June 21, 2014


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Mobridge, SD
Sioux Falls, SD 8:00 AM 6/21/2014
Pierre, SD 8:30 PM 6/21/2014
Java, SD Roscoe, SD
0 mph
Updraft Base, Striations, Hail Shaft, Anvil, Mammatus


South Dakota warm sector play. Targeted Mobridge, SD for afternoon storms intercepting striated supercell north of Java, SD. Core punched severe storm south of Roscoe, SD finding 2.6 inch hail on ground. Evening convection and gust fronts on the way to Pierre for the night.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: COD Trip 5. Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon t2i, Canon EFS 10-22, Canon EF 50mm, Sony HDR-xr500v..




My second day out as a driver with the College of DuPage thunderstorm lab trip #5 looked like it would have a decent shot for some supercells across South Dakota. An initial target of Mobridge was picked.
Our Air Force crew hits the windshield during a gas stop somewhere between Sioux Falls and Aberdeen.

Striated Supercell

3:31 PM
Supercells formed in north central South Dakota. We caught a photogenic one north of Java, SD and stopped for a few minutes to watching the undulating but elevated looking structure.

Updraft Base
Java, SD
4:23 PM
We tracked the cells south toward Java getting some neat rain free base structure.

4:28 PM
Beautiful South Dakota

Bowdle, SD
4:32 PM
Tracking the storm east along highway 12, my infamous Bowdle route, the storm started to gust out. We had some neat looking scud pose for a picture though as it crossed over a grave road.

Hail Shaft
S of Roscoe, SD
6:13 PM
We dropped south out of Roscoe to watch several cells north of us passing to our east. Victor decided to treat the students to some hail as the structure was becoming rather lackluster. We waited until a brilliant white hail shaft was crossing the road in front of us. Victor cranked Thunderstruck by ACDC at volume on the van's speakers and said, "Skip, floor it!" We charged head first toward the hail, music blasting. It was one of the most thrilling moments of my entire chase season. We slowed down as we approached the core and eased into it so as not to destroy the glass or vans' bodies with huge hail.

6:03 PM
Some golfballs pinged off the van and when it was over we got out to see what we could find on the ground. One of the students came back with a baseball sized stone, much larger than anything we were expecting. It measured at 2.6 inches with calipers, the biggest hail I'd seen all season!
A few of the hail stones we gathered with a golfball for size comparison.

Chaser Silhouettes
E of Gettysburg, SD
7:05 PM
Messy clusters were going up across the state and we decided to call it a chase and get dinner and a room in Pierre. We stopped between storms near Gettysburg for some pictures. This silhoutte of the tour against the updraft and anvil of a distant storm captures the essence of storm chasing to me.
We stopped for dinner at Mad Mary's Steakhouse before grabbing a room at the Holiday Inn Express across the river.


Our first real storm day with COD Trip 5 yieled some photogenic supercells. The ACDC core punch and severe hail was one of the highlights of my entire season though.

Lessons Learned

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