August 28, 2016 Manitoba Bell-Shaped Supercell

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Ahhh yes, August 28th. 2016 was a kind year to us, we had seen 16 tornadoes, including two EF4’s and one arguable EF5 (rated EF3 because it didn’t cause much damage). Back in Manitoba for the summer storm season and it did not disappoint, but you really had to pick your days. In fact, if you didn’t chase every Near Zero Probability setups, you likely missed most of the best storms that year. August 28th was an example of this.

Surface observations at 1:00 pm CDT

It was a typical late-summer setup for Manitoba, with a warm front extending across the province in the early afternoon hours. Later in the day, a cold front would come through and initiate some supercells (hopefully). There was a very warm and humid airmass in place, but some pretty strong cap in the low levels, which would mean elevated storms were likely. However, if a storm could go surface-based, say in the evening, it would be pretty awesome.

Severe thunderstorm watch in yellow

A severe thunderstorm watch was issued fairly early in the morning for most of southern Manitoba. I was chasing with a friend Keane Kokolsky on this day. We headed out and sat in a field in the early afternoon and waited for the cold front to do its thing. While sitting in the warm sector, “turkey towers” went up on the cold front and trolled us for a good hour. Some storm chasers actually went back home to Winnipeg after this. Keane wanted to do the same and call it quits, but I told him, let’s be patient, just a bit more. We both agreed to wait 30mins more before leaving.

Around 7pm CDT, the cold front got closer to us and started firing some pretty intense storms near the border. Below you can see the cold front near Minot, ND and the storms firing. This storm actually had a hook echo on it for quite some time.

7pm CDT Doppler radar reflectivity

Below is the storm intensifying and developing a hook echo around 7:30pm:

7:37pm CDT Doppler radar reflectivity

It is important to note that there were actually too targets on this day. The daylight storms in Manitoba and the tornado threat after dark near Grand Forks. We obviously favoured the daylight supercells in Manitoba and it paid off big time, but there were some of our friends that scored a few tornadoes near Grand Forks after dark on this day!

As we got closer to the storm east of Deloraine, MB, you tell me if we made the right call that day:

We bagged a textbook “bell-shaped” supercell! Of all places, in Manitoba.

This thing was impressive and left us both in awe while we admired the beauty of this supercell.

We followed it east as daylight began to fad and the storm quickly lost its photogenic shape. We got a nice sunset out of it tho:

This will remain in our memories for a long time and thought us an important lesson: be patient. Patience is a virtue and storm chasing is probably the best way to test/develop your patience throughout the years.



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