July 11, 2008 Minnesota Tornadoes

Juston Drake and Simon Brewer documented two tornadoes and multiple supercells in central Minnesota. We started the day in Aberdeen, SD; a well developed shortwave trough was propagating across the Northern Plains, deep moisture was in place, a well developed dryline was mixing east, but a cold front was about to overtake the dryline. We decided to drive northeast and position ourselves in Fergus Falls, MN. Cells developed along the cold front and we followed a robust tower northeast to Pelican Rapids, MN. The updraft began to gain in organization north of Pelican Rapids and moved northeast of town.

The image on the right shows the developing storm north of Pelican Rapids, MN.

The image on the right shows the same storm north of Pelican Rapids, MN; notice the developing beaver's tail feeding into the updraft.
We drove east on 108 and documented our first tornado of the day, but did not realize it at the time. The image to the right shows a supercell to our north near Frazee, MN. There was a really nice occlusion and a lowering. The lowering showed rapid rotation and a funnel rapidly developed and appeared to get close to touching down at one point, but we couldn't tell due to trees between us and the feature. Apparently, chasers or spotters were closer to this feature and reported debris at ground level.
Image on the right shows the rotating wall cloud and occlusion on a tornadic supercell near Frazee, MN.
Image on the right shows the occlusion and rotation wall cloud near Frazee, MN.
Image on the right shows the "nub" funnel cloud and occlusion to our north near Frazee, MN. We decided to not pursue this storm, because a storm to our south was about to cut-off the flow into the storm to our north.

We drove east-southeast and cut through the FFD of a storm to our south. We found that a tornado warning was issued for this storm due to a tornado being reported to our southwest. We stopped somewhere between Wadena and Staples, MN on SR 10 and watched a rain-wrapped rotating wall cloud cross the road behind our location. We let the RFD gust front pass over us and we got slammed by high winds, rain, and small hail. We then were able to witness a stovepipe tornado in the rain north of the road moving northeast over a field. We captured only a few seconds of video and I'll try to get that posted on the website someday.

Image on the right is looking WNW at a tail cloud feeding into a rain-wrapped wall cloud southeast of Wadena, MN.

Image on the right shows the rain-wrapped wall-cloud NW of our location; this picture was taken shortly after we witnessed a tornado back in the rain.
We supercell hopped southward along a broken-line of cells in Minnesota. Eventually, the line of cells became more solid and less broken, so we let the line overtake our location. The image on the right shows beautiful mammatus clouds on the backside of the squall-line; the pic was taken near Kimball, MN.
We sat in the parking lot of a gas station in the Underwood area watching towers develop, and then we noticed an altostratus cloud formation devlop near the convective towers. I'm not certain, but this mid-level cloud feature may have developed as the nose of a mid-level jet streak moved over the area. The picture on the right shows the mid-level cloud feature over and east of the cumulus towers.
Image on the right shows mammatus and sunset over a cornfield in central Minnesota.
Image on the right shows mammatus and sunset over a cornfield in central Minnesota.
Image on the right shows mammatus over central Minnesota. I saw my first tornadoes in July on this day, so Juston and I were pretty pumped. It was a good two-day chase in the Northern Plains.


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