June 20, 2023 - North Dakota


Nick Nolte / Blog, Storm Chasing / / 0 Comments / Like this

June 20th was the week I finally decided to head out and roam the plains for a whole week. While I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular, it did appear we’d get storms everyday for the next five days, so that’s pretty good. Anyway, way up north a cool front was extending from Northern North Dakota down into South Dakota. As the upper level energy began to encroach on the Northern Plains it appeared there’d be a decent chance at severe weather.

SPC 1630z Day 1 outlook

SPC had outlined the frontal area as a slight risk as well as a sind shift line back into Montana. While I wasn’t expecting tornadoes, I was hoping to see some of those fabled high plains supercells that we so often see as July approached.

I drove to Pierre the previous afternoon because a four drive in the morning to Bismarck sounded better than a nine hour drive from Grand Island. I took off from Pierre just after 15z and began a mostly unnecessary trip to Bismarck. I went up north as I expected more backing to the surface flow up there and mesoanalysis was showing higher 3km CAPE further north. A mesoscale discussion was issued at 20z outlining an area stretching from Minot to almost North Platte. Visible satellite at the time had a couple of areas where I was expecting initiation.

North and Northeast of Bismarck was a nice cumulus field as well as south to Pierre. Maybe we shoulda stayed in Pierre? As 22z approached cells starting going up in both areas and I decided to play the south stuff.

Bismarck radar at 2253z with location marked

When I drove to Pierre I took the scenic route up the west side of the river, and now that chase mode was on I drove back south down the east side.

While the storms looked pretty, this was about as good as they got and I played around with them for a little bit before driving back to Pierre to prepare for the next day, when the real chasing began!

Chase Recap

Pierre, SD @ 20/1526ZPierre, SD @ 21/0147Z10 hours, 21 minutes


Chase Map

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