A Look Back At Saturday's Storms
by Angela Schilling, Meteorologist
May 06, 2012 8:21 PM
It’s been a year of flip flopping, feeling like spring towards the end of winter and now feeling like summer time during the end of April beginning of May. Along with summertime weather in the Great Plains comes the potential for severe storms. On Saturday conditions were right for severe weather to occur, lots of moisture and lots of turning in the atmosphere. Even though we didn’t see any tornadoes, severe storms brought heavy rain, large hail, and gusty winds to the area.
It is unusual for us to see severe weather in the morning, but it is not unheard of. Typically we’ll have a cold front swing through which will flush out all of the moisture and fuel for the storms overnight, but this past week we were in a very stalled and soupy environment, allowing storms to continue to fire up both in the evening and morning hours. By Saturday morning large hail was the main story, with reports up to golf ball and baseball size hail in Mitchell, which is definitely large enough to do some damage to one’s car. By midday Saturday, Flash Flood Watches were in effect, with flooding already an issue in Lake County…but that would only be the precursor for later that afternoon. Round two of severe weather came in the evening and hung around through about 5 am Sunday morning. Once again the main threats were large hail, heavy rain, and damaging winds. Even though we didn’t get any tornadoes, gusty winds in association with several gust fronts caused damage in several locations, uprooting trees and even blowing off a roof in Flandreau. Multiple Flash Flood Warnings were in effect by Saturday night, hitting many of the same locations from earlier Saturday morning. As a matter of fact Mitchell broke it’s old maximum daily record for precipitation on Saturday. The old record was 2.06 inches set back in 2007, the new record is 3.03 inches. Madison saw heavy rains as well, with flash flooding causing problems for residents. Now that Flash Flood Watches are over with, now we’re dealing with actual Flood Warnings, with some of our rivers and streams approaching flood stage.
***Preliminary reports from Saturday morning through Saturday night. You can see what direction the storms followed with a line of hail reports in a west to east line from about Pierre to western Minnesota, and then up and down the I-29 corridor and into Ortonville. Saturday morning the storms moved due east, while by Saturday night the storms had a little bit of a northerly component to them.
green = hail blue = wind
***The bulk of the rain fell just to the north of I-90 and along and east of the
24 hour rain totals through Sunday morning....with severe storms rain totals can
vary significantly just within a small number of miles, for example while at the Brookings airport
we received .79 inches, an observer reported 2.47 inches.
This shows the different rivers throughout the area and their proximity to flood stage.
The ones in red represent moderate flooding, while the ones in orange represent minor
flooding...green means no flooding. The circles or dots are larger rivers, while the boxes
or squares are creeks or streams. The Big Sioux near Dell Rapids is at minor flood stage,
while a creek in Pipestone is showing moderate flooding, which is an improvement from early
Sunday morning. The James River near Mitchell (along I-90) is also showing signs of minor flooding.
Major Flooding from Sunday morning, now moderate
The good news is not much rain is in the forecast over the next several days, with plenty of dry air and a huge ridge of high pressure building into the region, this week will be quite mild...make sure to stay tuned to KDLT and KDLT.com for the very latest.