This was an absolutly awesome chase. There was also a little slight of hand, some trickery by mother nature.
This chase started out hairy right from the get go during the targeting forecast. The night prior I was looking at Ft. Dodge IA. I was well prepared for a local chase and have been expecting one right through the northwestern corner of IA. Still not negelting the opportunity to my north I just wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to running away from what could have been a great chase right at home. Well by morning I liked the northern option much better but IA has tricked me before. I called up my chase partner Joe Miller and and hashed over my reading of the models hoping he would see something I didn’t that would narrow down my options. The only thing we could agree on was that it could go either way, both MN and IA looked good. Decided I would risk playing MN.
Mike got to my house at 12:30 quickly changed and we rolled out. Grabbed some Mc D’s filled up and the 3 of us, John Stone, Mike and myself decided we would play east first then north. As we approached Pipestone, MN the wx radio alterted to a tornado watch in IA and MN right aling the state line. Nice, well here we are in the zone but we wanted to push north as we wern’t just quite sold that far south. So we decided on Lake Benton and decided to sit there a bit expecting storms to fire along I 29 and watched a few towers try and punch the CAP but nothing would. There was one that looked promising but we decided to move a little east and then further north to Marshall and then decide from there.
We get just about 1/2 way to Marshall and a cell pops near Pipestone but Mike and I were sure that was the right call and continued on and then, bam that cell went severe warned. Still confident Mike made the right call we still pushed on. We ended up on a nice cell near Mankato that did tornado warned but quickly lost promise, so we moved into position and intercepted a cell near Waseca that we decided to bail on thinking we had gone a bit too far north or maybe not far enough north due to there being very violent storms further to our north but storms were also fireing to our south. So we head south and again about 1/2 way after leaving the Waseca storm it went tornado warned.
At this point John and I both looked at Mike with a deep glaring look but well we were already moving south and arrived in Albert Lea at the same time a very strong tornado warned thunderstorm did. This storm with just a few moments began dropping tornado after tornado. When the chase was over we had witnessed 8 tornadoes, 3 of which were large wedge tornadoes. We also witnessed the damage to an outbuilding, grain bins, lots of wire destruction.
Mike felt redeemed and John witnessed his first tornado and many more.