Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shoreview MN 7/19/2011

This had all the makings of something. Plenty of rotation in between St. Cloud and Elk River. Various Radar samples throughout its path showed it as a sizeable mean looking storm.

After a short, aborted trip up 35E. I came back to intercept it by hoping to travel North on 35W and get above the storm and follow it on the backside since the hail markers were indicating 2.5 inch hail embedded in the business end of the cell.

Arrived at the entrance to 35W from Hwy 10 closed due to previous flooding a couple of days before that created some sink holes that were being repaired. Going up Hwy 10 wasn't an option since that would place me dead on with the center of the cell.

Turned around and headed back east on Hwy 96. Just then I remembered a County maintenance facility that was slightly elevated from the rest of the surroundings. It also had a canopy to duck under if the hail reported actually came true. Off I went.

Arrived at the facility with just a few moments to spare. Enough to fire up my camera gear and catch a little of the arriving leading edge of the storm. It wasn't much to photograph and by this time, any rotation was non-existant so, I just sat in my vehicle to watch the show.

Plenty of CG on the front end. One leader came down within 50 yards of me striking a fence just off to my west and of course, out of camera view. What was recorded was the tell tale "Snap" of a side flash discharge as the main leader struck the fence. The side flash discharged through the canopy down spout about five feet from me.

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