Storm Chasing 6-26 NE MN: The Tale of Two Chases

The setup consisted of very unstable air pooling in the Red River Valley.  The wind shear wasn’t very promising but CAPE values were around 2-3K as well as plenty of low level moisture resulting in low LCL and LFC’s.  Given the ambient shear wasn’t ideal for tornadic supercells I was a little sketchy on chasing however there was a warm front just to the east of Grand Forks.  I figured if the storms could interact with this boundary I may have a brief shot of seeing a tornado.  The first storm formed near Grafton, ND and appeared to be right along the warm front.  The second storm formed just northeast of Grand Forks, perhaps along the warm front, but would eventually move over it.  I go on to describe some of the highlights of the otherwise busty (no tornadoes) chase.

The first chase of the day was after a storm that formed near Grafton, ND and produced a brief tornado there along with 100mph winds near the airport.  I figured this would be the only show so I didn’t bring my laptop and radar, just camera.  I left from Grand Forks and cut it off near Warren, MN where there was some lowerings that looked promising from a distance but the closer I got to the storm the less excited I became.  The storm had started gusting out but I did get to capture some “shelf-0-genesis” that displayed interesting cloud motions.  Another cell eventually formed but the ambient air had already been contaminated with the first storms outflow and really had no chance of doing anything tornadic.  I ended up heading home thinking the day was over.

Here is a video of my so called shelf-o-genesis. The very moist air at the surface made it easier to observe the process that day.

The second storm developed just to the northeast of Grand Forks and I ran out the door as soon as the first tiny echoes showed up on the radar. I wanted to be sure I was in place for any possible brief tornadoes. When I arrived on the storm it already had began to gust out like the days earlier storms. I saw what I thought was a brief wall cloud as I approached but cannot verify that. Eventually I left the storm as darkness was coming and I figured the storm would die off the further east it got. I did capture some interesting cloud motions around a broad area of low level rotation with a cone shaped object in the middle that appeared rather low to the ground :). I thought I was in luck but no dice. Still worth the chase given the close proximity to Grand Forks.

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One Response to “Storm Chasing 6-26 NE MN: The Tale of Two Chases”

  1. Buck Fifty says:

    I didn’t know you had a Ben Collin blog.

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