Tag Archives | South Dakota

July 11th Black Hills of South Dakota Severe Storm

We weren’t expecting much on July 11th. Nature decided to give us a pretty storm southwest of Spearfish, SD late day. The cell was very photogenic, and throw in the fields of sweet clover and you had a winner! The cell traveled for a few hours across northeast Wyoming into western South Dakota, where it dissipated over the Black Hills. Very pretty to watch and photograph! Enjoy the pics!

June 28th Southeast Montana/Northwest South Dakota Tornado Outbreak

An incredible day! The most significant tornado outbreak of 2018 to date occurred from one supercell this day! Southeast Montana and northwest South Dakota was the scene for this cyclic tornadic supercell that produced at least 8 and possibly more tornadoes in that area. The highest CAPE values I’ve seen in this area in 33 years of chasing occurred with 8000 joules of CAPE! Strong shear as well as mid 70s dewpoints, and throw in an awesome Black Hills Convergence Zone boundary and it would be only a matter of time before this supercell formed and morphed into the best storm of 2018! By mid afternoon several cells fired along the boundary and drifted north. All but one cell continued on this trek, with the one lone cell quickly becoming a supercell, which right turned along the boundary and turned into a beast! The structure was top notch and the tornado event that unfolded was incredible. Tornadoes of every shape, size and strength would form from late afternoon through sunset as the cell continued its slow march into northwest South Dakota. At one point we even had an anticyclonic tornado that developed on the south side of the updraft and raced directly towards us. Caryn would see it and take evasive action quickly as it passed in front of us. Then a large half mile wide wedge formed directly in front of us and roared across the countryside getting an EF3 rating! An amazing sight to behold!!! The storm continued into northwest South Dakota south of Camp Crook and continued producing tornadoes in the dark. Lightning would illuminate them making for some of the most spectacular storm photography this season! Please enjoy the pics!

 

June 10th Northwest South Dakota Tornado Warned Supercell

We expected a good day this day in South Dakota! Great instability, near 70 dewpoints, good shear and a dryline/outflow boundary intersection would set the stage for intense supercells late in the afternoon. By mid afternoon, a cluster of congestus formed in northwest South Dakota south of Buffalo. Soon several cells tried initiating there, with one dominant storm taking over the show. It quickly grew to 60,000 feet tall and became severe warned. Structure was decent and a wall cloud, complete with clear slot formed as it became tornado warned. This cell would weaken and intensify several times, but it never seemed a major threat to produce tornadoes. The tornado warning on the supercell continued for several hours, as broad cyclonic rotation occurred. It just never seemed like the rotation tightened enough to produce more than a weak funnel or two. By early evening, the storm lined out with a really pretty shelf cloud that had embedded mesocyclones that also became tornado warned. Still, a fun day, giving us many hours of chasing time on this pretty storm!

July 17th South Dakota Tornadic Supercells

July 17th had incredible potential across the Dakotas. Our Great North Tornado Hunt tour was in place in far northeastern South Dakota awaiting initiation. A subtle short wave trough was moving across the region at peak heating, while 5000 CAPE values developed along with upper 70 dew point readings. An approaching cold front/dryline triple point would spark the first supercells, and then later the cold front would spark several more. We witnessed on such storm develop near Britton, SD which had incredible structure, huge hail to baseball size and a couple funnel clouds. Later another supercell formed near Eden, SD and dropped a tornado southeast of town. We stayed with the storms into western Minnesota where they weakened as they moved out of the strong instability. We finally dropped south towards Watertown, SD for the night as a really pretty shelf cloud approached town. A great day for the Great North tour, and it would be the first of several excellent set ups we had on this tour!

June 22nd Aurora Borealis

Although earthly weather was quiet on June 22nd, a CME that hit the earth that day sparked an amazing aurora display that night. We were in the Spearfish, SD area as darkness fell and the skies lit up in green and purple pillars as the intensifying aurora became visible. We spent a couple hours at night photographing this incredible event!  Much fun for all the guests who ventured out with us at night to witness space weather at it’s finest!

June 21st South Dakota Tornado Outbreak

June 21st was a day that had great potential. Very good shear, moisture and instability were in place across the high plains into the western Dakotas. An approaching shortwave trough would provide the necessary lift to spark intense supercells in southeastern Montana.  One particular supercell formed near Baker, Montana and cycled several times as it entered northwest South Dakota.  This storm would be responsible for a half dozen tornadoes we witnessed across northern South Dakota.  The first tornado occurred as the storm really ramped up near Ralph, South Dakota. It would cycle several times and keep producing tornadoes all the way to near Eagle Butte where it dissipated late evening. The structure was some of the best of the season and several tornadoes were quite photogenic! Tour 8 scored big with this gorgeous beast!

June 17th East Central Wyoming Tornado Warned Supercell

June 17th had a short wave trough moving across the northern high plains. Decent moisture and instability was in place to fuel significant storms. However a capping inversion kept storms from forming until late in the day. A storm complex moved out of Montana into eastern Wyoming, and it was this complex that developed significant rotation as a storm in front of the line became absorbed into it and caused it to rotate rapidly. A tornado warning was issued for the western Black Hills as the storm approached Beaulah and into the Spearfish area. The structure as dusk was quite nice and the lightning was amazing! One of the best lightning displays all season so far!

 

June 1st South Dakota Supercell

For Tour #5 and Photo Tour #2, June 1st took us to the Black Hills area of South Dakota. Good upslope flow coupled with high CAPE values, would produce a very nice supercell storm that anchored itself to the east side of the Black Hills. This storm spun nicely, even tried to produce a tornado, but didn’t quite have enough low level shear to become tornadic. It did,, however, produce tons of very large and damaging hail to baseball size south of Sturgis. The storm persisted for several hours before decreasing in intensity just before dark. Both tours had a very nice treat on this day, and along with great structure, the storm produced some incredible lightning!

July 22, 2014 – South Dakota Beautiful Supercell

As if often the case on this particular tour, storm structure and quality was amazing this day. We started in Rapid City and spent the entire day with one supercell that formed early afternoon. This storm rolled over the Black Hills and turned due south into northwest Nebraska where it became tornado warned. It did not produce a tornado, but the structure was simply a photographers delight! It produced very large hail and an incredible amount of lightning. This was our last tour day of 2014, and a fantastic way to finish the season!

 

June 18, 2014 Central South Dakota Tornado Outbreak

June 18th was an incredible day in South Dakota! Superb moisture, instability and shear was moving northwest from Nebraska and pooled along a cold front.  By mid afternoon numerous storms formed along the boundary and merged into a squall line.  This was a bit disheartening to see, but we stayed with the tail end and eventually, as the better shear arrived, supercells formed and produced at least 8 tornadoes we witnessed including a couple of strong tornadoes near Wessington Springs, SD. These storms were amazingly electrified and had great structure as well. We had two different times when we had 2 tornadoes on the ground together. The final set of twins were the last two tornadoes of the event and very photogenic. What an amazing 3 day period we had, were we witnessed nearly 15 tornadoes!