The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By A.J. Etherington
From the Editor 

Storms,Time and International Borders

 


We were standing in a field looking at radar on an iPhone and trying to figure out our next move. The storm we wanted to chase was rapidly moving north into Canada, and I was without a passport. My companion wasn’t going to mention it but you could tell he was disappointed that we were going to miss out on that particular storm.

So, Sean Heavey and I made our way south out of Whitewater and back towards Saco. We kept anxiously checking the radar as a supercell was “blowing up” outside Malta and moving eastward as quickly as we could drive south. It wasn’t long before we were determined to chase that storm. This was unlike any chase we had done together to date.

Usually when we set out to find a storm, Sean spends the better part of a week scouting models and picking projected activity. As the storm day grows nearer he makes the determination on where to go and when. Most of the time he nails it, sometimes we come up short and sometimes we skip it. Like the night before when we skipped out on chasing a storm near Plentywood that would turn into a macroburst and spawn a tornado. I, for one, was not as upset about missing out on that storm.

Sean on the other hand was starting to second guess his decisions and being behind a storm that was proving epic on the radar was truly starting to bother him. So we chased. And we chased. Soon pictures were being texted from Glasgow showing a massive wall cloud barreling straight for the town we had driven out of only three hours earlier. It was disappointing for sure. We started to doubt we could catch up as we had only made it to just the other side of Hinsdale, somewhere near Tampico Road.

But we kept going. Finally we broke through the rain and hail just west of Glasgow and made our way through town towards Nashua. We kept moving and the storm began to chase us. We rolled forward stopping near Frazer to try for a shot at the shelf, but we were rapidly pushed back into our cars by a gust front that was clocking winds in excess of 80 mph. In Wolf Point we were forced to stop for gas, but managed to only put in four gallons before the storm loomed down on us and that same gust front blew the awning over with a crack. We decided to forgo filling the tank thinking the awning would crash down upon us.

We continued on towards Poplar and finally put enough space between ourselves and the storm to capture images and take our time. The picture on the front page demonstrated the power of this storm as not one but two cells merged to form a wall cloud that resembled a figure eight. It was as Sean put it, “insanity.”

We continued to move in front of the storm capturing images before letting it blow over while we waited for sunset. The light faded and we made our way back to Glasgow. It was not the most intense chase I had attended with Sean, but it was definitely unique and required more determination than anything to run down a storm that had every intention of beating us to the border.

It wasn’t all good though. That storm we abandoned at the border. The one we let go because I failed to have a passport. Well let’s just say it spawned a series of tornados that apparently were quite photogenic.

Editor's note: Storm chasing is not recommended by the National Weather Service and can be dangerous. It is best to follow all Weather Service severe weather warning instructions.

 

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