Being a weather intern at KELO-TV I get to experience all aspects of the job. I’ve already talked about being in the Storm Center during severe weather, now for this last event I got to go storm chasing! I’ve always wanted to see a tornado so the idea of chasing has always been exciting to me, it is actually one of the things that got me interested in Meteorology in the first place.
The outlook looked good for the development for severe weather and tornadoes so we loaded up Dorothy (our chase vehicle) and headed out around 2pm Friday. We started out going north on Hwy 29 we then cut across on Hwy 14 and stopped in Manchester to look at the memorial plaques before continuing on.
We kept in contact with Jay and Tony at the station who kept an eye on the storms and told us to start heading south to intercept the storm which was moving toward the Chamberlain area. We ended up crossing the river at Fort Thompson.
Once we crossed the river we were able to see the storm approaching. We stopped to get gas and as I got out of the car I could feel the intense heat and humidity in the air as well as some gusty winds. While sitting there waiting for the storm the lightning put on quite a show. The storm was developing before our eyes. It was truly spectacular to see the storm move in.
Reports of large hail started coming in so we started moving east (storm was moving to the SE) so we wouldn’t get stuck in the storm. As we were driving we got rained on a bit by a smaller cell to the southeast of the larger storm. We stopped right as we got to Platte as the small cell we drove through produce a funnel cloud which yo-yoed before returning to the cloud (see picture). We continued to track the storm as it moved off to the southeast and continue to produce a number of funnels in our area. We were just a bit too far north to see the multiple tornadoes the storm produced in far southern South Dakota. The storm continued to pick up speed and the threat was transitioning to straight line winds not to mention the fact that the sun was starting to set so we called it a night and started heading back. As we got closer to Sioux Falls the storm actually caught up to us which made the trip back to the station a bit interesting. After we got back, at about 10:30 pm, we put together some of the video we captured of the storms and called it a night. It was an awesome experience and a great night of chasing!