5/11/04 REPORTS: KS, NE, SD, ND, MN

We chased Kansas.. got some blowing dust... *cough* :roll: Oh yeah, we watched an anvil get orphaned! :( Looks like those way up north (ya know, those same areas that are now in the 30s) scored decent today. Reports?

Yep, chased Kansas too. Woweee !! :x

Took off work around 2pm, headed up from Amarillo to the Garden City area. Wouldn't you know it... my home county then goes up with a Tornado Warning !!! :evil: Nothing confirmed, so far, however.

Watched towers go up, go down, go up, go down, go up, the hell with it, we came home !!! :lol:

Maybe opt for Kansas/Oklahoma border tomorrow if wife allows me to go. Tooks the family today, oh what fun !!! :wink:

What in the hell happened to Kansas today ??? Why the Watch ???
17 hours, 900 miles.........................$80 or so in gas later.....I'm home. Sat on that boundary north of Aberdeen SD for most the late afternoon/early evening watching storm pop....cross the boundary..die...repeat about 10+ times. Finally got sick of it and headed west for the linear action getting underway. Got a "neat" shelf sw of Aberdeen and then saw one of the most freaky things at night I've ever seen. I left the "neat" shelf and headed east then south then east some more figuring I'd give it some distance and time to take on a nasty look. This never happened. At least not till after dark on my way home. Driving south I could see the lightning to the west but it appeared I'd beat the line to I-90 so I could go east and not mess with it. WRONG. One of the darkest meanest shelfs I've ever seen came out of no where. It was just simply big and mean looking and engulfing the crap out of me. I've never really experienced night that seemed darker then normal till that thing moved over..lol. It's look was much worse then it's bite however. It flew east and the precip held west longer then I had expected. So I pulled back on the highway and flew south thinking, hey I can still beat this. This was followed quickly by flying corn stock debris and brief zero visibility. Pretty cool I guess as you could look east and see the dust from the ground to the shelf and a massive thicker wall of dirt just to the north where I'd just come from. I'd guess 50mph winds was all though.

Also, experienced the sharpest boundary I've ever seen(earlier in the day). This beat the April 20, 2002 Lubbock boundary. I would imagine it went from mid-80s to lower 50s in...half a block(being literal). Driving north I first hit it and just could not believe how quick it got THAT cold. Everyone needs to experience boundaries like this. It's just really sort of amazing. If you've never seen one that sharp you probably don't believe me. I pulled over as I had crossed it north just south of the ND border, but had to leave because it was actually just too cold(as you don't sit and let the car run when gas is over 2 bucks a gallon). So I drove back south and held my hand out the window. It was cold enough that it was almost too cold to drive with ones hand out the window for very long. So, drove, waiting....waiting....BAM cold to warm like that(snapping fingers). What is craziest about it is how it was able to stay in one spot for that long without one or the other winning this battle. I don't know that chasing a "warmfront" like that is a great idea...as perhaps today showed. The cold temps were a bit of a worry, but I figured you couldn't beat a contrast like that. The setup felt good heading up there but once I crossed that boundary that feeling in the back of ones mind showed up. Just wondered how this was going to work with such cold air being so close to the updraft bases. It don't work. I kept looking at this boundary on radar and trying to imagine ways for this to work and which part would be best suited. I honestly don't see how it could of worked. Anyone have some examples where a boundary went from upper 80s to mid 30s in 60 miles and had sups on it? Also, the only time you could get into east winds you'd have to be well into the cold air. The warm air was not backed at all. Well anyway, almost 3 am............

(Looks like Tony and I started report threads within minutes of each other, I deleted mine and moved this report here)

I'll eventually post a more detailed log with photos and video, but for now at the hotel here in Watertown, SD the short version is all I have the energy for:

Left Charleston, WV at 2PM EDT Monday, overnighted in Beloit, WI, crossed the SD border at 2:30PM CST Tues. Went west to around 50 miles past Mitchell, then headed north to Aberdeen. Recorded 45MPH S gust near Mitchell at a rest stop, got video of some blowing dust/high wind/extreme-leaning 18-wheelers on I-90.

Didn't see storms until dusk. Main problem was the extreme distance I had to travel (1300 miles to the target). Just didn't have enough time to get where I wanted early enough. No tornadoes or hail, but got a nice shelf cloud/dust cloud south of Aberdeen and some continuous lightning video near Redfield. Threat Net performed flawlessly and was indispensable!

Highlight of the trip was playing around in the low/triple point/air masses around Aberdeen. Very sharp warm front, had my arm out the window driving north, went from 80F to about 55F in less than 100 feet! I drove back and forth across the boundary several times, what an experience to FEEL a front that distinctly! Also some interesting cloud transitions at the frontal boundaries and into the core of the low.

Will try to make it to Kansas tomorrow.
After a grueling day and night of driving, I finally have a moment to post yesterday's events.

Arrived Pierre, SD about the time of the Tornado Watch issuance and headed north toward cell to the SW of Mobridge. Met up with Shawn Cable and Brian Karstens of KELO TV out of Sioux Falls and proceeded to watch the line fill into a very dissapointing squall line.

A highlight (if it can be called as such) was watching the storms to the SW of Aberdeen interact with the sinking outflow boundry. We had hopes of the line breaking apart and perhaps riding the boundary - but no luck. We witnessed a beautiful inflow band/beaver tail to our immediate North that looked as if it was pulling in moisture right off the ground. For a while, the storms appeared striated, but we could only joke that we were watching a "striated-appearing" gust front which produced the typical inflow undercutting gusts. Thankfully, no bogus funnel/tornado reports as was the case in chases on the previous days.

I was also concerned about the dryline in NW KS/SW NE and was regretting the decision to make the trip to play the low and warm front. As it turned out, it either place was insignificant. Thanks to Brian and Shawn - enjoyed the chase guys!

Highlight of the trip was playing around in the low/triple point/air masses around Aberdeen. Very sharp warm front, had my arm out the window driving north, went from 80F to about 55F in less than 100 feet!

Thanks Dan! I was hoping someone was there to measure that. What do you drive? I was north of Aberdeen for about 2 hours or so, then ne of, then w of, then sw of. Did you see that late night shelf south of Redfield? I was near Virgil I think around 9:30. That thing just looked so cool and low to the ground.
Full report from 5/11 in SD with video, digital photos and video captures is here:


Mike, I drive a green Ford Ranger pickup with my web site wvlightning.com lettered on the side doors and tailgate. I actually didn't see any other chasers out there the entire day. I was stopped for a while on the main north-south road south of Aberdeen (Rt. 14, maybe?) I'm sure we passed each other a few times and didn't know it at the time.

Unfortunately I didn't actually have any instrumentation to measure the temps, I just estimated the 80F/ 55F based on my senses and the obs N and S of the boundary. It was definately at least a 25 degree change though, fun to cross back and forth. I wish now I had stopped, got out and walked back and forth across it - now that would have been an experience!