High Plains Drifter

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June 27, 2008

June Chase Trip 2008: Day 9 Summary — Northern & Central South Dakota

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Chase Trip 2008,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 9:24 am

This was the last day of the chase trip since a strong cold was pushing through the length of the Great Plains shutting off severe weather over the northern plains until next week sometime.  Will post a full account later on today on the road with some images.  It was a fun chase that took us northeast to the Dupree and Eagle Butte area northwest of Pierre, SD. 

EDIT (July 1 at 9:30pm):  The more detailed account is below, including 8 photos from this chase.  -Mike U  

June 26, 2008 — Northern/Central South Dakota Severe Storms and brief "whatever"-nado

Vince and I abandoned Sturgis area once it became apparent that weneeded to get north with the first significant storm developing betweenBison and Buffalo. We were quite aways away, but given extrapolation ofour position and the storm’s track, we would be in position of at leastsomething interesting once we approached Dupree. When we got closer tothe storm, another small supercell updraft formed to the immediate westwith a razor-sharp anvil and rock-hard convection. Soon, an interestingblocky wall cloud formed beneath its base looking toward Meadow, SDfrom a location about 7 miles north of US212 along S73. As this washappening, explosive convective development was occurring to the east.These would be almost impossible to intercept given Lake Oahedownstream. Our storm finally got some beef to it and it began to rollsoutheast from Isabel to Eagle Butte. It certainly looked slightlyoutflow dominant from a distance as it approached, but there was anoticeable kink in the gust front with an embedded meso in theresomewhere northh of Lantry. We drove east on US212 toward Eagle Butteand we observed what we will just call for now a "vortex of debatablename" as loose and dried up vegetative debris from a farm field wasrotating nicely in a tall column just off to our northeast. If you wereto look at this feature from a distance, I would imagine you would beable to see a nice "kink" in the shelf cloud. There was an inflow notchinto this area where our vortex occurred and it was occurring very nearrenewable updraft growth atop the shelf. We weren’t in the best position in the worldwatching this track from our northeast to immediate east to southeastas it crossed US212 in front of us less than a mile east of theUS212/63 junction (the western one east of Eagle Butte).

Atany rate, there certainly was an interesting notch in this gust frontwhere the vortex occurred. And it was this that made me think it was aweak tornado, thus was what I reported on SpotterNetwork. It was neverreally all that violent, but a rear northerly inflow jet (for lack of abetter description) blasted Vince’s car with all sorts of dried upweeds and other vegetative debris… and it was very focused too, withthis stuff blowing across the highway over about a 10-20 yard distance.You could see little fingers of condensation, some of which resemblingwhispy funnels, but who knows what to really call them. How about"thingies"? Or "danglies"? Yeah, those. The vortex resembled some sortof multi-vortex, but quite weak, mess in the dust as it continued tomarch south in the somewhat dusty fields just south of the highwayjunction.

The other excitement of the chase was after dark whenwe observed and photographed a spectacular Cb lightning display to ournortheast, the tail-end storm of the central SD complex — completewith a star-filled sky surrounding the storm. An amazing sight indeed.What a fun chase to end our trip!   Vince does have dash mountvideo of the entire sequence, and after several reviews of the video,we just came to the final conclusion of calling it a "vortex of unknownname". :-)



1 Comment »

  1. Hey, I was wondering if you have a picture of the tornado you saw today? I am currently living in Wall and was out chasing yesterday, but I was in southern SD since I had to go to Rapid City in the morning. It looks like you had a good last day of chasing for the trip.

    Comment by Ryan — June 27, 2008 @ 9:43 am

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