I am beside myself and speechless at today's events. What an unbelievable day. Our hearts are with the victims in Pilger, NE. Scroll through below to see my images from the day. AMAZING.
Skip's face after seeing the helicity projection. "It's like a bazillion jazillion helicity!"
SO! We started the day in Yankton, SD and decided to head north of there to play the setup near the warm front with lower LCL's. We were met with a strong storm showcasing a ton of lightning (at its closest approach I was hiding in the car!) - and it had a really beautiful shelf cloud.
Here we are, taking a "Shelfie."
Our mascot, "What," the Duck.
Phil enjoying the view:
Suddenly, we realized that there was a rapidly maturing supercell that had exploded well south of us near Pilger, NE. We frantically left and blasted south to try for the intercept.
We had ourselves a PDS tornado watch as well:
Updated tornado probabilities upgraded to a 15% hatched area:
We were driving south desperately trying to catch this supercell that went from a blip on the radar to a huge, tornado warned supercell in a very short amount of time. We had to punch through the storm's core to get into position, which makes for a little bit of a nerve-wracking situation because of the possibility of large hail, and trying to manage your position with the projected position of the storm. It limits visibility until you can break through the precip on the southern edge of the core / forward flank.
After we broke through the rain, we finally had a faint visual and it looked like the biggest wedge I could imagine. I exclaimed, "It looks like the biggest wedge I've ever seen."
In reality, as we got a little further south, we realized it was actually two, twin wedges that were on the ground simultaneously. We stopped to watch the storm and determine its motion.
At this point we realized that it was time to move, as Skip noticed the mesocyclone was starting to move overhead and there was a new rotation coming our way.
We ended the day with some dinner with friends, though I was so in awe over the day, I couldn't bring myself to eat.
Update: All of the large tornadoes were rated EF-4 by the National Weather Service.