Tuesday 5 June 2018

Day 10 - Montana (Bust!)

TUE 05 JUN 2018

Ah, the first bust of this year's chasecation - we did well to survive so long! Sometimes ol' Mother Nature has other ideas...

Difficult decision this morning - sandwiched between what looked like a pretty decent setup yesterday to something a bit more mediocre today in North Dakota, and something incredibly marginal that might not even happen in Montana. Given that we probably need to be in Wyoming tomorrow, and the fact that most models didn't break the capping inversion until beyond sunset in North Dakota (so it would be a night-time chase), we opted to scrap the higher tornado threat in the hope of perhaps a nice lone supercell in SE Montana instead (which some models had been keen to flag up).
SPC Forecast
SPC Tornado Probability Forecast
So began our 400 mile drive west into Montana - initial target was Broadus (MT) as we'd arrive there around 4pm and would ideally be intersecting any thunderstorms that had developed farther west over the higher terrain and drifted east in our general direction towards late afternoon.
However, after a lunch stop in Miles City (MT) it became clear that nothing had developed - yet - but I also became weary of the decreasing signal in model output and started to doubt anything would actually develop. We continued west and then south to Lame Deer (MT), passing through a line of elevated convection which had some nice undulating cloudscapes, in the hope something might fire en-route... Nothing, so a nudge west towards Garryowen (MT) where we parked up and waited for some time.
Elevated convection (not much lightning, just some rain) producing some cool undulations to the high cloud base
By this stage, a couple of surface-based thunderstorms had developed well to our east - annoyingly near Broadus - but they were also moving east away from us. I kept an eye on the radar as these storms became better organised and developed into supercells - one then went on to be tornado-warned as they moved across the border and into South Dakota, though with hardly any chasers on them (because most chasers had driven to the North Dakota target) there have been no confirmed reports of tornadoes so far.
The only tornado-warned storm of the day - in South Dakota. And very few chasers nearby...
Ended the day in Buffalo (WY) feeling a little disappointed (but not necessarily surprised), with the only glimmer of hope being that we are much closer to potential thunderstorms tomorrow than had we chased in North Dakota today...
GPS tracker

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