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2018-06-08 Reports: MT/ND/SD/WY/NE

Discussion in 'Target Area' started by Quincy Vagell, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Quincy Vagell

    Jun 16, 2015
    Likes Received:
    This was the much-hyped 5% tornado risk day over the Rapid City, SD area. I started the day in Pierre, SD and had originally wanted to target farther north, somewhere in the vicinity of southwestern Minnesota. I bailed on that idea, although several tornado warned storms ended up impacting far eastern North Dakota.

    Anyway, it was a fairly textbook event for the area, with a supercell developing over the Black Hills, later moving east/southeast. I started the active portion of the chase in Rapid City, but bailed on the storm fairly quickly, as initially discrete convection was firing to the east, in a much more volatile environment.

    I got to the Badlands around the time that the storm was really blowing up. At one point I had to dodge large hail. I cut it close, but with a fairly poor road network, it was either all in or just call off the chase. Fortunately, I did not encounter any hail larger than about an inch in diameter, but there was at least one report of very large hail (two inches) in the area.

    What initially looked like a bloated supercell was actually morphing into a convective system, generating substantial cool outflow. I bailed on this convection and rushed northwest, as my hope was to possibly catch something before sunset and get into position to chase Alberta the following day. The day after the next day I was originally targeting Saskatchewan, but I actually ended up back in South Dakota.

    Back to June 8th... I managed to make it all the way to southeastern Montana, where a pair of supercells were ongoing in Carter County. The setup produced a pronounced mammatus display and I stopped for a few photos.
    As luck would have it, what looked like a tornado chase in South Dakota ended up featuring a highly photogenic end to the chase day in Montana. I did not expect this, but I believe one should always expect the unexpected, especially while storm chasing... For my style of chasing, if storms I'm on are growing upscale and/or outflow dominant, most of the time I'm going to bail for more discrete activity, even if the move is conditional or risky.

    I captured the panoramic photo below as "dueling supercells." To clarify, since some asked, the two supercells are in the middle and right portion of the photo. The updraft and base of the left (westernmost) supercell is fairly visible in the center, while the second supercell to the right (east) is not as clear.
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