10/03/06 REPORTS:MN/WI

Kind of a *semi*bust today. Waited around MKT all afternoon. Between the thick mid level clouds moving in at just the wrong time and a serious lack of strong surface convergence, yet another disappointment for 2006 in terms of a fairly good set up. Elevated storms finally fired after dark to our south and west yielding a decent light show and some small hail on the way home.

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Not Much To Write Home About...

A setup was in place for extremely severe storms with a good shot of tornadoes over extreme SE Minnesota, SW Wisconsin, NW Illinois, and NE Iowa on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 - I decided to make a run for it. I left St Louis at about 11 AM and blasted north (initially targeting the state corners of IA, IL, WI, and MN) as fast as I can legally and made it to Rockford, IL by 3 PM and Madison, WI by 4 PM.

By 5:30 PM I reached Lacrosse, WI and waited as I was near and ahead of the surface warm front (a barely noticeable line of cu was near this boundary). Shear and instability were excellent, with a developing low to the west, and I sat in sunshine under a backed easterly wind. Unfortunately, by about 7 to 7:30 PM, no storms fired along the warm front, as a capping inversion held firmly. Storms did fire much farther north, but were elevated type severe storms.

To my dismay, I headed back south after 7:30 PM and in twilight. I was back in St Louis by 1:30 AM after a round-trip chase distance of 883.2 miles - ouch. Storms finally did get going north of my original "target" area but not until around midnight CDT. This was a pinful bust for me and I am sure several other chasers. Making the decision to stay home because of the cap would have been very wise here indeed.

Chase map is below...

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I too had a fun bust yesterday. From Blair to Owatonna(north of Albert Lea) and back for another 698 mile waste. The highlight of the chase was being tailed by a couple chasers at Owatonna. I get to the super 8 there and notice two guys in a car. At first they weren't paying any attention to me, then next thing I know they are looking every time I look up from the laptop.

After 30 minutes or so there I decide to leave and head west to look at the sky, since wifi data was getting less and less helpful thanks to the cloud cover. As soon as I pull out they whip out behind me onto the frontage road. I was like, great I'm going to be followed now. They make sure to stay right with me on the highway heading west. A few miles west of town I turn north, but as soon as I make the turn I pull over onto the shoulder. Well sure enough, they made the turn right behind me. They go around and drive north and I think maybe they aren't going to follow me. Then about a 1/4 mile down the road they stop and pull of in some driveway or road facing east. So I sit there for a couple minutes wondering why the hell they don't just come over and say "hey, what's going on" if they had to follow me. Nothing was going on and they apparently just had data at the super 8 and that too made me wonder. And most importantly, the way I'm doing this year, why on Earth would anyone follow me! I kept thinking to myself, you really don't want to follow me.

Since they wanted to do it this way without just stopping and saying hello or something, I said fine, I'll play. Hell nothing was going on anyway. I decide to flip back around and get back on the highway and head back east from where I came. I thought surely they won't keep up this blatantly obvious following. Well while I'm pulling off the shoulder and flipping aruond they back out! I had a 1/4 mile head start on them and hammer it down heading east. At the next mile grid I turn south very fast and do about 80 down that gravel road(it was a good gravel road). If they wanted to follow me ariound, never saying hi, and after just having data at the super 8, with nothing going on....well they were going to have to work for it. Before I made that turn south I saw some head lights behind me, but think that was the car coming east I turned onto the highway ahead of and that they must have been right behind it. While going south I couldn't see anything behind me but a ton of dust in the air. So, I get to the next grid and do the same thing to the east for a mile. I then turn back north on the next one and stop. I wait for the dust to settle and they are nowhere in sight, lol.

That was some good fun there. I bet they got to the traffic I was catching up to before making the turn south and were like, what the hell. Other than the one time someone asked me if they could follow, this was the only time I've had this happen. Whoever you are, just stop and say hello next time. It is that easy. And thanks for the fun, it actually helped the bust.

What is with the 4 way stops in that city? I get off the interstate to turn west/left and there is a busy 4 lane highway/street with no stop lights. The exit ramp was 2 lanes as well. I stop and look left at 2 lanes of people stopped and right at 2 lanes of people stopped, and then the cars coming from some street infront of me. All this traffic and just some 4 way stop signs. I was like, oh yeah this looks like fun. I've never seen anything like that. They surely have to have lots of accidents there, 8 people trying to see what each other are doing at the same time, and new ones replacing them everytime one moves through. It was kind of like, close your eyes and go. I feel like a pretty good driver that can avoid accidents, but did not feel that way trying to get through that. It did not look like a temporary thing either, like there was construction or something. Anyway, that is the only interesting stuff I could come up with from this bust.
 
Did the Mod Risk Bust but sure as the sun comes up in the east, the storms fired after dark. My target was Owatonna as well then to head off towards the southwest and sit in the -9 Li with 3000+ Jkg Cape and wait for something to trigger the storms.

After chasing pretty much anything that went up, I started to go home and a tower went up behind me near Mankato. I turned around and it was putting out some lightning and I thought here we go, game on. As soon as I got close to the tower, it died.

Turned around and drove from Mankato back to I35 to head home, I got up to Hwy 19 and then another mean looking cell on radar fired up to the west. I headed west, it died. I then said funk this and went home and about a mile from home I almost drove off the road as the air raid siren fired up next to me and I had my window down and it scared the hell out of me. Sure enough, a severe storm for Dakota County.

It was in the metro so it was impossible to follow and it was heading into the no chaser zone black hole of hills and trees (western Wisconsin). I turned around again to head back home and another cell fired up just to the south west. I drove down to intercept it and... got cored.

Problem was, it was so dark, that it was more like driving through hurricane Rita in Port Arthur at the height of the storm with stuff flying all over the place and hitting the truck. That lasted for about 15 minutes as I followed the storm through New Market and Elko. Time to replace another windsheild.

Sorry to hear about your chaser wannabe following you Mike, I know how that is and it sucks since it happened a couple of weeks ago on the South Dakota storms. You don't know who it is or what they want. They could be chasers or they could be some psycho meth heads thinking your an under cover cop. If they would have just pulled up next to you and said Hi, it would have been a whole different story.

It was pretty fun for an October chase because we were tweaking the new chase game of SwiftWX tag. Since you can pretty much track someone down using SwiftWX when they are reporting their GPS position, I tracked down Bill Doms. Next season, several of us are planning on seeing who can tag as many other chasers or just making someone IT and they have to tag someone else to not be it. Just another way to pass the time while waiting for the cap to break.

Other then seeing Bill out there, I only saw another chaser from Iowa with a green mini van who was parked so far off the road that I thought it was a farmer until I saw the plates. LOL.
 
Just busted like the rest of you. Was originally in St. James and moved to within 15 miles of Mankato. Mid-level clouds came in right during peak heating, certainly not helping matters. Took a look at the RUC and saw that the area was going to be under some subsidence for the next couple hours (until about 00-01z). As I was heading back to St. James there was an attempt at convection but it didn't seem to get very close to establishing itself. The model forecasted rapid reduction of inhibition was way to optimistic, should have called it there. On the way home I saw some of the lightning from the storms firing further north and of course watched the radar on that monstrosity in Wisconsin.
 
I'll keep mine short and sweet since its pretty much the same as everyone else. Started out getting data in Blue Earth early afternoon and headed a little bit north to the Mankato area. Figured I would be waiting a while so I drove around in a circle basically from Madelia to New Ulm to Nicollet to Mankato and by then it was the start of dusk and I finally see a small tower going up just SSW of Mankato(same one everyone else here saw) Intercepted it right at dusk near Vernon Center(I believe) and had a decent lightning show but it raced off to the ENE and never fully strenthened anyway. Made the drive back home after that calling this bust # 3 for the year.
 
Since I could not make it out west I just waited till the evening to sit up on my roof again and take a few nice lightining photos.

Hope you like them

Grand Rapids, MI

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