Saskatchewan is usually the butt of any Canadian telling a joke about geography and is not really seen as anything but a necessary, inevitable flat 7 hr drive to get to Manitoba or Alberta. However, it has now taken a piece of my heart with what it has given us in terms of severe weather.
Each time the storms decided to come to this side of the border, the storms would flirt with both Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Each time they would roll into Manitoba, they would immediately fall apart and we might get a couple of pop-ups here and there, but little supercell activity. To play it safe, and for the “better’ payoff, we almost always drove the extra couple of hours to get to SK where most of the potential seemed to want to be.
This one particular chase, we had gone to North Dakota the day before based on the models leading up to our chase. It all showed the best updraft, the best thermodynamics and the best “sigtor” (Significant Tornado) model runs that we had seen. Midday the next day, the models had shifted to our North West in Saskatchewan, so naturally, we followed, crossing at Portal,ND. We had run into the beginnings of a supercell thunderstorm that quickly died off. We were losing hope and sanity. There was activity that looked decent on radar by the SK/MB border but we were still a few hours away. We wouldn’t have made it had we gone for it. Cells slowly started popping up around 4 PM and we had a little more to work with.
Closer to 6 we had run into a few promising cells and were just south of Regina. At that point, we were also watching a cell out of reach from us around Portal, ND where we crossed earlier that looked downright tasty. Que the feeling of wishing we had just stayed!
We may not have gotten a tornado, however, I was able to capture the epitome of “lightning”. This beautiful, frequent CtG strikes mixed with crawlers under a low precipitation supercell that was 45 minutes away from dying off. Sitting less than half an hour South of Regina on Hwy 6.
For those 45 minutes, we shot on intervals getting absolutely wasted by the overpopulation of mosquitoes. We were all covered head to toe in bites. I still have discolourations from where I scratched way too much. But I also have the photos we got that day.
Our SK adventures didn’t begin or end with the lightning, but it is my absolute favourite. See below for honourable mentions.