Day 8 - Grand Fork ups and smelly pig farms

08 June 2011

Woke up in Castle Walmart, Fargo, North Dakota to bright blue skies. This is the more typical morning weather we are used to rather than morning storms. We really hoped that today would play out like theory suggests with a scorching hot morning and afternoon / evening storms. We pootled around for a while, updating blog, snoozing in the sunshine and eating pistachios. This Walmart was the best one we'd been in as they sold the cheesy bread we had come to know and love last trip but has since become somewhat of a mystery product to the current day Walamrt bakers. Surely this was a good sign?

We looked at the updated models around lunchtime and decided to head about an hour north to what appeared a slightly mroe preferable position given the days play. Today was quite an exciting set up it seemed. There was a new area of low pressure to our west that was forecast to track northeast through the day, across the Dakotas and up into northern Minnesota. This is the same new area of low pressure that caused the severe weather outbreak the day previous in Montana.

We drove to a city called Grand Forks on the North Dakota / Minnesota border and found an awesome park to have lunch in and demolishing nearly a whole loaf of cheesy bread.


The sky remained clear with little sign of any break in the notable cap. The Storm Prediction Centre then issued an update to their prior forecast and it now looked like the action was going to be a little further south. Three cells had in fact fired up further to the south and had been tracking east for nearly an hour. However they held little appear with their low tops not yet reaching the tropopause (a layer of air high up in the atmosphere that similar to a cap, is slightly warmer than the air below it and therefore inhibits the clouds rising any further. It is at this level that the anvil and start spreading sideways. At this point, you know you are onto a good cell). Anyway, these cells were nowhere near this level but we decided to head in  a general southerly direction, going on the SPCs new threat area. It was at this point that we saw the TIV (tornado ... Vehicel that features on storm casers). This did tempt us to stick around in the area for a second, before we noticed in parked outside autocare. This vehicle is notoriously famous for continuously breaking down, so we kept on the road south.

Seriously, it was such a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky. This was just crazy.

We were still about 100 miles north of the southerly cells and there was not a cloud in the sky. It's so hard to know what to do in theis situation. Feeling like we'd bandoned our inital target zone of further north, we stopped there and turned back around. Those little cells south were the only thing down there and they looked so weak. If this really all the day had to offer, then we were going to hedge our bets with something further north.

The thing is the cap in this area of the northerm plains was just so strong it was inhibiting anything in the area from taking off. It was now nearing 8 o'clock local time. We stopped, completely muddled and without a clue which way to go. We decided to stick with heading North and drove through stinky pig farms. Then we decided North wasn't going to happen because the CIN was so high. Headed back south and once again through the stinky pig farms. And then North again. Stinky pig farms. The Cap had been so strong that day that on our way to find a bed for the night, we saw the remains of the little southerly cells that had fired up that day. The strength of the capping was actually forcing the remnants of the storm to trail across the sky horizontally rather than rise vertically. The atmosphere just didn't want to play today.

Saw a sunset. Got a motel and had a beer.

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

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

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Wed June 2011

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