June 7, 2018


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Gillette, WY
Gillette, WY 12:09 PM 6/7/2018
Rapid City, SD 1:30 AM 6/8/2018
Albion, MT
0 mph
Shelf Cloud


Marginal upslope/High Plains play in ne WY/se MT. Targeted supercells developing in se MT, intercepting as severe warned MCS developed. Anton's vehicle totaled on the way back from chase after striking deer.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl, Phil Bates, Anton Seimon, Tracie Seimon, National Geographic film crew. Equipment: Sony AX100, Canon 60D, Samsung S7 Edge.




Thursday, June 7 looked like a pretty marginal day in the High Plains, which was fortunate actually. We were scheduled to meet with a film crew from Natioanl Geographic for a piece they were running on the show Explorers. We were hoping for a more relaxed day where they could shoot us in "action" without the usual frantic hustle and stress of a regular chase day.
The film crew flew into Rapid City. We met up with them on a dusty road north of Gillette, and setup for a few drone shots of the vehicles in motion. Turkey towers were sprouting off the Big Horns in the distance.
We found ourselves in a storm hole and so tracked north into Montana toward fledgling storms. The developing cells briefly took on supercellular characteristics, but a transition to an MCS was underway as we arrived. The storms made a great backdrop for the film crew as they interviewed Anton.
The complex put down a gorgeous shelf cloud, and we all setup for shots of it as it swept in from the west. Tracie shooting stills:

Shelf Cloud with Lightning
15 miles NW of Albion, MT
9:05 PM
Catch 'o the day for me off my DSLR time lapse sequence:
Brindley with a few epic wide shots of me and Phil under the storm:
Blasted by cool, invigorating outflow as the roiling mass of the Whale's Mouth goes overhead:

Deer Strike
3 miles WNW of Albion, MT
9:36 PM
With light fading and the precipitation core looming, we called the chase and started to make our way southeast to Rapid City for the night. We made it just a few miles, however. At twilight when they're most active, and the storm spooking them into action, the road was thick with deer on the run. I was the lead vehicle when a deer ran behind us and in front of Anton's van. They struck it head on with signficant front end damage. Everyone was fine, but we had to leave the vehicle there. The film crew sprang into action and quickly unloaded and repacked Anton and Tracie's van into their rented Suburban. Tracie and the dogs hopped into the back of our Subaru, and we plodded our way back to Rapid through the precipitation core of the MCS as it caught up to us.


The day would have been a great success for us given our goals for the marginal setup. That is until the deer strike. We came away with some gorgeous shelf cloud shots, which also happened to work perfectly for the National Geographic crew running a story on Anton. We initially feared the vehicle was totalled and that put the kabosh on our spirits. Anton and Tracie's van was towed off the rural Montana highway the next day and repaired to working order, however. They wound up not even missing any chase opportunities, renting a vehicle the next morning.

Lessons Learned

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