August 5, 2006 Colfax ND Supercell

When I left I hoped somehow se SD would work out so I could keep from having a real long drive back home. Having really gotten no sleep I knew a drive back from ND would really be tough. Well things didn't work out that way. The cloud cover in SD was killing temps. The convective temps in this area were high to begin with, cover the area with much of any clouds all day and your chance at surface based convection goes to hell fast. In talking with Steve Peterson much of the day we both agreed we'd probably have to be north of this area or south back in NE. The problem with NE was the temp would be near 100 with dew points in the 60s if you were lucky. The other problem down there was lack of mid-level flow. Up north closer to and in ND the 700mb temps started to drop off pretty quick and there was more cooling coming in aloft. There was also a nice jet max coming around the base of the trough.

My last wifi stop was in Watertown SD. I sat there for 30-60 minutes before having to move due to boredom. This can drive a chaser up the wall if they are in a target too early with nothing to do. Before I left I could see what looked like a new enhanced area of cu on the SD/ND border. Shortly after this an MD was issued for central SD into NE. I leave there and head north a few miles and stop on a country road. From there I couldn't see a whole hell of a lot other than some very high based small towers. I could not see this area to the nw with my eyes, but since I had xm running I figured I could wait for it to move to me. Getting bored again I drift north some more. While doing this a few small blips are popping up in western MN into se ND west of Fargo. They were very small and I figured they could just be the same as the excessively high based thing I saw before. It seems many times if the first returns are absurdly tiny that they will never grow into much(with their bases aoa 10,000 feet lol). I really thought that was the case with these since I still had no visual on them and they were so small. I just about pull off again near Sisseton SD when I see a real tower well to the nw. I pass the exit and drive towards it. It became quite clear this was real convection, not this tiny high based stuff in the area. The above image is this tower as I'm getting closer to the ND border on I-29. What was nice about this was that I couldn't see a thing south of it. The tower is towards the left side of the image(obviously), you can see the anvil being sheared east of it. There wasn't much to the anvil yet, but this would change soon. I was glad it was still struggling since I wasn't quite there yet. This would be the same return I could see on xm to the west of Fargo.

I'm now heading west off of I-29 at the Whapeton exit. This very intense plume goes up, marking its entry into the severe world. It was not severe warned yet, but seeing this I knew it soon would be, which it was. I believe the bottom of this tower is actually in to the right a bit under those mid-level clouds, showing just how much it is spreading horizontally as it goes up. Those other towers to the left did not look like they were extending up very far.

Not long after it was severe warned it became tornado warned. Notice it already has a very large, curling rfd. I'm at the intersection of 18 and 27 in Richland Co. ND.

This is the same time as the above image but looking to the right/east. Notice it had a couple beavertails at this point. As far as tornadoes go, this storm just seemd much too elongated, but things can and do change.

I'm in the same spot for the next few images as a strong rfd plows to the ese.

Time to go east.

Going east towards Colfax ND now. It's rapidly turning into quite the site.

Still going east. It can be a bit hard to get a level horizon while driving(I probably had to level this in PS). It was really trying to get nice and round, but as soon as it would it would change back into a more linear nature.

Looking west. Right now this storm is forming a hook on radar. This will continue to hook for a few frames and then an area to the west takes over and too forms a hook. You can see the base out there and kind of tell where this gust front/rfd detaches from it.

Looking back to the north as it approaches, fairly rapidly now.

The shape and texture to the clouds above the base at this time were very cool looking.

I could see an area notching in pretty hard and thought it might stand a chance at producing soon. So I decide to get right under that clear slot(hoping for maybe some wind and hail) and watch the base to the north of it.

It had a good deal of motion in it but no one area could continue cutting around. I'm just a mile or so west of Colfax now and encounter up to severe winds with no hail. Right after this the eastern area here dies a quick death east of I-29.

I head south as the base back to the west was somewhat interesting. Note the clouds above me here. They are on the gust front and outflow from the storm that is vanishing east on/east of I-29. This new development is largely behind that.

Right now this new area west of the old one is forming a hook on radar. The base of it and this lowering are now kind of catching that outflow from the first one.

I almost continued chasing it but it just looked bad now(note the very short updraft now). I also had a very long drive ahead of me on very little sleep. I let it go here and make the drive home. I was surprised I did not get more tired than I did. I made it home around 2 a.m.