07/11/04 REPORTS: Northern Plains, Canada

Larry J. Kosch

Starting a REPORTS thread at the request of our friendly storm chaser in Canada, Jared Mysko. He has a storm report for Edmonton, that includes piles and piles of HAIL. :shock: Put your first-hand storm chase reports here. Thanks.

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I chased lightning in central and northern West Virginia literally all night last night, leaving at 11PM and arriving home at 6AM. First all-night WV chase in a couple years. Photogenic lightning abounded all night as cells fired and refired as upper support kicked in and moved over.

Despite all this, I came away with zero photos or video. Main problem was the lack of any real storm organization, towers would go up, spit out 5 or six nice bolts in 10 minutes, then die - before I could get cameras set up. The process would repeat again and again in another spot within 15 miles, but in all cases I could not get to each cell in time before the lightning stopped. I finally gave up at dawn with storms still ongoing.

Some nights like these have turned out great, which is why I put myself through the trouble.
 
I seen cloud movment in this storm i never seen before.everyone here
has seen the califlower aperence to severe storms i think.Well this storm
was greenish black,spinning,swirling,and doing all sorts of wild movment.
I shot vidio and stills of this storm.My location west of the city center
airport was out of the major hail swath but we did receave grape size hail.
West Edmonton mall was shalacked when the rain an hail flooded the
drains an pipes.Water gushed out of the roof and flooded stores.Again
two tornadoes outside the city,one north at the town of Morinville and
east of the city near Andrew.Looking at the more classic set up of storms
forming of the foothills and moving east later this week.
 
Back now from my galavanting across SE SD. After two hours of chasing rain, things finally picked up in Brookings county and I sat for about a half hour monitoring a cell that turned into a pretty nice meso - attempting at a wall cloud now and then. Then as I figured out the whole thing was turning my way, I hightailed it out of there. Skirted along the south side - heard reports of golfball size hail in Brookings on the radio but confirmed a little less than dime size at my house in Brookings. Then as I got south of Volga, I saw the strangest thing. At about 9:35, there appeared to be smoke as it was drifting a little, but then after watching, I saw it rotating. I figured...well, it must be the winds are catching the smoke from the fire and making it appear to be a tornado. Called the police and tried to confirm a fire, but there was none known at that time. It was "on the ground" for 3-5 minutes then disappated. I'm not sure if it was a tornado or not. Would like your opinions...(no pictures available)...I know that would help a lot. Then finally came back to find 3-4 inches on some parts of 6th St (Hwy. 14) on the west side of Brookings.
 
Gustano??

Ed,

Thanks for the storm coverage. What you probably saw was a gustado. The storm you were watching was probably outflow dominant and the cool downdrafts hitting the ground caused the brief spin-ups. Did you see a funnel in the clouds above?? At least you were "storm chaser" smart to evade a possible run-in with the "bear cage" when you recognized the storm's movement towards you. Sounds like you had a good chase with the hail reports and all.

p.s. If this was a report on Monday's night storm near Brookings, SD, it should be in the 07/12/04 REPORTS thread which was just posted now.

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I had the opportunity to see the storm which struck Edmonton on that afternoon in July 11. These times are as I remember them - I had never seen a thunderstorm develop so FAST. It was truly a WILD one at that, too.

1:45 pm - I noticed that the clouds over my condo were unusually black and I knew something just wasn't right with the weather. So I went out outside with an umbrella and binoculars and walked out to the river valley, where I can get a great view to the south and west.

2:00 pm - I only saw what looked like a mass of ordinary showers, although the clouds were still quite dark directly overhead. But by 2:45 pm, that mass of showers had become a full-fledged thunderstorm with thunder and a few CGs. Scud clouds were moving at a rate I had never seen in years. Quite a bit were also being pulled into the main base at incredible speeds as well. It was already starting to rain, but not very heavily yet.

3:00 pm - I saw what I thought for a second was a wall cloud, but was a rapidly expanding gust front. The colors were awesome - the gust front had an orangey tint to it, while the main rain/hail core was already taking on an evil greenish tinge. The storm kept right on expanding over the south side of Edmonton, as I continued to watch the whole thing. Lightning was already becoming more frequent, accompanied often by loud thunder. The rain was still falling on and off as I watched the clouds. At one point, I saw distinct rotation among the scud clouds right at the base, but there was no mesocyclone nor true wall cloud apparent. To the southeast, I saw what looked like a fat inflow band and a vaulted ceiling. The inflow was sucking in clouds at an incredible speed, too. I could not tell if there was a meso or a wall cloud to the east, because the view was mostly blocked by highrises.

3:30 pm - the rain began to get much heavier, and the clouds to the west were now truly black. I had to get home, and luckily the hail got started after I got home. It just poured and poured and hail kept coming down for almost an hour. In downtown Edmonton, where I was, the hail never got any larger than just under dime-sized, but it did pile up a bit on my balcony. However, hail up to the size of golf balls - and according to some eyewitnesses, even baseball-sized hail were reported in the south side.

I decided to go south of the river to the University of Alberta area shortly after the storm had passed. I noticed drifts of hail up to 2 feet! They looked just like snowdrifts. Quite a few trees lost some leaves, but weren't completely stripped, though. Mammatus clouds were quite extensive as the storm moved away.

West Edmonton Mall got flooded and the entire mall had to be evacuated quickly, as holes were created in the rooof, causing water to come rushing in like waterfalls. Roadways and underpasses were so flooded that vehicles became instant submarines. It is estimated that up to 4"-5" of rain fell in some places, I think - an incredible amount.

I had checked the doppler radar online, but the storm which hit Edmonton was difficult for me to tell if it really was a supercell or not, because neither the shape nor hook was readily apparent. (A few days before, I did actually see a distinct supercell radar signature just west of Edson, about 200 km, or 124 miles west of Edmonton) I couldn't see any overshooting cap on satellite photos, either. But the storm was not an isolated one, as it was in a multi-cell cluster of thunderstorms. Funnels were sighted in that storm. And a couple of tornadoes were sighted, as I heard on the news. Although I did see rotation, I saw no funnels myself.
 
After seeing the pictures, I am surprised that no one was killed by flooding. At least we never heard of any fatalities on our news stations.

Jared
 
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