Photogenic Storms Move Through Region
by Joel Young, Meteorologist/Reporter
August 05, 2012 12:00 AM
Friday night, much of the region was rocked by severe thunderstorms that caused quite a bit of damage. Here’s a screen capture of a radar image taken just after 7 P.M. Friday evening.
This line really seemed to intensify just east of the Mobridge area. It then developed into a line as it moved northwest to southeast. By the time this screen capture was taken, there were dozens of storm reports; and there were more to come. By 10 P.M., wind gusts had topped 75 mph in places like Mellette, Redfield, Turton, Madison, Mitchell, and Huron—just to name a few.
Throughout much of the night, the Hamlin County Sheriff’s Department was asking that no one travel in the Castlewood area due to downed trees and power lines. Other surrounding towns were affected, as well, including Rosholt, Ramona, and Madison.
Of course, on nights like these, as long as you do so safely; we ask that you try to send us pictures of what you are seeing. Here in the KDLT Weather Center, we have a lot of technology that we use to analyze these storms; but that can only do so much. We need pictures from viewers like you to confirm what we see on radar. With these pictures, we can better stress the urgency of situations to other viewers.
Many of you did that Friday night, and we greatly appreciate that! In fact, we were rather impressed by your photography skills! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to show all of them during our newscast; but we posted a ton of them on the KDLT News Facebook page. Here’s a look at several of those pictures with a brief description of what these clouds tell us.
These first two pictures are from Watertown, and were probably taken only a few moments before we took the screen capture of the radar image above. These pictures are of the same thing, but from two different perspectives. First of all, notice in the screen capture how a huge chunk of the line seems to be broken off, or advanced ahead of the rest of the line, right around Watertown. This is what you probably hear us refer to as a “bowing segment,” which is characterized by some of the strongest winds. In both of these pictures, you’re seeing the shelf cloud associated with the leading edge of the storm as it moves eastward. Immediately after the passing of this shelf cloud, you’ll often feel a blast of cold air. These are only a couple of the images we received from Watertown. You can find even more on our Facebook page.
These next two images both come from Brookings County. The image sent to us from Volga shows mammatus clouds, which is often found just ahead or behind a thunderstorm. What you are looking at is often hard to explain. Have you ever tried to hold a basketball or soccer ball underwater, then release it and watch it bobble up and down until it finally floats gently on the surface of the water? Well, these clouds are formed in a similar way, except with air—not water. As air moves up and down inside a thunderstorm, then makes its way to the outside; it “bounces” up and down until it can find a stable position in the atmosphere. That’s what you see here! They’re also really cool to look at with the sunset in the background, as you can see in the image from Bruce.
It isn’t difficult to figure out what you’re looking at in this image from Lake Brandt. It is difficult, however, to capture lightning in a picture; and this one is incredible!
Finally, another image that isn’t hard to explain—a rainbow. Something we often see at the end of a stormy day as the sun starts to shine on an area that has received a fair amount of rain. It’s something we’ve all been longing for, and although we are still thirsty for more; we are thankful for what we did get out of this system. With July proving to be one of the driest months on record, this isn’t a bad start to the new month. Here’s a look at the rainfall amounts we have seen thus far in August.