Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thursday June 17th, 2010: Storm Chase Trip

Issued at 1:43 PM CDT, Saturday, June 19th, 2010
...Thursday, June 17th, 2010 ended up being a major severe weather and tornado outbreak across portions of Minnesota, as well as near-by states of North Dakota, Iowa, and Northwest Wisconsin... The forecast models did an amazing job the few days prior to this event with just the usual slight timing differences noted between the forecast models. Local National Weather Service Office's at Duluth, MN, Chanhassen, MN, and Grand Forks, ND also did a great job on Thursday in issuing timely warnings and watches.
Shawn and I targeted Central and Eastern Minnesota on Thursday. Our trip began shortly after 12:00 PM CDT Thursday as we left Duluth, Minnesota southbound on I35. Our initial target city was Brainerd, Minnesota...110.07 miles to our southwest. We arrived at Brainerd, MN around 2:30 PM CDT and I grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local Mc Donalds. The first tornadic supercells of the day were exploding toward the Alexandria, MN area out in the Western part of the state. We decided to drop south a little more to a city called Little Falls, MN which is 31.76 miles south of Brainerd, MN. The problem with those initial tornadic supercells was that they were lifting more north then east...This is somewhat unusual, because most tornadic supercells will veer to the right (or to the east), this wasn't the case on Thursday, as a result we missed out on those initial supercells and tornadoes.
We were sort of stuck near Little Falls, MN watching supercells and tornadoes pass by to our northwest while other supercells and tornadoes were beginning to explode to our south. We figured we would never have caught the stuff to our northwest, so we decided to intercept the supercells heading NE out of Central MN. We left Little Falls and traveled to Pierz MN, 13.33 miles to the east...Then from Pierz we went down to Milaca (37.31 miles), then to Mora which was an additional 21.46 miles. Prior to Milaca, MN, we did see a few supercells but the majority of them were producing very heavy rain and lightning with little if any hail and wind, no wall clouds were observed either.
The supercell that tracked northeast to Milaca, MN early Thursday Evening between 6:30PM-6:45PM CDT was the best storm we had of the day with a well developed wall cloud, but no tornado...However, this supercell had a confirmed report of a tornado 10 miles southwest of Milaca, MN per NWS Chanhassen warning statement.

Total mileage on this chase trip: 607.74 miles.

Counties covered: Carlton MN, Aitkin MN, Crow Wing MN, Morrison MN, Mille Lacs MN, Kanabec MN, and Pine MN.
The last picture of the day was shot as we were heading north on I35, a very nice rainbow was occurring off to our east. A perfect way to end a very nice day of chasing in Minnesota :)
Thanks for viewing my pics.