Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6/17/12 SD/MN Storm Chase

We chased eastern SD and western MN on Sunday. We ended up in Ortonville, MN minutes before what we thought was a routine bow echo/squall line. It ingested a large region of warm moist air and hit a pocket of high helicity just before it reached us and took on supercellular characteristics. We ended up getting hit by the mesocyclone's ground circulation and narrowly got missed by the tornado. Looking back at the images we could clearly see a tornado on the ground. Here is a sequential walk through our day...

Storms initiating in NE SD

Storm's cold pools organizing into a MCS

Shelf cloud emerging at the base

Gorgeous structure

Bow echo had a clear bookend vorticy to the north

Meso moving into Ortonville

Tornado visible at the base of the storm. Debris cloud left of the light pole, funnel to the right

Cropped version of above photo

Tornado moving farther to the east/south and stacked plates above it

Cropped version of the above photo showing the tornado with funnel a bit more visible to the right of the pole

Amazing structure and a huge hail core

Greenness! And the gas station we took cover at

Next storm just east of Watertown, SD. Clear base with a wall cloud and rainbow

Storm beginning to fall apart

Pretty sunset looking the opposite way

Zoomed in version

Storm is still trying

Very pretty backside of the cumulonimbus

And thus, ended our day. Kind of a disappointment because we were really hoping for some isolated supercells. Everything developed to fast and the cap gave way to a massive amount of "crap"-vection that helped the storms go linear quickly. We happened to get very lucky by being at the right place at the right time and were able to bag that tornado. It is good to finally get the first tornado of 2012 though!


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