Supercell and Hail in Montana

Chase Map
Date: June 11, 2016
Chase Partners: Jon Stone, Alex Schueth, Zack Cooper
Chasers Encountered: Bart Comstock, Mike Scantlin, Connor McCrorey, Alec Scholten, Shanda Hinnant, Kevin Rolfs, Tom Smentana
Miles: Driven: 1,515 Miles
Severe Risk: SPC Outlooks
States Visited: KS, MT, NE, ND, OK, SD
Weather Encountered:
Good Structure, Hail, Severe Wind


Chase Narrative: 

Looking back upon it, this was probably a poor decision to chase ND/MT, but the NAM and GFS was showing quite the potent setup near the International Border for a couple of days, so I decided on Friday to leave Norman about 7 pm and drive up with Zack and Jon to York where we picked up Alex. We drove all night, surprisingly I stayed awake just fine until about Rapid City.

We hit a deer between Winner and Presho in South Dakota, but the damage was mostly cosmetic, not mechanical and after some zip ties and pulling crap off the car, we were back on the road to Montana. Every time we pulled into a city or stopped anywhere, however, the rest of the trip we would get these weird stares of people looking at my smashed up car. Who lets a little deer accident slow them down?

Anyway, we made it to Bowman, ND and had lunch at a subway before heading west and setting up shop just a little west of Baker MT in a pull off. I think I tried to sleep for a bit, but laying down and resting my eyes felt good enough while we waited for storms to fire.

And fire they did. In the radar hole in SE MT, directly to our south. We headed back to Baker where Jon had to stop and use the rest room and then south. Sadly, radar was deceptive and it seemed like 2 separate storms instead of 1 storm that split. We chose the more intense looking one as we followed on back roads just south of where we had sat all day. The wall cloud was obviously on the north side, and it was traveling much faster than the right split, but I ignored all of these signs.

We chased the left split to the west near Miles City, MT before heading up to try and intercept again on I-94 and then turning around to look at what we thought were better storms to the sw again near Miles City.

It was about then that tornado reports from Baker came in, and even some photos. That was quite a demoralizer.

We got pizza hut in Miles City and dropped south to Gillette for the night. We had busted and driven 18 hours to do so.