Sunday, July 24, 2011

Even So, Staying Home Was Not An Option.

After eight hours and three hundred miles of driving the most convoluted chasing route I think I've ever plotted due to Mother Nature not agreeing with my original chase plans, my daughter acting as my chase partner and I finally made it to "Chaser Days" down in Windom MN. I say that because it seemed as though every chaser in the state ended up there by late afternoon or early evening. It seemed as though the only things missing at that point was a tent and a keg of beer.

The setup for the day originally was to head west and wait for initiation but, A line of storms sweeping through the cities from North Dakota early Saturday morning changed the atmosphere enough to where if you wanted to have any chance of seeing a Tornado, southern Minnesota was where we needed to be.

We went South, We went North, West, and East. Finally ending in Windom where the general thought by the great number of chasers present was if anything would happen, it would begin near there. We sat and watched a promising line build as it tried to do something but decided to pull the plug and head home when it was clear things just weren't going to materialize. At least not in the light of day...

Decided to head south to Interstate 90 just on the off chance something would fire in Northern Iowa during the drive back toward Interstate 35. Of course, nothing came to pass with that plan as all of the real fun for Iowa was on the southern fringes of the state.

Began the trek up Interstate 35 toward home when we noticed the storm towers going up to the west of us. We didn't think much of them at that time because the sun had obscured most of the storms progress until they became back lit and by then, no chance to rejoin the party of chasers who had found their target and were circling like a pack of wolves ready for the kill according to our on-board data.

So, rather than come home completely empty handed, we decided to stop just outside of Hope MN. and take some photos and shoot some time lapse since it was a beautiful looking storm with the sun back lighting it. As you can see from the view we had, it had trouble keeping its act together.

My hope was to capture some lightning photos from that vantage point but the cell just wasn't that electrically active at that time. Decided to detour to Waseca for an intercept when we noticed things got more electrically charged just prior to sunset. Saw some great Cloud to Ground lightning enroute but do you think it would throw down one after my camera was set up? Nope.

Punched the storm core between Waterville and New Prague. No real wind to speak of, just a deluge of rain. Thank God for Rain-X. In those situations, it's a life-saver to have that stuff on your windshield.

We were into hour ten by that point. Time to head home.

All in all we had a great day, Saw some parts of Southern and Western Minnesota I rarely get to explore, The on-board technology worked flawlessly for the first time this year, and I got to spend time with my kid who reminded me without saying a word, She's not.

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