7/17/2015 Sisseton, SD Extreme Hail Storm & Tornado Warned Storm

Wow what a fun day of storm chasing on a great setup in a perfect chasing area in eastern South Dakota.  The only down side for the day was my late start from home since I was waiting on a part for the Jeep to fix the vacuum leak. 

Once the new purge solenoid was installed, I needed to take the truck on a long drive to test it out and what better way to test it than to storm chase?  I headed up to Sauk Centre and then west on 28 and then over towards Sisseton, SD.  What was incredible about this chase day was the visibility and how far I could see.  When I drove down Highway 28 into Glenwood, MN, I could see the storm forming in South Dakota.  When I looked at the map plotted my position to the storm, I was 80 miles away from it and I could still see the base of the storm. 

As soon as I crossed over the boarder into South Dakota, the storm became tornado warned and Nick and Amanda were already on the storm and said they were seeing large hail and incredible structure.  Being late for the show, I was not expecting to see such an intense updraft on the east side of the storm but this is what greeted me north of Sisseton. 

The photo is from my phone and the video and time lapse of this is just intense.  I waited around for a while and even talked to a man that lived just behind where I was parked and explained to him that he might be in for some hail but this storm was moving to the southeast and there was a very low chance of his farm getting hit by a tornado, while there was a better chance of the hail, high winds and heavy rain.

After leaving this area I ended up where there were a lot of other chasers on the south east side of the storm and saw that Nick and Amanda were on the west side of the storm avoiding the hail core.  Eric Whitehill and I passed each other on the road and talked briefly on the phone and Eric told me that he was avoiding the monster hail.  So seeing that this storm was not likely to produce a tornado and only be a hailer, I pulled a card ouf of the "Laubach Chaser Hand Book" and drove into the core.  At first I did not see any hail and turned around and headed back east.  Upon heading east and ending up back to where the chaser convergence was before, there was nobody around and now the baseballs started falling from the sky. 

The most intense part of the day was when Nick and Amanda stopped to say hi after the first hail core hit my truck and moved on.  We were checking out huge hail stones when all we heard was CRACK-BOOM and lightning struck a power pole about 100 yards away from us.  That was intense!!!  We ended up meeting up again just across the Minnesota state line to watch the vivid lightning show and wait out the storm moving off to the east so we did not have to drive in the rain to go home.