Monday, December 7, 2009

12/08/09-12/09/09 Winter Storm

Winter storm will bring snow to most of the Midwest between now and Thursday, affecting Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin mostly Tuesday and Wednesday. Snow has already developed over northern Missouri and will continue to expand in coverage. My winter forecasting skills are nearly non-existant so for the most part I will just repeat what the NWS is thinking. Winter Storm Warnings for southern MN, most of Iowa, and a large part (if not all) of Wisconsin. Snowfall amounts will vary depending on where you are, so I will just give a broad prediction. The Twin Cities should see between 4-8", southern Minnesota between 6-12", southern Wisconsin, depending on where you are, up to a foot and a half. Southwestern Wisconsin should take the brunt of the storm. Totals start to fall off as you move in to Illinois and northwest of the Twin Cities, which tells you how big the storm is with such a wide path of snow. Snow should start Tuesday afternoon and linger in to Wednesday afternoon. Winds will increase as we get in to Wednesday and with the NWS thinking the snow will be pretty grainy, blowing snow is a major concern. Blizzard warnings in efffect for parts of southern MN and northern IA. Even farther to the north here in the Twin Cities we could see occasional wideout conditions as winds are expected to be between 20-30 mph with occasional gusts to about 35 mph. Models are showing PWAT values around .4" which would amount to about 4 inches of snow, but many people including the NWS are thinking totals will be higher, and 10" is not out of the question for the cities, but not necessarily likely. I know that stuff has something to do with the liquid ratios so I quess we'll just have to wait and see. I'll post my measurements throughout the storm and may even try to shoot a little video. Hopefully I can get some accurate measurements even with the wind.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New thoughts on MIDSCAR

The last couple of days have been filled with a lot of arguing back and forth between me, Michael Stanga, Dan Fruechte, a supposed met student from SCSU, and a member of MIDSCAR. Lots of arguing and bashing back and forth, but eventually someone got through to the kid from MIDSCAR. Sounds like Mike Scantlin was the one to get the kid to realize the way he was coming off to people and is now taking steps to get his reputation back. That won't happen overnight, but he took a huge step in the right direction when he joined Stormtrack to confront everyone and apologize for the way he acted. He has a lot of passion for weather and chasing, and with the big amount of knowledge he will get from ST, no doubt he will have a good season in 2010. Good luck Chris!
So, the MIDSCAR issue has blown over, but the other person I was going after on Youtube still hasn't come around and I highly doubt he ever will. Apparently he is a second year met. student at St Cloud State but you wouldn't know that by watching his videos. The MIDSCAR team asked him to come on board as a severe wx forecaster, but after Chris (the guy from MIDSCAR I was talking about above) came around he realized that this other kid wasn't someone they wanted on their team. All I'll say is that the met. kid really doesn't know anything about weather or chasing but still tries to tell real chasers that they are dumber than him at chasing eventhough he has never chased a day a in his life.

Anyways, glad that this has all gotten worked out for the most part. Before anyone comes on here saying I'm playing the chaser police card, realize that I was just trying to get Chris to realize how he was coming off and that there is a better to approach chasing. As for the other kid, well I just enjoy pissing him off.

Anyways, I've done some work to my website getting a couple of chaselogs including getting part of May 20th, July 13th, and all of July 14th done. I still have to finish the rest of the chaselogs but hoping to get a lot more done this weekend. If you want to check it out and even give some feedback check it:

If you want to give any feedback feel free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another TIV project (MIDSCAR and the TIV4)

So I told myself I was going to be done with or atleast cut down on the posts where I bitch about pointless stuff. But I think this is worth bringing up. Over the last couple of years as we all know a couple of research groups have come together. This elite (yes elite, whether we like to admit it or not these groups would blow the rest of us chasers out of the water)group includes TWISTEX, VORTEX (1 and 2), and even Reed Timmer and his dominator. In my opinion there isn't much room left for more research groups. However, a group from southern Illinois is gonna try to join. This post was inspired by a thread over at ST and other info I've gathered from Youtube and Facebook.
Alright, so first off over at good 'ole StormTrack, in one of the threads someone posted a link to a couple of Youtube videos from this group wanting to build their own TIV(I think this would make TIV4) and they have their own group called "Midwest Storm Chasers and Researchers" a.k.a. MIDSCAR. Now this sounds like a good idea however the following videos show us the people who are in this group. Aside from the extremely annoying and ignorant narrator, they don't seem to know a ton about chasing. We've all been there and that's not the reason I'm posting this on here. The reason I'm posting is the fact that none of us tried to build our own tornado intercept and research group and TIV while knowing this little about chasing. Note the lightbar ;) :

So after seeing how these people acted I looked at their profile on Youtube to see what this group was about. Looking through their Youtube and Facebook profiles it sounds like their ultimate goal which they are expecting to accomplish within the not so distant future is to intercept a tornado with their own TIV. Aside from their lack of knowledge about chasing, the big question I have is how is a 17 year old going to know how to or have the resources to analyze the data that would come from a tornado interecept? Show me a teen who can do that and I'll shut up. Or maybe they aren't trying to collect data at all, but then why even try to interecept a tornado? What's the point? Risking your life for....well I cant think of anything that would be worth risking my life intercepting a tornado unless it was for research. And even still I would give that responsibility to the professional research groups who are out there doing it, and this is not one of those pro groups. I'm not knocking this group for chasing, we all started out naive but then again, like I said earlier, none of us tried to start our own tornado research group when we were just starting out either. There's a lot more to the research of tornadoes than driving a half-assed version of Mr. Casey's design in to a tornado. And I doubt these guys have any idea what it would take to accomplish their goal. Anyways, I dont care that they're chasing tornadoes with little to no experience. As Mr. Doms puts it, "Darwin, table for one please." For some reason it just really pisses me off that these people are trying to act like such know-it-alls when they really don't know shit. .

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mother Nature Rage & Grace II Trailer and a couple video grabs

Finally finished my Mother Nature Rage & Grace II trailer. It's amazing how much work goes in to a 4 minute video. Anyways, it's done and work on the full movie will start pretty soon here. Again, still getting used to my new video editing program but I'm getting more comfortable with it. Hoping to have the video done in early December and it will be available by trade only (but you could probably talk me in to sending you a video without trade if you want, just send me an email at Hoping the video will be between 45-60 minutes, which shouldn't be real hard. Anyways, here's the link to the video:

Also I figured out how to get video grabs so here's a few I got:
This is the large wall cloud that passed over my town of New Brighton, MN on 8/8/09. Kinda crappy quality but had to adjust a bunch of stuff to get the wall cloud to show up since the lightning wasnt really cooperating.

Here's another one from 8/2/09 on a tornado warned storm in southwest Minnesota. Had there been some daylight this would've been a VERY photogenic storm.

And one last one of a distant wall cloud that was close to the ground on 7/13/09 It looked good from my vantage point but Mike Hollingshead was a lot closer than I was and it definitely didn't look like it was going to produce a tornado from where he was, which was right under the base. Still a cool storm.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Definitely Inconclusive

Finally getting some time to go through some night time video of a couple of tor warned storms this past year. The first one I looked at was the August 8th sup. that passed just north of where I live (the large wall cloud would've been clearly visible from our house). Going through the video frame by frame proved nothing but the fact that there was a large wall cloud. If there was a tornado in there it would not have been photogenic although the wall cloud would've been a beauty. Possible maybe longshot funnel but it is next to impossible to confirm with the shaky video and uncooperative lightning. But even still it was cool to have such a strong storm pass so close to my house. I've been thinking about it since Aug. 8th and I'm wondering if I would've been able to see the west metro tornado had I stayed home instead of been out in the Lake Minnetonka area. There is a nice hill just west of the house that has a nice view to the west/southwest. Considering that the tornado was about 10 miles to the southwest of the hill, I really wonder if I would've been able to see the tornado from there. I know for sure I would've had an incredible view of the wall cloud. The reason I looked so hard at this video is one it was so close to home but also there were some damage reports from the area the meso passed over. NWS was unable to confirm it was a tornado as the damage was so sparse but if it was from a tornado, I'd probably be able to see atleast a funnel in my video. As far as I can tell, there was no funnel. Weird thing about this storm was the RFD winds were really localized. Nothing like 9/21/05 where the RFD damaged a path like 15 miles wide (from about Andover south to New Brighton)and did more damage than a couple of tornadoes it produced. That was a fun storm.

The second video I'm looking at is the video I got on August 2nd out near Marshall, MN. There was a TON of lightning with that storm, but in order to pick up the lightning on my video camera I had to slow the shutter speed down so I dont have as many frames to help my cause. Even still, with the amount of lightning there was I still get some **decent** views of the base. I haven't gotten through all the video but after the point in the video I'm at right now I think the storm starts to crap out so if there was a tornado I would've already seen it. Plus, the storm started to speed up as the chase went on and we got further and further behind the storm hence a worse and worse view of the base. Either way, this would've been an ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL storm with a little daylight. As far as I know there was no wind damage from this storm so my guess is that there wasnt one. Or if there was, again it would've been brief, weak, and not photogenic (sounds familiar, right? cough2009cankissmyasscough). Anyways, a cool storm and fun chase regardless of no tornado.

Also, I talked to Todd K. a couple days ago. Talked for a little bit about 8/8/09 and the tornado north of Burkhardt, WI. Official NWS damage survey said that the tornado was 1/4 mile wide which is a good sized tornado. While talking to Todd he said that it may have been closer to 1/2 mile wide, and was widest right as or right after it touched down. Weird....Usually its the other way around with it getting bigger the longer its on the ground. Surprisingly the RFD damage was fairly localized in this area as well. Another thing to note is that no powerlines or poles were broken in the tornado damage area even though the tornado caused significant roof and garage damage and was rated an EF1. On August 19th when I came across the tornado damage in North Branch, MN there were some powerlines and poles down, but it was only rated an EF0. Are the powerlines and poles engineered differently or something in different states? Anyways, just a couple things to chew on.

Lastly, I'm starting production on my 2009 chase DVD. Actually came up with a name for this year so it will be "Mother Nature Rage and Grace II: Two Thousand and None". Will have a trailer up sometime this week hopefully. Right now hoping to get it done by early December but it may take a little longer to finish as I am still getting used to my new video editing software. Also, I'll try to get some video grabs of the 8/8/09 wall cloud and 8/2/09 storm. Any suggestions on how to get video grabs? Do you do it in the video software?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Some more pics

Blah, a real lack of ANYTHING to talk about lately hence the lack of blog posts. But figured I'd update with some more pics I never got posted during the chase season. Here's a few, will post more throughout the winter in an attempt to keep myself sane until next season. Not the greatest of pics but enjoy!

June 17th in southern Minnesota:

These are from July 27th in southwest Wisconsin (yes, southwest Wisconsin, the epitimy of horrible chase terrain in the central US)
It was a frustrating chase as I started out behind the storms and didn't get out in front of them until they had merged together and started to line out. But there is something interesting in this first pic, this was taken shortly after the tornado was reported near Mount Sterling. The base is obviously very unorganized and to be honest I'm not even sure this is the same storm. There was a bunch of little crap going up all around the main storm I was trying to get on so this may have been one of those. Anyways, a little knub with some scud in what appeared to be the right area for the updraft. Feel free to leave a comment as to what you think it is.

Lastly, gotta love chasing in Wisconsin. And to think this was about the best view I had of anything all day. As things are lining out:

July 14th out in southwest Minnesota just outside of Pipestone. Shelf cloud on a line while tornadic storms are raging about 90 minutes west of my house. Bill Doms is getting a nice, close up view of the shelf...and rain/wind (according to his report).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Marking my calendar and an unexpected rant about ST

With the lack of any weather to talk about lately and no exciting weather to talk about in the foreseeable future thought I would update with some other things.
Number one is for the first time in probably 3-4 years I will be going to a Minnesota Wild game! Marking my calendar for Feb. 10. We already got the tickets so we dont have to wait and hope some tickets open up. Section 215 against the Coyotes! And as a bonus it's the end of the rink the Wild shoot at twice. Section 215 is the upper corner but there is not a bad seat anywhere at the Xcel so I don't really care where we sit. Going with a couple of friends for my birthday as well as my friend's girlfriend who coincidently has the exact same bday as I do. So really looking forward to that!

Also looking forward to the F5 get together in Big Lake on Oct. 17th. Should be a great time with some great people. Still have to make my 5 minute movie for it but that shouldn't be a problem since even colleges give us MEA break so I will have time to do it next week.

I'm also writing an english paper on chasing. It's a division/classification paper and is a bit of a satire so I will post that when I get it done and my grade back on it.

And lastly, people over at ST still really have their panties in a bunch for some reason. It's been over a week of bitching about content posted their. Admittadely there was a pretty retarded thread started there a day or two ago that I couldnt believe someone actually posted, but all this bitching started way before that thread was posted. So, TO ALL PEOPLE WHO HAVE THEIR PANTIES IN A GIGANTIC WAD AT ST: STFU!
The motto "If you dont like it then dont read it" works great for me, I dont see how so many other people have such an incredibly hard time with it. And even if it's that tough for you then just forget about it! Are we REALLY gonna bitch and moan for every thread that we dont like? C'mon people, we're bigger than that. I thought last winter was bad, this winter is gonna be even worse hands down at this rate. I just do not get people sometimes.

Anyways, didn't mean to get in to a rant, just wanted to share the news about the Wild game and look at what ST ended up doing to me. Whatever, Feb.10, I know where I'm gonna be!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Entertainment at Stormtrack

Wow what a fun couple of days it's been over at Stormtrack. It seems SDS has already taken over a majority of the members with an effect of a series of flame wars. It started last night in a topic about Reed Timmer and people who were on both sides of liking him. Unfortunately, I didn't see it until the mods had gone through and gotten rid of the worst posts but there still some amusing ones in there. A lot of history and bad blood in that thread which I have no clue about so I'll stop here about that thread.

This morning Bob Hartig posted a thread about civility since the flame war on Monday night got so out of hand, and it was FAR from the first one, but also FAR from the last. It didn't take long for this thread to go down the exact same road as the thread on Monday night. This time, IMO, it's even more heated than last night's war. I lost some respect for some people but then again maybe that proves how little I knew them. Even still, you'd hope people would be bigger than some of them were in these threads. But for the rest of us it's fun to kick back and watch everything unfold. Hopefully the mods don't lock it soon since it'll be entertaining.

One thing I do have to say is that Tim and the mods at ST don't deserve to have to put up with this shit, but then again what did they expect when they took on that responsibility? Funny how the mods let these threads go sometimes too. It's gonna be a long and interesting winter.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

North Shore Pics

Here's 4 pics I got from the North Shore on Wednesday. I didnt have as much time as I would've liked thanks to a traffic backup in which I went 3 miles in 50 minutes. Anyways I made it to Gooseberry and Tetagouche. Had to stop in Duluth to pick up a new memory card so didnt want to drive back south to Jay Cooke just to head back north. So I've taken too long getting these pics up so here they are:



I have more pics to go through and will post them when I get time, probably on Wednesday. But maybe not, its supposed to be nice again this Wednesday so I may head out somewhere again. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

North Shore Day Trip Wednesday

Planning on heading up to the North Shore tomorrow after class to get some of the early fall colors. I know that the colors are only getting going but with the forecast looking so good I can't say no to a trip. Gonna hit Gooseberry for sure, try and get Tetagouche too or maybe head up to Lutsen or Grand Marais. I dont get out of class till 10:50 so I wont get up there till after 12:00 but should still have plenty of time to mess around up there. I also want to head out next Wednesday if the forecast is good, not sure if it will be to the North Shore again or somewhere else. Anyone have suggestions for other nice state/national parks around Minnesota? Preferably ones with rivers/streams/waterfalls or overlooks?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Update...I guess

Haven't posted much lately, but then again there hasnt been much to talk about. No storms, haven't done much photography. One thing to note is I have started work on Mother Nature Rage and Grace Vol. II now that 2009 is pretty much officially over. Not a bad season, I think I made the best of what was given. 11 chases, over 8000 miles, lots of tornado warnings, only a couple brief tornadoes, but that seems like what everyone else is saying about this season. Not a ton else to say, gonna try to make a trip to the arrowhead/north shore of Lake Superior here in a couple weeks to get some pics of the fall colors. Hopefully the weather cooperates and I can get up there. Otherwise will have to stick around here, which has worked out the last couple years. Still a lot of work to do on my website but that'll come together this winter. So, to have something that is actually of interest to anyone reading this here is a couple of pictures from chase season 2009 that I never posted. Enjoy!

Shelf cloud trying to overtake me on July 14th just outside of Pipestone, MN.

Incredible mammatus show on the way home on July 14th down near Worthington, MN. Just another example of why I need a superwide angle lens.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 19th recap/August 24th FCST

So I chased on Wednesday (August 19th) and it was definately the weirdest effing chase I've ever been on. Watched a couplet on the TDWR TMSP move north from Richfield right over downtown Minneapolis. Shaked it off as a fluke eventhough the couplet was rather nice and there was even a morphed hook on BR1 for a while. A tornado warning was issued north of this couplet including right over my house in New Brighton, MN. As soon as I saw this warning I knew I had little time to get out. Despite the rain and low visibility I knew that there was a small chance for me to get in the right position to see a tornado. Long story short, chased storms to just north east of North Branch, MN. Decided to head home going through North Branch to get back to I35 south. As soon as I got in to the town I saw numerous trees down and even a telephone pole snapped off near the top. Ended up pulling off and walking around a bit. Biggest thing was near the middle school where two metal bleachers were flipped over and one was dragged along the ground about 30 yards. This ended up being confirmed a tornado by NWS-MPX as an EF0 with winds of 70-80 mph. Not much else to say, was within a couple miles of a a tornado but had to be in the exact right spot at the exact right time to see them due to rain and piss poor visibility. As far as poor warning time, this definately wasn't an easy setup to see coming, although there were definately signs that something COULD happen. Not many pics, mostly just of the damage in North Branch but nothing real impressive.

Forecast for August 24th, I'll be back in school so we'll see if I actually end up chasing this, but there is some potential for a supercell or two up near Fargo, ND. MLCAPE between 1500-2000 j/kg, helicities not real impressive but I've chased worse, lots of linear forcing but it could be interesting right as the storms get going. WRF breaks down the CINH and H85/H7 temps before 00z so this should go before dark. MLCAPE staying around 1000 j/kg after dark so we could have a marginal MCS move through northern MN later in the night. Like I said, should turn linear pretty quick but it could be interesting early. Target right now would be Fargo to Wahpeton, ND to Fergus Falls, MN right now. I'm out of school at 1:50 on Monday and figure 3 1/2 hour drive I should be in position by 5:30 and that should be about the time initiation occurs. If nothing else get some shelf footage which is something I have amazingly not gotten much of this year, plus I need my NoDak chase this year. May post once afternoon runs come in, but I think it could be interesting, especially early.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Slacking Lately- August 8th chaselog & Wisconsin tornado damage pics

Got off work at 3:00, headed out pretty much right after that. Target was somewhere southwest of the metro with no specific city in mind. Saw Tim Purington sitting down in Jordan, MN which was in my path south on highway 169. Met up with him, we head south for a bit, decided to head back north as the warm front continued to head north. Sat in Saint Louis Park right off 169 until about 8:00 pm watching tower after tower try to go up but hit the cap and fall back down. There was one storm out near Orono that tried for quite a while to get going but watching the VIL and echo tops stay constant at relatively low numbers considering the amount of energy in the atmosphere we didn't think much of it. But after about 30 minutes of it trying to go the VIL started to finally increase again and we knew that this time it had broken the cap. Raced west on highway 7 only to find out that the storm was in the Lake Minnetonka area, which for anyone not familiar with the terrain in this area is basically lakes and trees with a few homes plopped down between trees and obviously not good terrain for chasing, in fact I'd take chasing southwest Wisconsin over this area because atleast in SW WI there are hills which when you're on the top of you can see quite a way, not the case in the southwest Minneapolis metro. Anyways, the storm went tornadic shortly after we headed towards it. We chased it back to the north metro never seeing the tornado and only seeing a funnel for maybe 4 seconds tops. Chased it through the city I live in (New Brighton) with the couplet passing just to the north of my house. Continued to western Wisconsin well after dark. Stopped about 3-4 miles east of Burkhardt with the couplet to our west and tightening. The meso passed right over us, and then went home. No pictures and no video worth posting.

Went back to the Burkhardt area to take a look at the damage on Sunday. Lots of tree damage along with about 6 homes damaged. MPX officially rated the tornado an EF1 which lifted just to the west of our position on Saturday, had the tornado kept going another mile or two we would've gotten hit. I have no problem coming out and admitting we were in a bad spot and I'll even go so far to admit I knew we were in a bad spot while it was happening. Shit happens and you learn from it. Anyways, most of the damage was in the new development of St Joseph township north of county road E and county road I with the damage occuring along Walsh Road and Oakwood Lane. About 5 homes damaged, like I said TONS of tree damage but surprisingly no power lines down. Headed east to another North-South oriented road named Bass Lake Road. Just up the road nearly due east of St Joseph township is another house with major garage damage and lots more tree damage. East of this damage appeared to taper off. A couple of other things of note is just east of Bass Lake Road was a John Deer trailer that looked like it was blown over. I dont know how strong winds have to be to blow one of those over but I'm guessing it has to be pretty strong. Also, St Joseph township is tucked about 1/3 mile in west of county road I however I did see some debris (i.e. a couple of recliner chairs and other household debris) piled up along county I just east of the township. Not a ton, but it was definately a pile. Damage survey concluded that the tornado was 1/4 mile wide and 5 mile long path. It would've been quite a beauty had it not been at night and rain wrapped. Pics below

These were all taken in St Joseph township:

So I know I've been slacking really bad lately in updating the blog. Since I last post my July 13th chaselog (which is mistakenly titled July 14th chaselog) I have chased 4 times and have posted nothing for any of them. But in my defense I haven't gotten a ton of good footage from any of them. But I figured I'd post something about the supercell that went through the Twin Cities on August 8th. So the chaselog:

Tree snapped half way up:

There were a ton of trees that looked like this, unfortunately the memory card was full by that time.

Notice how the garage wall was blown out but not over.

This picture was taken along Bass Lake Road just east of St Joseph township:

I'll try to get the chaselog from July 14th, July 27th, and August 2nd up soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chaselog July 13th South Dakota

Headed out by myself for what is by far the farthest chase I've ever done alone, and it was a GREAT learning experience for me to figure out my still of chasing while chasing alone. I got going a little late but got on the to be Valentine storm around 4:30. I didnt get real close since I had a pretty good view of it from about 15 miles away. Got off I90 near Stamford, SD and watched it for a while. It had a good base and there were lowerings hanging right on the ground, but I'm pretty sure they were not tornadoes. Tried following the storm south but the dirt roads in the area were horrible with lots of hills and curves. Decided to bail on it to go for the storm to the north since I didnt want to chance getting stuck plus I couldnt go more than 30 mph on the dirt roads. Sat the the I90/highway 63 junction south of Midland to watch the storm and get some video for a timelapse. After about 25 minutes I headed north as the base of the storm was just northwest of highway 63 and I knew I would have a good view of it. At the time time the storm wasnt much going on under the updraft, but followed it back to the interstate and by the time I got there the storm REALLY got going. Lots of motion, some rotation, and a wet RFD. Again, didnt follow the storm south of I90 due to the dirt roads. Headed west towards Rapid City to wait for the stuff coming out of WY/MT, stopped in Kakoda. Waited a while, realized there wasnt a ton of TOR potential with the way the storms were looking on radar. Headed east to get in to position for Tuesday in Minnesota. Again, a very good learning experience for me. I didnt have much experience chasing alone before, but now I realize how rewarding it is to bag something nice and know you did it by yourself. Pics and video below:View of the storm that would go on to produce the tornadoes in s.c. South Dakota and n.c. Nebraska, view is looking east from Stamford, SD.Anyways, headed out by myself for what is by far the farthest chase I've ever done alone, and it was a GREAT learning experience for me to figure out my still of chasing while chasing alone. I got going a little late but got on the to be Valentine storm around 4:30. I didnt get real close since I had a pretty good view of it from about 15 miles away. Got off I90 near Stamford, SD and watched it for a while. It had a good base and there were lowerings hanging right on the ground, but I'm pretty sure they were not tornadoes. Tried following the storm south but the dirt roads in the area were horrible with lots of hills and curves. Decided to bail on it to go for the storm to the north since I didnt want to chance getting stuck plus I couldnt go more than 30 mph on the dirt roads. Sat the the I90/highway 63 junction south of Midland to watch the storm and get some video for a timelapse. After about 25 minutes I headed north as the base of the storm was just northwest of highway 63 and I knew I would have a good view of it. At the time time the storm wasnt much going on under the updraft, but followed it back to the interstate and by the time I got there the storm REALLY got going. Lots of motion, some rotation, and a wet RFD. Again, didnt follow the storm south of I90 due to the dirt roads. Headed west towards Rapid City to wait for the stuff coming out of WY/MT, stopped in Kakoda. Waited a while, realized there wasnt a ton of TOR potential with the way the storms were looking on radar. Headed east to get in to position for Tuesday in Minnesota. Again, a very good learning experience for me. I didnt have much experience chasing alone before, but now I realize how rewarding it is to bag something nice and know you did it by yourself. Pics and video below:View of the storm that would go on to produce the tornadoes in s.c. South Dakota and n.c. Nebraska, view is looking east from Stamford, SD.

View I had of the storm from about 15 miles away just before it crossed I90 near Kakoda(I think I finally got that right), SD. This storm would go on to become the Valentine, NE hybrid monster. Many people captured the INCREDIBLE structure near Valentine. Unfortunately I didnt have a good route to get south to keep up with the storm, so I bailed on it after it got south of I90.View is looking west-southwest

The second storm I got on which was near Midland, SD. The view I had was about 3 miles south of Midland looking northwest. I'm nearly 100% sure I was the only chaser on this storm, or atleast I havent heard anyone else mention this storm in their reports and I was the only one on Spotter Network on this storm. Badlands+no other chasers=incredible photo ops.

Pic of the lowering which I am hesitant to call a wall cloud since it was displaced a bit from the updraft. However there was a lot of motion, rotation, and a wet RFD.



Monday, July 13, 2009

Semi-post chase update

I didnt post a forecast or anything for today but I ended up heading out solo to central South Dakota. Definately a gamble with such a long drive but I really think it paid off. I'll keep this brief since I have many other things to be watching right now, but I intercepted to awesome storms west of Rapid City. The first one had a beautiful meso and structure with a ragged wall cloud. Due to the piss poor roads in the area I bailed on the storm rather early, but just before the tor warning was dropped (which was later re-issued). I didnt want to chance getting stuck in the hilly mud roads in the middle of nowhere. After bailed I headed west on I90 to the highway 63 exit to get gas. I watched the storm to my north on radar for a while, finally drove up 63 a bit and had a good view of the base At the time it wasnt doing much, but I followed it back to 90 and by the time I get there the base was getting much more organized. I have a lot of video from this storm and some from the first along with plenty of pics. Right now sitting just south of Kadoka, SD trying to figure out my next move. The storms moving in to SD look like they are lining out plus I dont really want to go anyfurther west since that means it will take longer to get back. Outflow from the storms my east is pretty good, east winds gusting to 30 mph. Not kicking up anything new right now, probably just gonna hang around Kadoka and see if anything happens by 9:00. If not I will head west to get closer to position for tomorrow along the SD/MN border. Definately wasnt expecting a two day solo chase trip, but i'm definately not complaining! I'll try to have pics/vid up in the next couple days, probably not tomorrow since I will be chasing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

First day of July?

Ha, feels more like the first day of October. Currently sitting at a temp of 57 with overcast skies and patchy drizzle. This pattern sucks, and we've been in it for the last few days with temps barely scraping 70 and the last couple days it's been cloudy and WINDY. Definately doesnt feel like summer any more. We had one week of warm temps, but other than that it's been a cool summer with not many chances for storms, and that trend will continue with this pattern. But, it does look like the pattern may change next week with the possibility of some storms. The problem? I'll be out of town with family next week which is starting to remind me of last summer when the same thing happened that prevented me from getting out on July 10th and 11th. Dont get me wrong, I love being with family, but my luck is the storms come when I cant be out. But maybe I shouldnt complain, I've had some decent storms and there will be more oppurtunites this season, I mean, Minnesota only has 102 storm reports so far this season, and our average the entire season is 600-700, so we have some catching up to do. Lets just hope that actually happens.

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 17th, 2009 Chaselog

Its day like Wednesday that make us storm chasers go out. In the morning and throughout the day the threat for supercells and tornadoes didnt look all that great, but with a 5% tornado risk close to home of course we headed out. Got on the road around 10:00 heading out towards west central Minnesota with no specific target city. Throughout the day we slowly ventured south based on the RUC ending up somewhere east of Windom. Between 4:30 and 5:00 we start to notice some towers going up, so we get on the east side of them to see if they would do anything. They would go up, start to get a base and lowering, and then fall apart. They did this for about 45 minutes. Finally we notice towers going up to our east-southeast. After not really paying attention to them Rich finally broke out the binoculars and could actually see the towers getting bigger in real time. After watching the towers to our west go up and collapse one last time, we decided to race off east towards the towers that were much farther away than we thought (we were near Windom and the towers to our east would go on to be the storm that hit Austin, MN). Quickly realizing we weren't going to get to the Austin storm in time we targeted more towers going up to the north of the Austin storm. On our way east the Austin storm produced a very nice, thick anvil with a classic overshooting top. The storm that we were chasing had some of the most incredible structure I've ever seen, very nice, crisp towers. After about an hour catch up game to the storm we finally intercepted it just east of Waseca. As we were just getting to the east side of the city, we heard reports over the ham radio of a waterspout over Clear Lake which is on the north side of Waseca. After getting through the last few trees in the city we got a brief view of the waterspout. We stopped about 1/2 a mile east of the city watching the base of the storm. We saw one or two brief spinups on the ground, but unfortunately there was no condensation funnel so figuring out where it was going to touch down was difficult and made it hard to get good video or pics. We also saw a couple more brief touchdowns just to our east. All in all we got 1 waterspout and 3-4 brief spin ups under the meso. After this we step-laddered it southeast until we decided to bail and head home south of Dodge Center. The entire time we tried but could never quite completely break through the hook. Not much else to say, we didnt really see much after we started driving east from Waseca. Anyways, here's some pictures.

The incredible structure of the storm:

Structure shot with a view of the base, lots of rotation.

Not exactly sure what to call this, it had a lot of rotation so my gut tells me its a funnel, but the shape of it is so weirf that I have not idea. REALLY wish we had been able to get video or better pic of it!

Really crappy picture of the same feature but much closer and the thing is hanging right on the ground. Also lots of rotation. The last thing we really saw on the storm, spent the rest of the chase trying to get ourselves through the hook.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brief recap for June 17th and June 18th FCST

Ok, gotta do this quick as we have another very busy day today. But first a quick recap from yesterday.

Headed out with Rich Gudmunsen towards southwest Minnesota. Around 5:30 towards started going up over southcentral MN but we could still see them very well from where we were. After a long drive to catch up to them we finally got on a TOR warned storm near Waseca, MN. After we got through town we witnessed a water spout over I think it is Clear Lake just north of Waseca. LOTS of motion and rotation under the meso, probably the most I've ever seen. We saw a couple of circulations on the ground. Hard to say whether it was a true tornado or a landspout, but it was in the action area under the meso so who knows... Continued to follow the storm as it tracked ESE, we ended up behind the hook and for the most part we were never quite able to get through it. Didnt get much video or pics after Waseca but plenty of structure shots before we got to the town. I wanted to have pics up by now but thats just not going to happen.

Forecast for today: SPC issued a moderate risk for southern Minnesota and northern Iowa including a 15% hatched tornado risk. Its a tought forecast with the storms moving through the area right now but that will likely lay down a plethora of outflow boundaries for later today. Extreme instability expected to be in place across the risk area as strong heating and quick destabilization occur throughout the afternoon. Looks like the western edge of the MOD risk is starting to clear out so we might already have some heating occurring down there. Gonna head out today, not sure where but it seems like anywhere in the moderate risk could be a good play.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another PDS blue box and thoughts about the end of June

The Storm Prediction Center has issued another PDS severe thunderstorm watch for eastern Oklahoma and a good part of Arkansas. Here is a link to it:
Cant remember the last time the SPC called for 105 mph winds in their text:


This thing has already had atleast one tornado warning on the bookend vortex. Been watching it off and on this morning and it's been looking quite healthy. What is different about this MCS (and by the end of the day quite possibly derecho) is that in addition to the extreme straightline winds, it's also been producing very large hail (for any non chasers or weather weenies out there that is hail in excess of 2 inches in diameter) which is pretty strange for an MCS, although definately not unheard of. Should be interesting to see how it all turns out by tonight. I bet it would make for a fun chase as long as you didnt get smacked by 3" hail driven by 100 mph winds.

GFS is showing the end of June starting to be more active for us up here in the north. Although it is still a long ways out, it looks like we may have a couple of storm days with actual, real moisture to work with. Not a whole lot to say at this point since it is still so far out but I will say that our storm season may FINALLY start up here.

One more thing; I have some video from my chase on Sunday and I have no idea what it is. My guess is probably just the updraft, but it is hanging pretty close to the ground. I posted the link to the video below, so if anyone has an idea what it might be please feel free to leave a comment. The video was taken ~8:15 or 8:30 just west of Maysville, Missouri along highway 6. It's obviously rotating but not sure what to call it, you can tell the feature is moving south (camera is looking east) while other motion looks like it is moving east. It's a timelapse and at 6x normal speed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chaselog June 7th, 2009

Chased with Chris White. Our target was Holton, KS and with the long drive ahead of us we headed out a little after 8:00 am. On the way down we decided to just stay a little farther north and changed our target to Hiawatha, KS which was about a half our shorter drive. Ended up being a good decision as two storms fired just to our west. We went after the northern storm first as it looked best on radar and went TOR warned about 20 minutes later. We setup to watch the storm about 4 miles northwest of Dawson, NE along highway 4. Watched the storm for about 20-30 minutes. We didnt have the best view of the storm since we were watching it from the northeast, but we were still able to see the wall cloud. After about 30 minutes the TOR warning was dropped and the storm started to look like crap on radar so we decided to jump southeast to try to intercept the storm heading in to Missouri. By this time there was a constant stream of chase vehicles going the exact same direction we were headed. Imagine the movie Twister but times about 100. It was a fucking circus out there. But anyways, we continue east, and lose data. Not sure what happened but my phone didnt want to recognize that my computer was trying to tether it. Stupid technology. So we try to intercept the storm without data and with visual aids only. We pass Tony Perkins and his partners in Oregon, MO. They were there looking at the very large hail that had fallen. We stop to say hi and measure some of our own stones. Biggest we measured was between 2.75"-3.00" but there were reports up to 4.25" and someone at ST even said that they measured 5.25". All I can say is I'm glad we didnt get stuck in that core. The rest of the day was spent playing catchup trying to get in front of the storm but unfortunately we were never able to. We ended up just west of Maysville, MO watching the backside of the storm. I got some video of what I'm thinking is an updraft but I honestly have no idea what it is, but whatever it is, it is rotating. Just down the road from us at this point was the DOW, and numerous Vortex 2 trucks. After this we head east as I35 is just a couple miles from us, we stop to get some sunset pics and then head on home. It made me feel a little better after not getting a whole lot since nobody else really got much. Still some powerful storms but it didnt seem like anyone was able to see the storms very well. But it wasn't a complete waste, got to see the TIV in Oregon, MO, the DOW in Marysville, MO, numerous V2 vehicles, and numerous V2 probes near Oregon, MO plus chasing for the first time in Missouri, something I figured wouldnt happen unless there was a 30% hatched tornado risk. Pics below.

Wall cloud to our southwest on the northern storm:

Storm to our southeast:

Updraft on the dying storm we were just on:

Looking east at the TOR warned storm. We are just west of Maysville, MO at this point, time is somewhere around 8:15 pm. I'm not sure what this is, I have a timelapse video that shows it obviously rotating.

Sunset before we head home:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

6/07/09 Chase FCST/update from the road

Heading out with Chris White today going down to northeast Kansas for what looks to have the potential to be a pretty good day. Current target is Holton, KS with the WRF showing good instability and helicities. Taking a look at the RUC I think it is overdoing the instability but even still we should have plenty of energy to play with. Visible satellite shows clouds clearing across the northeast part of the state but more clouds to the west. Will pay attention to what that area of clouds does the rest of the day, but our target area should stay clear most of the day. Expecting initiation around 5:00 and we should be down there around 4:00. We better damn well get something for this one day road trip to Kansas, I'm sick of driving over 1000 miles for a chase. Will post more later.

Friday, June 5, 2009

FCST: June 7th/8th

An active severe weather weekend is already underway across Wyoming and Nebraska with lots of photogenic storms and even tornadoes. The threat should continue for the rest of the evening as the storms are cycling nicely. Tomorrow could also be decent in Nebraska although the big issue will be the cap. However, due to work on Friday and Saturday I couldnt be out. But I got someone to cover my shift on Sunday so I will definately be out. Right now, I'd say north central Kansas or south central-southeast Nebraska. We'll see, models have been pretty inconsistent but I still think it has potential, certainly better than anything I've chased so far this year. And it looks like it could be a two day chase trip with another possible chase on Monday in Iowa. Right now I'm not overly confident as it looks like precip will be ongoing throughout the day for most of Iowa, but for now southeast Iowa has my eye. We'll see though, it'd be nice to chase two days in a row, but Monday has to look pretty good. Now the problem will be finding a chaser to head out with who hasnt already headed south since most chasers around here either already headed out or are heading out tomorrow so it doesn't sound like there will be many to meet up with on Sunday. But I'm sure I can find someone. Should be a circus down there, maybe I'll get to meet a few people while down there.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 1st chaselog and bitching about the weather pattern

Chaselog: Outflow dominant CRAP!! I saw it coming though, the way the models broke down the CIN and the upper levels winds far away from the instability we knew better than to head out. But one of these days we will get a surprise. I took a couple pics, hardly anything worth posting. Lots of people out there though, mostly to our east in Missouri, we ended up in southeast Nebraska and even dipped down in to Kansas for a few minutes. We core punched most of the storms since there wasnt much danger in it given the setup. Got some hail, quarter size at best. The most interesting part of the day was on the way back home watching the supercells in western KS/NE. One of them was a west moving, left turning tornadic sup. The radar loop from Goodland for this event was unreal, it will definately without a doubt make a phenominal case study. Another sup to the north in NE fired, died, then reformed farther south and went on to become TOR warned (and tornadic I believe too) but unlike the storm to its southeast, this storm was moving south/southwest. Eventually something triggered more storms in the area which for a while also looked supercellular on radar. All the while a squall line was moving north towards these supercells. Eventually all the storms met and the sups got ingested in to the MCS and from the loop from GLD you could still see the motion of the sups in the MCS after they got ingested. It was friggin sweet to watch. I wonder what it would've looked like if there had been a time lapse of it all. One of the coolest things I've seen....

Anyways, the pattern the models are showing for us up here looks like complete shit, and not much rain. At this point I dont even care if we get storms, we just need some rain. Even with the active winter Minnesota had, east central MN got dryslotted with most of the winter storms which drastically cut down the amount of snow we received and with May being so dry, things are not good up here. The GFS does show some rain coming through early next week, but even still it doesnt look like much. I guess one positive is that the highs are only going to be 65-70 most days next week which should help keep the fire conditions from getting wildly out of control. Maybe its time to start chasing wild fires instead of storms for us since Minnesota is obviously not going to give us a storm season this year, and I'm sick of driving nearly all day for chases that yield low potential. Put a knife in it, storm season 2009 is a BUST!!

I may post some pics/vid from the chase on Monday, but that's a lot of work for some pics of a crappy storm.

Monday, June 1, 2009

6/1/09 Forecast/Update from the road

Heading down I35 here with Jacob T from F5 heading down towards Des Moines for now. Gonna stop off, grab some food, and look at data before making our next move. Right now anywhere south of I80 and west of I35 looks decent. Models are showing good instability but with the clouds over that area right now I think temps will stay a bit cooler, but that shouldnt be a big issue since I dont think the cap is going to be an issue today. Not gonna do a big forecast, but somewhere in southwest Iowa is our target, we'll narrow it down later. Hopefully I will have something more interesting to say or show next time I post.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chaselog 5/20/09 North Central, Nebraska

So, where to begin? Headed out with Andy Gabrielson of and First off, MAAAD props to Andy for how well he handled the backass hillbilly slick narrow mud "dirt roads" that the Nebraska DOT for whatever reason feels the need to call "roads." I know for a fact if I had been driving we would've ended up in a ditch atleast a couple dozen times. So, thanks Andy for handling those roads like champ (and doing the majority of the driving)!! Alright, left my house at 9:00 am to get down to Andy's place in southwest Minnesota. Got down there around 1:00 pm, jumped in his car, headed west on I90 towards Plankinton, SD. We dinked around for a while driving through some corn fields Twister style. Headed south towards O'Neil, NE where we saw some turkey neck towers starting to go up (again, props to Andy for seeing them through the haze). Nearly hit the only car in the south central part of SD on a dirt road on the indian reservation. The towers tried about 5 times before they actually broke the cap and got above 20,000 ft. We got on the storm closest to us around Atchison, Nebraska and got a rotating updraft that was on the northeast side of the storm. Thanks to Brad Nelson at it makes a little more sense about why the updraft was where it was. We watched the updraft for about 6 minutes, then headed east to try to reposition as the storm started to move. There must've been some boundary or stronger cap just to the east of us that killed every storm that hit it the entire night. Bailed on the first storm and headed south towards the O'Neil area as more storms were firing and we could see inflow nortches on the reflectivity. To make a very long and frustrating story short, thanks to the horrible road networks in north central Nebraska, we barely got any views of these storms. Twisting, winding, dead end dirt roads+hills=no view. We did get one quick view of a wall cloud that was near North Platte, NE that had some danglies under it but being so far away and hills in between there was no way we could tell what was happening. We continued to head towards the storm but it was getting dark and the storms were falling apart. Started heading home between 9:30 and 10:00. Headed towards Grand Island, NE in hope of finding some food but nothing worth eating was open, so we continued east on I80 towards Omaha hoping to find something good to eat. Nope, we kept going towards Sioux City, IA on I29 and finally gave in and got some McDonald's. Got back to Andy's around 5:00 am just as the sun started rising. I kept going on I90 to make it home, got home just before 10:00 am, then slept for 21 straight hours. All in all I'd say it was worth it. If we could've gotten just a little more moisture I'm sure we would've seen a tornado (or noodle as Andy would say). But we got some nice structure. Keep in mind this is the short version after we left the first storm. If you want to hear our adventures on the dirt roads in Nebraska, leave a comment. But I figure I better not get in to it since we have enough to write a fricken book. Stats: 1374 miles, 27 straight hours up, 25 of that in the car, saw the sunrise 2 days in a row, got ZERO sleep in between, no watch ever issued, but still some cool storms. Pics:

Turkey neck towers start going up:

Towers looking better:

Towers looking more crisp:

Rotating updraft:

Storm starts dying as they hit some sort of boundary and so does the updraft, all in less than 10 minutes:

Cropped picture of the wall cloud near North Platte, NE. View is from about 12 miles away and you can see the annoying hills we had to deal with.

Click here for a time lapse of the rotating updraft!!