July 17th, 2010: Dakotas

You're noticing a pattern here right? Dakotas, Saturday, Chase.

I left the cities around 11 AM and met up with Shawn H. and Joel L. at the Big Lake off I-94. We caravaned and stopped at the nearby curious early storm around 12:30 - 1:00 PM. It went tornado warned near Alexandria and watched it for a little bit. It didn't look very organized, it was north of 94 and heading east into tree and lakeland, and there was a main show to come in good chase territory out west. Joel and Shawn left fairly quickly, but I stuck around for another 10 minutes or so before heading west myself. I didn't see another chaser for the rest of the day. As we now know, that cell lived, went SE into ok territory, and produced a photogenic updraft far better than what the western cells offered.

I got about 40 or so miles into ND to meet the advancing cells when new cells went up all around me. I was torn between going west after the established ones, or hanging with the front ones that had a chance of becoming dominant. I stayed in the front, and they didn't do anything special, and the rear ones never got better.

At that point I headed for the southern cells which were in South Dakota not far off I-29. It had a nice anvil peek out:

I ended up in Worthington, MN at nightfall. I saw some insane lightning there that had me a little concerned about getting hit at one time. But I got some amazing pictures of it! All in all, it was about a 700 mile trip which may be most I've done driving solo.

Some video of the day and lightning:

Day's risk area:

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- Tony Perkins