 mph with torrential rain and dime sized hail. I was
soaked in a second. Oh, and MPX put a tornado warning on it as a couplet passed overhead. Great. More white knuckle
driving and street flooding the rest of the way on 212 until I turned north towards Atwater, MN and highway 12 to get
me home. What a crazy outflow driven day.