June 10, 2018


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Buffalo, SD
Sturgis, SD 1:12 PM 6/10/2018
Murdo, SD 11:39 PM 6/10/2018
Dupree, SD
0 mph
Funnel Cloud, Wall Cloud


Cold front play in northwest South Dakota. Intercepted supercell at initiation near Redig and tracked east to Dupree noting funnel cloud, classic structure, and sunset light show.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl. Equipment: Sony AX100, Canon 60D, Samsung S7 Edge.




By Sunday, June 10 I had been on the Plains for two weeks. The rest of the team had disbanded and headed home. Brindley and I, however, decided to spend a down day in Rapid and chase on the way home. We watched turkey towers come off the Black Hills, listened to live music at the Firehouse Brewing Company, and then hung out on the roof of the Alex Johnson Hotel. Sunday looked like a real chase day though, with a moderately sheared and unstable cold front setting up in northewest South Dakota. Our initial target was Buffalo.

Cumulus Field
6 miles SSW of Redig, SD
3:10 PM
We arrived at our target early. A thin patch of cumulus was the only hint that we'd soon be chasing supercells.

3 miles S of Redig, SD
5:12 PM
We stopped at a rural country store south of Redig, topped off on fuel, bought some food, and awaited initiation. The cumulus exploded, literally overhead. The growing updrafts reminded me of a volcanic eruption.

The Chase
166 miles WNW of
6:44 PM
The chase was on! We started stair stepping east down remote unpaved roads. The storm quickly developed into a classic supercell with RFD cut, striated base, and inflow bands.

Funnel Cloud
166 miles WNW of
6:53 PM
A cigar shaped funnel cloud formed right on the curling northern end of the horseshoe shaped updraft. We hoped for a photogenic South Dakota tornado, but this is about where the storm peaked. Photos by Jennifer Brindley Ubl.

Classic Supercell
166 miles WNW of
6:54 PM
Looking north at the rotating base of a classic supercell:

39 miles WSW of Glad Valley, SD
7:23 PM
We stayed with the storm as the cold front started to unzip into a forced, elevated looking line. The skies and landscapes were gorgeous though and we stopped a couple times to shoot lapse sequences. It was becoming apparent though that the chances for a good surface based supercell and tornado show were diminishing. We decided to call the chase and head east for home. The storm had given us hours of solid, continuous supercell chasing, and we were really satisfied with that.

Sunset Gust Front and Lightning
4 miles W of Dupree, SD
9:14 PM
We called it too soon, however. Keeping tabs on the radar, I could see a hook forming on the tail end of the now cotinuous north to south cold front line. We double backed just as the tornado warning came in. Structure wise, the storm looked like little more than a gust front when we arrived. Compelling looking on radar, but visually it looked like it had no chance at a tube. The sunset colors, stormscape, and lightning were something else, however. I setup for another lapse of what I thought was the prettiest storm shot all day.

Sunset Whale's Mouth
4 miles W of Dupree, SD
9:26 PM
I held on to my tripod as the gust front hit with blasts of wind, the whale's mouth stretching overhead. The colors were surreal. As the rain started and the colors faded, we again call the chase, this time for good.


No tornado, but just an all around great chase with classic structure, a funnel, and amazing color and light. It was probably the highlight of the whole two week long trip after the initial Cope, Colorado tornado day.

Lessons Learned

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