Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 1: busted in ND

So we kept going west until we were almost out of west. Okay, not quite, but we got to our initial target area late in the afternoon and lo and behold, there was an agitated field of cumulus to our west. Convergence and instability were very good in that area, and so we were happy.

Then we looked at the RADAR. A monster supercell had formed where we had discounted the chances--far southern Saskatchewan. This storm was beautiful on RADAR--it had intense rotation, a good kidney bean shape, it had it all. And it was the only storm in town.

So of course we decided to go after it. We got out of the badlands west of Dickinson, ND to see the storm--it was 200 km away, but we could see it. Hard towers going up along an extension of the same moisture boundary that we were chasing--there was just much less instability there. So why was it going?

I think it was more jet-induced--way more lift there to help out the pitiful instability.

Anyhow, when we got within about 100 km of it, its look changed dramatically. Instead of hard towers flying up into it, the storm started to look all fuzzy. Not good. Mobile ThreatNet confirmed what we were seeing--after about 4 hours of life, the storm was dying.

So we stopped in a scenic spot to take some pictures and then bailed for the evening.

What caused the storm to die? I like Wxdog's hypothesis--that the storm had moved so hard right (south, pretty much, instead of southeast--that while ingesting the better moisture, it also had a chance for the dry west winds to its west to catch up to it, polluting the updraft. Whatever the cause, it just decided to stop doing its thing. (And no, back in our initial target area, nothing went.)

So here we are in Dickinson, ND, getting ready to go to the Black Hills. Today looks pretty good, as does tomorrow in Nebraska. SPC seems to agree with us, and today will have what yesterday was lacking--Black Hills magic.

Also, today will have much less driving. Good deal.


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