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Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 14th central MN bow echo and supercell

Well that was interesting. I knew there were storms popping in a severe box out in western MN by about 4 pm. Checked the radar and didn't think there was much chance of the line accelerating until later in the evening so we headed to the Buffalo Days parade as soon as Melinda got home from class. About 25 units had gone through when my mom called from Fergus to say they were under a tornado warning and she was heading out to see. She called back to say it was nothing but a shelf cloud complete with shark's teeth and a few gustnadoes. Sure enough, one of them got reported as a tornado and made in on FGF's LSR report. Nice. Here we go again with the bad reporting syndrome. Little did I know it was going to get worse this evening in my own area. Eric Whitehill and Nick Elms both called to let me know the line was starting it's southward plunge and accelerating so we bailed on the parade and headed west to north of Darwin, MN as a tornado warning was being issued for Meeker county based on a spotter report of a tornado near Grove City and moving southeast at 60 mph. Hmmmm.

Here is the "tornado":

and the SHELF CLOUD it was under. Nice gustnado but definitely not a tornado and not worth sending people scrambling to their basements thinking they might die. At this time my 2M ICOM radio failed and I was unable to contact net control with updated information as to the situation....and I left my cell phone at home! Yep, I'm about as worthless of a spotter as there is sometimes.

A classic case of a spotternado and not taking time to think about what they are seeing. I'm sure this was the cause of what was to happen next as the bow moved downstream into Wright county. I heard a mobile spotter report a segmented shelf cloud as a persistent wall cloud then within the same breath changed his mind back to the shelf.

The encore of the night was a bona fide supercell which went up on the south end of the bow just behind the line on the outflow boundary. It was a nice little cell with some cool structure and a really nice lightning show. Check out the tornado look alike rain/virga shaft falling in a dry down draft on the right side.

We shot some video for a time lapse and failed at twilight lightning shots. About this time the same spotter who was struggling with the wall cloud shelf cloud issues also reported a "possible non-rotating funnel". WTF is a non rotating funnel??? As this cell dried up and just about died, what was left of the base was now getting reported as a rotating wall cloud...which was at least 1400m AGL. About this time I shut off the radio as it was frustrating to listen to and even more frustrating I couldn't report to help clarify to MPX what was really going on. Funny thing is I really like the guy who was making the bad reports but it was really obvious he was in over his head and needed help with what was going on. Kudos to Nick Elms of West Metro Skywarn and the MPX staff for handing the situation very well considering the information coming in. In hindsight it makes me wonder if this was possibly an instance of "spotter preconditioning"? Basically because of the tornado warning from earlier, were spotters positioned downstream expecting to see a tornado, wall cloud, rotation, etc because of what had happened earlier? This has been a somewhat hotly discussed topic in the past and still remains an open item on the table. As Nick and I discussed, the bottom line is spotters need to keep an open mind and use logic when coming up with their visual conclusions as to what is going on.

Made it home and noticed a minimal amount of parade debris but the power was out on the entire southwest side of town and CR12 was being blocked by the fire department due to trees and power lines down. Did manage one decent lightning shot from the front steps. Time to figure out what happened to my radio now.

1 comment:

the weatherman said...

Those were great photos...and that was an interesting story..Be back for more of your updates..:)

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