July 2, 2020


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Moorcroft, WY
Dickinson, ND 9:51 AM 7/2/2020
Gillette, WY 7:59 PM 7/2/2020
Aladdin, WY
0 mph
Updraft Base, Mid-level Funnel


Upslope supercell chase in northeast Wyoming. Noted mid-level funnel cloud on towering cumulus near Sundance, WY followed by small storm with rotating updraft base near Aladdin before cells died in capped air.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl, Anton Seimon, Tracie Seimon, Hank Schyma. Equipment: Sony AX100.




From Anton's morning forecast discussion:

"We should be near Moorcroft WY for relatively early initiation (certainly by 20z). This is where the high CAPE air advects farthest to the northwest beneath the moderate southwest flow aloft. Complex terrain there will easily break the cap for us. An additional positive factor, which may develop though I am not sure, is that low level flow may actually become easterly or northeasterly on the west side of the surface trough. Here is the NAM3 temp/pressure field projected for 20z.

The 20z CAPE field shows this westward push as well

I note the Platte Valley also doing its thing with a tongue of high CAPE sustained around Torrington, but the overall flow looks to be better up in the Moorcroft-Sundance-Belle Fourche corridor.

For the North Dakota option, I see two significant problems from a tornado perspective. 1) Anvil shadowing from upstream convection firing early. 2) Little if any directional shear in the boundary layer. "
July 1 was a down day/ferry day for the group. The documentary film crew left us to go interview Bill Reid and Tempest Tours. We headed west from Jamestown, ND back to Dickinson and then spent the day hiking around Theordore Roosevelt National Park where we too bumped into Bill Reid and Tempest.
On July 2 we drove down into South Dakota and then stepped west across the border into Wyoming. Towers were already springing up on the west side of the Black Hills and we watched from a rest area off I-90.
Anton spotted a mid-level funnel cloud in some towering cumulus overhead.

Mid-level Funnel
6 miles WSW of Beulah, WY
2:05 PM
It was likely the wrap up and tightening of a dying updraft, the rotation increasing as the updraft tube narrows and withers away.

Rotating Storm
5 miles ENE of Aladdin, WY
2:35 PM
Storms over the Wyoming Black Hills showed some low level rotation, but failed to build to the point that they had any real tornado play on them.
We tracked them back into western South Dakota, but we soon found ourselves chasing orphan anvils as cells died in the capped air away from their sources of lift. Meanwhile, a big supercell had erupted in the Nebraska Panhandle and was putting down tornadoes. We probably could have made it down there in time had we realized soon enough that our initial target was going belly up.

2020 Group Photo
Devils Tower, WY
6:02 PM
We headed back into Wyoming for a room and dinner in Gillette, stopping at Devils Tower along the way for a 2020 pandemic style group photo.


A pretty day in the High Plains, but this was a bust chase for us due to a lack of substantial supercell or tornado play. I would have been totally happy with that, but what really stung was missing photogenic tornadoes in Nebraska and Colorado. We could have made it to the Nebraska target had we realized the potential early enough, but I think we got tunnel vision and committed to Wyoming.

Lessons Learned

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