Tuesday, July 10, 2012

6/14/12 Kenyon/Wanamingo MN


I'm addressing this question to my chaser friends who may happen to read this in the future.

Ever have one of those chases where you second guess everything, and I mean EVERYTHING! from the beginning of the chase to the end? From your choice of target to the food and beverage you carry with on the run? That pretty much sums up this chase day: Long, arduous, frustrating, and actually? somewhat fruitful.

This is the type of storm setup that holds no guarantees but enough promise to make the effort. That is of course unless you have "Little Maehem" on your shoulder reminding you that you haven't a clue as to what you're doing on the road and maybe you ought to pack it in before:

a.) You embarass yourself.

b.) You embarass yourself.

c.) You spend money, drive forever, and embarass yourself.


Cells around the noon hour brought 1" hail to the area near my home. Perhaps I should hop in the vehicle and chase this as opposed to the setup forecasted for later in the afternoon out west?

Being no where near ready to dash out the door, I chose to let these pass, get my act together, pack the truck and head west...


So, here's the Mid-day D1 TORPROBS: Not a bad setup. Close to home, but still a little hesitant.













 Now, the self talk begins:

"You sure you want to spend the rest of the day chasing a possible rainbow?

"Shut the hell up" I say to myself.

Part of the reason I began chasing was to bring me to areas I wouldn't normally see. My travels don't normally take me off the main thoroughfares until I become close to my destination. Chasing forces me to change that way of thinking in that the destination becomes wherever the storm happens to land and my travel becomes the shortest route between two points.

You hear yourself saying...

"Never knew that town existed." a lot.

Afternoon rush hour in the western suburbs begins about 9:45AM local time. My goal was to beat it out of town before it became bad enough to impede my western movement so, I was out the door by 2:00PM (19:00Z)

It didn't help.

"You sure you want to continue?" Little Chase, now occupying the headrest right next to my right ear, asked to test the waters.

"Yes" I said. "If things don't pan out here soon, We'll dive south on the next North/South."

"DIVE, DIVE, DIVE!" things were getting more interesting down south of me.

I bolted south once the realization set in that the line wasn't going to produce on the north end. The next play would be St. Peter MN to intercept




 


While traveling south on Hwy 169 the storm motion became faster than I anticipated.

Causing me to get swallowed up by the storm. Part of this was caused by traffic on 169, (Who knew I'd be faced with a rush hour commute slowdown to St. Peter?







It did give me the opportunity to capture a C/G lightning hit less than a tenth of a mile from me and about 100 yards off the shoulder of the roadbed.

Whatever was struck was still smouldering as I passed by the unfortunate item moments later.

I purposely stayed behind the guts of this cell. Truth is, I just wasn't ready to core punch this thing while it threw off 1" hail just to the east of me. So, with most of the rotation now firmly out of my reach, I focused on a developing line to the west of Fairibault moving east. As I moved east on MN60, you could see the storm was intensifying steadily as it progressed.

I decided to keep my distance. By the time I had reached Fairibault, the main part of the line had already come through and had caused significant flooding in areas around the lower downtown area. It was about this time I noticed that chaser Tim Purington had set up shop south of an area of circulation that had developed south of Kenyon and was moving north for an intercept.

I continued east on MN60 behind the meaty portion of the line and watched it intensify even further until it was clear that a significant wind event was occurring just ahead of me. Tim Purington intercepted and was swallowed by the core. He tweeted later that it was one of the strongest wind events he'd ever experienced.

Significant damage was noted to several out-buildings between Kenyon and Wanamingo along with trees and power lines. The trip back to the cites included travel through an area of storms that ended dropping 6-8" of rain in a short period of time causing MN52 to be closed due to flooding.