Northeastern North Dakota
This was supposed to be "the day before the day before the day".
A good mix of shear and instability looked to being several good
rounds of tornado chances across North Dakota and Minnesota
over 3 days. After dinging around home in the morning, I pulled
the trigger about 11:30am with a initial target of somewhere in
northern Wells county ND. Called Eric Whitehill and offered to let
him jump in with me as we never get to chase together. We see
each other on the road quite often but never ride together.
|Oddly enough the only tornado report this day was from like 7:30am. Those significant hail reports in northeastern ND are legit!
22z surface obs showed surface low over southwest ND with a NW/SE
warm front draped over eastern ND.
The most important factor of the day. The 700mb 10c line. With SD and southern ND having a nuke proof cap in place and 5000 j/kg of
CAPE in place in the area with H7 temps AOA 12c, something had to give.
Petty easy to see the warm front on the 21Z mesoanalysis
thermodynamics CAPE plot
After watching two storms to the south struggle against the
EML, Eric and I headed north towards a severe warned
supercell near Devils Lake, ND for an intercept near Lakota, ND.
We stopped for a fuel top off in Lakota and the usual crappy
gas station pizza. The storm? Um, yeah. About the storm.
Not looking so good. Still warned, but obviously dying out
|368 miles and almost 6 hours of driving for this??
Lucky for us storms were backbuilding along the surface boundary and soon a new severe warned storm went up just north of Devils Lake. We
headed up north of Lakota to get a better look at the base. Although elongated, there was a definite area of interest on the southwest flank.
Shortly after this shot was taken and Eric and I scurried south to avoid the hail, we nearly clocked another Minnesota chaser who had stopped on
a township road just over the crest of a hill. Daaaamn. After a little sliding action to avoid the other chaser by going to the left, we got out of the
way. Common sense people. Either stop before, right on top, or well after the hill. Or better yet, use a field approach and get off the road!
We made it down to Lakota again but the storm never really got it's act together. Meanwhile a new cell went up almost directly overhead and
quickly developed a wicked wall cloud on the southern flank. There was a funnel cloud report near Michigan, ND from a spotter but we never
figured out if it was off the old cell (presumed) or off the new cell. The north cell was unorganized with lots of scud but nothing which even
resembled organized rotation we saw. Made the decision to blast east through the vault down highway 2 towards Niagara, ND. Pulled up along
side of Nick Elms and Amanda Hill who quickly decided to back off while Eric and I continued on and promptly were greeted by hail up to
1.5"...of the hard stuff.
The 3rd warned storm of the day quickly became a classic southeast moving ND supercell. Photo taken south of Niagara ND. Eric called NWS
GFK to let them know about the large wall cloud. There was broad rotation but nothing was really wrapping up. Good call by Greg Gust and
the crew ad Grand Forks not to pull the trigger on this. However, this storm was about to unleash the beast within.
Even though it went outflow dominant, it held together as a supercell and hammered everything in its path with 2.5" hail. Northwood ND got ht the
hardest. Northwood was decimated August 26 2007 by a deadly E4 tornado. The "Ice Grinder" as Nick and Amanda named it.
|We stayed with the cell jogging east and south down to east of Mayville, ND.
|Because one laptop is never enough. Amazing how good this thing looked in real life as it
looked like crap on radar. It kind of got caught in this transition phase. Never stayed
supercellular but it never went totally linear either. Weird.
|There goes the outflow. Central Traill county ND
|Its sure was pretty though over the ripening North Dakota grain fields.
Jumped over the Red River at Halstad, MN. View is about 3 miles east of Hendrum, MN looking northwest. Totally linear now. Still was
dropping big hail though.
Eric and I let it slide by to our east at Kragnes MN and called it a night as we had to get his gear back to KVLY in the event the next day was
chase worthy (it wasnt). However, we were hungry though.
Thanks to the guys and gals at the Taco Bell in south Fargo for letting us hang out to east inside as the 4th severe
warned cell of the day was crossing overhead.