Day 7 - All Mixed Up

07 June 2011

We awoke in Burlington, in the relative luxury of a Super 8 in Burlington. For any eagle eyed readers, yes, we did stay in Burlington last year, but that was Burlington, Colorado; this was Burlington, Iowa. When we were driving here yesterday we had some distance to travel. Cambo asked how far we were away, and it so happened that we were 130 miles away. Prize to the first person who knows why that's a coincidence!?

Today's set up was always going to be a difficult one. We knew well that Montana was going to be the place to be, but driving for 22 hours in shifts to get there as the storms kicked off, wasn't on the cards. So we decided to target a location in South Dakota where the parameters looked superb, but the cap was likely to be too strong.

We headed towards Aberdeen, SD, another place we'd already seen this trip. Amazing how you can end up in the same small town twice, out of so much land, in such a small trip. That is unless you consider how few people live here!

After a reasonable drive we neared our target area, and excitement mounted as some towers started in front of us.

 

We thought for a fateful time that this would be a change of luck. The tower seemed to have good momentum and in our hopeful optimism it seemed to have already risen above the expected cap. However this hope faded. Each time it tried, the towers growth would fade and it would simply become a "tall cloud". In this case, the nature of the cap wasn't the temperature profile being wrong, but instead the prevalence of an "elevated mixed layer". Without going into too much detail, this basically means there is a layer of air aloft that is very dry. As the process of condensation that powers these clouds hits the dryer air, it stops condensing, simply because the moisture dissipates, so the air is dryer, so condensation is less likely to occur. 

We could see this process recurring as we watched, and gradually our hopes faded as the atmosphere seemingly tired of its efforts.

We established our target for the next day wasn't far away, so we headed for the "most industrialised city in North Dakota", Wahpeton. We pulled up in a Walmart car park there, and established that it was 8pm and there was almost nothing to do. We watched with a slightly sick feeling as a friend in Montana chased what looked to be some amazing storms.

It seemed like we needed a beer. We went into Walmart. No beer. Oh well. We found a closed liquor store so decided to head to the next town north, Grand Forks. No beer here either. What North Dakota lacks in beer, it does make up for in beautiful scenery. Unfortunately it was now dark, so beer would have been better... 

Tomorrow's outlook looked good though, so we sorted out some photos and bedded down to get a good night's sleep, ever looking forward to things getting "worse" the next day!

 

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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Tue June 2011

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Tue June 2011

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