Wednesday 17th July 2019 – Wyoming (Slight Risk)

We awoke today in Spearfish (SD) and SPC had a Slight Risk for Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota so we knew we did not have to venture far today. Storms would initiate over the Big Horns of Wyoming and track east. HRRR was insistent on a couple of Supercells maturing near the Black Hills of Wyoming and South Dakota in the early evening with more of a Tornado threat once the Low Level Jet kicked in. After a leisurely lunch at the Green Bean Cafe we headed North and West to check out Devils Tower knowing this would be near the expected zone of storms and as we got there at 2pm Storms were already under way about 40 miles to our west. We set up cameras for timelapses and watched as the storms headed in our direction. Numerous Cg Lightning was seen from an elevated viewpoint.

We watched the few couple of Storms move to the east behind Devils Tower but this was just the beginning of an amazing Structured Supercell which would evolve around 4pm.

Just after the above picture was taken the Storm that had been Severe warned north of Moorcroft was now heading straight for our location an what a sight this became with a Structured Classic Supercell with Striations sitting in front of Devils Tower.

One of my favourite pictures of the trip taken below.

The Storm then took a SE Turn towards us so I knew we had to re-position to the south and get onto another Supercell heading east from Gillette along the Interstate which we would intercept near Moorcroft. We still had time to snap a few more pictures of the storm we were about to let go though.

After driving back SW towards Moorcroft for the next Supercell we were greeted to another beautiful structured Wyoming Supercell.

We headed east through Upton to keep in front of this storm but that was about it for useable roads and with Rapid City Radar being down all day from a lightning strike the day before we let the storm run over us obviously not knowing what sort of hail it had in its core. The storm at this time was also starting to look very tornadic with some strong rotation. We got blasted with Ping Pong ball sized hail for a good 5 minutes which turned the roads into a winters scene.

As the Storm moved into the Black Hills and east of our position we were treated to a stunning Hailbow.

The Storm was now out of reach the other side of the Black Hills so we ended the day where we started at Spearfish and later learned our storm had dropped a Tornado just 4 mile east of our location at Four Corners (WY) snapping Pine Trees in the process – So near once again but a great days chasing all the same. Tomorrow will be a travel day ahead of an expected big risk on the 19th in Minnesota.

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