05/09/04 REPORTS: MI, WI, MN, NE, SD (MIDWEST)

Chased a couple of the pathetic pulse severe storms in MI (Over on the east side of the state)...Not even worth my time really. As with the others who chased in MI, the most I seen was very heavy rain and good CG's, didn't even see pea sized hail from the storms that were warned for hail up to "one inch in diameter"...

Would have been nice to be in the MN area earlier today, looks like you guys got some good stuff. Heck, I would even settle for that large MCS right about now...

Robert
 
I didn't think much about today since the risk was in Wisconsin. I got out of work around 7 and saw a HUGE storm to my south. So I raced home to eat dinner, get changed, and get my gear.

I started driving south when I heard over NWR of the blue box for NE Illinois. Soon a warning for Cook and Will county came over the air. Reports indicated quarter sized hail and 70 MPH winds.

I encountered some light rain and some great lightning. I got video on the lightning and shots too. I would've gone further but gas situation was bad and the storms were moving too fast for me to intercept at that time.

Hopefully tomorrow'll be better.
 
I'll just say "ditto" for the Michigan reports today. Played the south/southeast part of the state. Only saw rain and some decent CC/CG activity. As Rob said, it'll be interesting to see if ANY of these warnings verify. Better luck tomorrow hopefully.

I hope those of you in NE/MN fared better!
 
I was on the Union County, SD beast ... will post pics from its initiation (literally from a little poof in the sky) - all the way up to full tornado warning later. I made it up to the area and noticed the CU line on satellite so decided that was the place to be - the cumulus had just started expanding and trying to allow updrafts when I got there, but one broke the cap within about 30 minutes of my arrival, which was convenient. Lucked out more than anything -

Got some golfball size hail in the core east of Vermillion - it just hailed forever ... Can't confirm any on the ground, though at one point some impressive scud formed a column that was attaching itself to the most violent rotation ... thought sure it would have a big tube at that point ... but it still ended up being one of the most beautiful storms I've seen in a couple years (the colors were something else - aqua and blue-greens against a red setting sun) ... it was a bit confusing to chase (not hard, but had to think about it) ... it sat dead over the same spot (I didn't move more than fifteen miles the whole time I chased it) ... and when I DID move, I had to chase it WEST ... the meso was building backwards against the wind - gotta love that. I can confirm more mesos on this storm that were capable of producing a touchdown after the tor-warning expired on it, but couldn't get through to the local weather office up there. Will have the pics up sometime today.
 
That shelf was VERY cool - I tried my dangdest to get lightning pics twice. Stopped on an overpass north of Sioux City and then beside the river in Sioux City ... but could not get any good shots. After seeing your pics I wish I would have waited in S. City at least another 30 minutes ... when I left, that shelf had started its approach. One more observation - Sioux City is like a death trap these days. There are walls of doom (what I call 'em) ... construction barriers on either side of the lane on I-29 that are just downright scary. Plus I witnessed a road rage incident there last night with some teenage boys who wouldn't let this van stop or get out of the way - came SO close to an accident there as they were screwing around.

As an addendum - I had thought about spending the night up there but decided to come on home, which put me down here by around 2:00 a.m. or so. Could see lightning along the line all the way down I-29. So I got home - got in bed - and then a couple hours later it hit St. Joe with some kind of ferocity. Could not sleep through it (plus the power was knocked out and so I could hear everything from that storm like it was magnified ten times since I didn't have AC or a fan.) Power was out for an hour and it POURED. It was one of those lightning shows that was strobing so intense that you'd be blind if you looked at the sky - so cool -
 
I'm in a motel lobby in Cheyenne, Wyoming tonight, and I am WAY behind on chase reports, imagery etc. Trying to catch up tonight.

Here's my blog where I'll post updates as I can.

Here's my report for our chase on Sunday, May 9:

North, north, north. We pressed further toward the
arctic circle to escape the strong low level capping
inversion and locate ourselves beneath stronger upper
level flow. In addition, the warm front lifted into
southern and central Minnesota and a cold front swept
down from the northwest.

Eric Nguyen, Scott Currens, Scott Eubanks, and I
started the day in Omaha and drove to Sioux Falls,
South Dakota where we met two chasers from Indiana,
David and a friend of his whose name I can't recall.
We noted a midlevel disturbance moving into the region
from the west, and that surface winds in our region
were not backing as we had hoped east of the surface
trough. Low level shear was poor, but convergence
from strong southerly winds to our south enhanced
cumulus development back south near Vermillion.

We headed back down I-29 and watched the
southwesternmost tower develop a backsheared anvil and
an impressive flanking line. We intercepted the
storm, just before it earned the first severe warning,
as we crossed Missouri River on the new bridge south
of Vermillion. At the time, the stormbase was very
elevated and we observed only large rain and gusty
winds. Once across the river, we stopped to
photograph the storm several time, but continued west
to position for Monday's storm. Of course, as soon as
we were thirty or forty miles away, using our wide
angle lenses to photograph the flared crown and
flanking line, the first tornado warning appeared for
the storm over Vermillion, stationary and impressive
on radar. However, storms west of our position close
to O'Neil interested us as well. Taking into account
the thirty degree dewpoint depression and southwest
surface flow, we decided to press on with the
impressive storm in our rearview mirrors.

Closing in on storms near O'Neil, we observed
spectacular 'god light' as the sunset beamed around a
very narrow updraft with inflow bands on either side.
Red and crimson rain-refracted sunlight south of this
feature made for a breathtaking show as we followed
State Road 20.

Apparently the disturbance aloft ignited the entire
cold front. A line of convection stretched from
Minnesota through southwest Nebraska. Like most
chasers we're looking forward to the next several days
as the upper level system translates across the
central US and sends more timely shortwaves over the
juiced boundary layer.
 
Originally posted by Amos Magliocco
we met two chasers from Indiana,
David and a friend of his whose name I can't recall.

Funny - I met these guys later in Sioux Falls ... David Diehl I think he said his name was - and I can't remember the other guy's name either (with a beard) ... surprised we didn't cross paths Amos - wish that storm could have become rooted closer to the surface ... the more I think about it, the more frustrating it is though - good luck out there over the next few - have a blast -
 
Location: Southeast MI, Northwest OH
Chasers: Mike Kruze, Geoff Fink, John Becic
Mileage: 180

With classes ending last week at Purdue, I went home to Dearborn, MI for the weekend. I had been anticipating a chance to see some decent storms, since the area had experienced some severe weather in the days before and the pattern basically hadn't changed at all. The warm front had moved through to the north earlier Sunday morning, and abundant sunshine was bringing a hint of summer to the frigid state of Michigan. By mid-afternoon, temps were around 80 degrees and dewpoints in the low to mid 60's. Unfortunately, so-so speed shear and nonexistant directional shear in the low levels suggested that anything that did fire would probably only be marginally severe at best. The SPC mentioned that large hail and damaging winds as the primary threats (25%) but they also included the area in a 2% tornado risk.

I would have liked to chase earlier in the day but prior commitments kept me busy until the evening. I left Dearborn shortly before 8:00 PM to get a ride with Geoff and John in Ann Arbor. Storms had begun firing in southern MI after 4:00, and the first severe thunderstorm warning had been issued at 5:03 for Livingston County. There had been marginally-severe storms across southern MI throughout the early evening. By the time we left Ann Arbor around 9:00, the individual cells were evolving into a MCS to the north. To the south and west, there was a better-defined line of cells. None of them had warnings, however. With the goal of the evening being lightning photography and maybe seieng some marginally severe hail, we decided to head SW. We took US-12 to M-52, and proceeded south to the Ohio border. We passed through some pea-sized hail mixed in with heavy rain, but nothing terribly exciting.

At 10:30, our nowcaster, Kevin Peters, alerted us to a strong cell in extreme NE IN (Steuben Co.), moving east. It appeared to be the strongest cell nearby at the time so we attempted to intercept it. We proceeded a few more miles south into Ohio (Fulton Co.) and parked alongside a county road just north of US-20. We camped out there while watching the cell approach. Lightning wasn't that frequent but there were some gorgeous CGs tinted red by distance. John took video (not downloaded off the camera yet) while Geoff and I attempted to take stills of the lightning. Around 11:30 the cell's outflow boundary came rolling through along with some interesting scud clouds and a possible "roll cloud." We allowed the storm to overtake us, observing heavy rain, pea-sized hail, and winds no stronger than 25 MPH. On radar, the cell was becoming linear and weakening and heading for Toledo, so we decided to call it a day.

None of the cells we saw during the evening were severe, but they were interesting nonetheless, especially the cell in Fulton Co OH.

Pictures are posted at
http://kruze.dyndns.org/pics/thumbnails.php?album=90
 
Mike, you should've waved!! Myself and Pat Clouse must have passed you as we were heading eastbound on US-12 from M-52 around the same time you headed west. We called it a night at that point.

Take it easy!
 
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