May 24th, 2012 - WI severe weather setup, Shelf Cloud day

The day started in Eau Claire, WI outside the Days Inn we stayed at.  My chase partner Jon Williamson took his car to the shop early in the morning and got the power supply all taken care of so we'd be good to go with data and such.  SO, it was a matter of waiting, as we were in prime position for the 10% moderate risk setup day.

We stopped to gas up and ran into Reed Timmer and his crew with the Dominator 2.  Always a good sign, since Reed is pretty much the tornado whisperer.

We went off and found ourselves a nice spot with a great, open view and waited a few hours for storms to start rolling in.  We cranked up the classical music station and enjoyed the fresh air.

Storms started to pop, though in a linear fashion, and we were worried we would not be able to get on a discreet cell, but rather would have a linear mess.  We decided to re-position northeast a little bit as the storms made their way east to us, and as we pulled up to the storm, it started to look really intriguing.  

We pulled over and a gorgeous shelf cloud type of structure started to roll in.

The storm was moving quickly, so we pulled east away from it so we wouldn't get run over by the menacing looking core.  I looked up and saw a shnib of cloud that looked like a corkscrewing funnel.  I had my head cocked out the window and I said, "are you sh*tting me?" --- I didn't really believe it, but as we cruised down the road and I was taking photos, we passed a few chasers that were pointing up and shouting, "FUNNEL!"

I believe it could have been, as sometimes funnels can spin off the leading edge of line segments, but it certainly was brief if it was indeed a funnel.

The storm really was gorgeous...

The view was really awesome, ever changing and visually stunning.

We pulled over after crossing a little lake to get a view of the well developed shelf cloud structure.

We saw the best of the structure start to unravel and we dropped down to the next cell in the line.  There was a lot of upward motion bringing moisture up to the storm, sucking up clouds - very cool.

There was a lot of messiness going on, as the storms were merging with new blips forming out in front of it, and everything was blasting out a huge gusty mess.  But, it's sure fun to look at.  

The storms started to weaken significantly even though they were separating from each other in the line.  With the increasingly challenging chase terrain in northern WI, we decided to call the chase and head home.  By the time we got to Madison we saw that one of the cells had regained strength somehow, and was actually tornado warned.  A police officer reported a tornado, and a few chasers caught highly rain-wrapped fleeting glimpses of the tornado, but I've yet to see clear images, and it was certainly not photogenic.  It ended up being rated EF0.

Overall, a decent way to end the chase trip, and chasing on the way home isn't bad, either.  :)