Gustnadoes / Tornadoes 5/11/2011

While everyone was busting in KS I was treated to a wicked storm environment in SE. South Dakota. I and the the rest of the ExWx team are part of the KELO News chase team now so the local members (Joe Miller, Brent Koops, Greg Rardin, Mike Vetter) stuck close to home in the slight risk area while Mark Ellis, Jenn Miller, Cory Watkins, and Joe Quinn covered the KS Mod Risk area.

Brent and I agonized over the morning models and wish-casting an isolated cell somewhere west Denison, IA early evening. Sent a couple of messages out for opinions but no one seemed all that interested. KS was the topic in most minds this day. I was really starting to regret no making the run to KS, but work commitments kept me close to home. So there we sat, Koops and I looking at every run of the RUC hoping for a glimmer of hope for something to chase and once we saw all that liner crap our hopes quickly faded, but what the hell, we both stayed glued to the radar looking for that cell to pop, just to verify our forecast because we didn’t go to Denison after we saw the line of storms marching north.

Around 6:20 there it was just showing up on radar ahead of the line of storms, but it was a bit farther north near Haywarden, IA.

Out the door I went, Joe Miller and Greg were on it, and Koops sat out as he was further east and thought he would’t catch it. The storm was quickly tornado warned and the first tornado report went out around 6:30 (NWS eventually ruled it a gustnado).

The cell was actually moving NW heading right for me. I got off at the Canton exit in SD and watched as the line approached. Straight line winds were about 45-50 MPH and I sat as the shelf started to pass overhead. Just to my northeast I could see a bunch of dirt being picked up so I followed.

There was a series of gustnadoes / tornadoes along the outflow boundary out in front of that line of storms that came in through just NW. of Canton. As the OFB interacted with new cells that were popping up it created just enough spin to cause the frequent spinup tornadoes on the front edge of the storms.

Gustnadoes / Tornadoes

Gustnadoes / Tornadoes

There was plenty of black dirt for the spinup tornadoes to pick up, making them visible.

Turned out to be a great day. Makes up for the bust to Sunday before.

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