Wyoming Layer Cakes

17 June 2016

It was Friday morning in Walmart carpark. The runaway trolleys that had been blown in our general direction from the overnight storms had already been cleared away. All the trees were still rooted too – another concern I’d had during the overnight storms was that the tree we’d selected to park by for some privacy may have snapped during the intense winds from last night.

Hearing that the northern half of the town of Bismarck in North Dakota had suffered from golf ball hail gave us a good opportunity to visit a car dealer to see how much we could get off a hail dented Nissan – a car which we are hoping to purchase for next year’s storm chase, deciding that owning our own vehicle is going to be preferable to renting from now on. IT’s such an exciting prospect and will mean we can finally eat up the dirt roads and get even closer to the action! Found a cool looking camper at the VW dealer next door too.



After falling in love with a Nissan Rogue and deciding this would definitely be our car of choice, we jumped back in Boom and headed west to try to catch some marginal storms in Wyoming. The set up was fairly weak due to a lack of lift in the area, but all other ingredients seemed to be in place and the CAMs (convective allowing models) had continued to break out storms across numerous model runs. It also would take us closer to the following days stronger set up in northern Montana.

We drove though North Dakota and on into South Dakota, stopping in the town of Spearfish to pick up a few snacks and gifts, then continued to Gillette in Wyoming. One cell had popped up further south, but it wasn’t really amounting to much. As we approached Gillette we were still under blue skies but we saw on radar that convection was starting to fire over the mountains and we made a quick decision to head on towards Buffalo to check it out.

However, on the way there, we noticed 2, then 3 amazing looking updrafts out to our west go up. When the mountain guff didn’t amount to much, we decided to about turn and focus on the storms we could see. We pulled off the Interstate to get some pics and take in the awesome view of these wedding cake looking discrete updrafts in an otherwise beautiful blue sky.

Wedding Cakes

Wedding Cake Pano

The storm behind us that had rolled off the mountains wasn’t looking too shabby either and had some interesting wavy features.

LP bits

We watched each of the 3 cells as they rolled past. Although some rotation was evident in a couple of the storms, the bases were too high to warrant any real tornado threat. We saw some great CGs though and with the sun setting, were able to take some cool photos playing with our shadows out under the stormy skies.


Our now extended family of Mr Pilks, Owlly, Laser duck, Musty and Moosey joined us to watch the last storm before we headed back up the road in eager anticipation of a dinner of quinoa balls and mac n’ cheese – a much welcomed treat after a Walmart night of cold beans, and a justified reward for another effort filled chase of some 500 miles or so.

The Herd


SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Fri June 2016

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Fri June 2016

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