Monday, May 30, 2011

Elbow Lake/Wendell MN. 5/30/2011

"Oh why the hell not..."

That's what I said to myself this afternoon as I quickly assembled my chase apparatus in response to a "Moderate" Risk of severe weather over a fair portion of west central MN. the western Dakotas, and Nebraska.

The thinking was, as I sat in my driveway pondering the setup, that this weekend I celebrated my 50th year of life. Had a wonderful time with family and friends, and had celebrated in grandiose fashion as anyone turning the age of fifty should.

So this could be the icing on the proverbial cake? Could the final day of my birthday weekend hold a successful chase in the cards? Something I could share with the grand kids when I turn 90?


OK. to be fair the setup was iffy right from the start. That tornadoes COULD occur during the early stages of initiation but storms that fired would line up very quickly into a squall line shitstorm shutting down any hopes of seeing a birthday wedge.

I didn't care. It was my birthday damn it. Karma would prevail and send a tube my way from an unending field of dirt where nothing fell into it's path except me of course.

I would have been fine just sitting at home letting the few remaining hours tick off inactively thinking about work or some such shit. I had to tempt fate however, and make a 376 mile trip into bustville. Plenty of chasers out and about, aligning their plans and hoping they pan out.

Me? I just point the truck to the northwest and figured God would intercede at the exact moment. Some two hundred miles from my driveway.

In a little town in Northwest Minnesota called Wendell, the message was sent...

Stop here. Wait and see...

Some divine message. Seemed like good a place as ever to stop without getting all rooted up into going North Dakota way, Or South Dakota. Take your pick.

No, the reasoning was simple. An old dear friend I'd grown up with lived in that small burg of a town. And I thought, the REAL end to my birthday weekend should be to pull up at his home, wrap on his door, and say hello since it had been a year or more since I'd last seen him.

The Son of a Bitch wasn't home.

And the storms turned into a linear mess just as expected.

And the chasers parade back down I94 just as they had done a few hours earlier.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Impromptu Chase: 05/21/2011

Fucking Shackleford. The winner in the Preakness Stakes and the horse that robbed me of a trifecta bet that would have netted $700.00 bucks on a .50 cent bet.


Deciding to stick around and finding a couple of other tracks to bet was an easy choice. We gained some ground in the win column but certainly not enough to completely eliminate the sting of the previous loss.

Flipping around the television dial while waiting for the next race yielded another possible adrenaline boost:

Tornado sighted in Maple Grove.

It was an easy choice to bolt from the betting parlor since I had all my gear in the truck and ready to go. My brother decided to ride shotgun.

We decided to intercept the slow NNE ward moving storm east of Ham Lake. By then, reports were coming in giving us reason to think that made our decision even easier.

Headed up Interstate 35 toward Wyoming exiting on Co. Rd 22 where we finally intercepted the one cell that looked like it had promise. After a brief bit of angry churning. It simply failed to produce anything of substance.

We were able to get some nice shots of a shelf cloud on the leading edge. But that too looked as if it was having a tough time keeping it's act in order.

We decided to follow the cell east for a bit and headed to Stacy MN. which was a short trip up the Interstate. We basically watched as it crossed Interstate 35 it take its last gasp for life and die becoming outflow dominant.

It was by this time, too dark to do anything further so, we rolled up our tent and headed home.

Wasn't a bad run to test the equipment, and to get my brother hooked into future chases.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kinda sucks to be out of play...

First real promising chase of the season turns out to be a bust for me in many ways. Circumstances of the day turned into me deciding I wasn't going to make a half-hearted effort to go out late and miss initiation since from the look of things that was when the best chance of production was going to occur.

Turns out things ended up being pretty much textbook with cells following the dryline and at a speed I could've gotten on the late end of the line. Instead, I chose to stick around town and armchair QB with a beer and the laptop.

A few screen grabs of what I got to watch at home.

Next Time.