July 23rd, 2010 - Part 2
Try to get ahead of the storm, but of course, trying to do so on dirt does not prove successful. Thought it was starting to turn more southward, but we probably could have stayed on interstate and been fine. Now we were caught though. Couldn't see the structure since we were under it, but our main concern quickly became not getting destroyed by hail. Looked like we were under a nice striated meso though.
Driving under the circulation, with sporadic softballs falling and bouncing over the car lol. This is about when the sense that you're completely screwed and there's nothing you can do about it kicks in. When you have giant chunks of ice falling everywhere, you're scared, but you just have to laugh. I decided to go for broke and open the sunroof.
Really wish I had more photos (or video) from this day, but we spent most of the time running. This thing was chucking nickel-sized hail about 10 miles out in front of the updraft. Even if you could stop to shoot, you'd have to do so in the hail. Ultra lame lol. Its structure started to take on an HP of epic proportions though. Shot this as we drove over lake Chamberlain.
Finally decided to get out and just shoot it. Had a few minutes where there wasn't any hail, but before long we started getting dimes again. The main show was the incredible CG barrage though. Tons of positive anvil bolts, most of them within a mile.
A few of them were closer. Keep in mind that this is shot with an ultra-wide 10mm, so these bolts are like... right there. Right in the field in front of us.
Got out of there as it started hailing again. Had an awesome vantage of the storm at this point with some dramatic diffused light hitting the meso to the southwest, and lightning flickering and illuminating the massive beaver tail inflow to our northwest. Had to take a pano to capture the whole scene. Wasn't even trying to get the lightning-illuminated bit on the right, that just happened by chance.
It was apparent that the storm wanted to chase us now. Guess it had been all day since it was throwing hail at us lol. Had to fly on these dirt roads to keep up. Just dumb how far out it was throwing hail. Think we were near Kimball, SD now.
Now it goes linear beast mode. Not really an HP supercell anymore as it just becomes a massive line.
Noisy next few images as they were shot while we were driving.
Think this is probably when Chad Cowan caught that ridiculous view of the stacked plates structure. Looks about right as we were farther north of it.
Still odd how much it changed at this point late in its lifecycle. Once it becomes a line you'd think it would just retain a big general shelfy look, but it kept evolving into something different. More or less ditched the rounded stack of plates now and became what looked more like a big moisture vacuum.
Last stop of the day here as it turned into a more typical shelf, with some interesting laminar features on the southern end. So disappointing to let a storm like this go, but when chasing a massive line, it's bound to happen sooner or later.
One last shot as we stopped by a Wendy's drive-thru for dinner. They were being super slow so I hopped out of the car and took a few frames as lightning flickered above the multi-tiered shelf cloud. A much more calming end to what was a rather hectic and dangerous chase!