Twin Cities Metro Supercell, May 10th, 2011

So this was kind of an odd day. We had really low expectations, so we planned a few side trips to prevent the day from being a total waste of time if nothing happened. We stopped by North Mississippi Park to check out the Great Blue Heron rookery, and saw a few orioles too.   More on that in another post.  We headed up to Albertsville, so Kristen could enjoy some shopping, while we waited for storms hopefully might form in the area. Eventually, the storms fired south and west of us, so we picked the southern storm. Here’s a view of it as it approached Buffalo, MN.

Thunderstorm over Buffalo Lake

Thunderstorm over Buffalo Lake

Unfortunately, the storms kept dying, and we kept hopping southeast from storm to storm waiting for one to take off. Of course, right as we are getting back into the metro loop, a storm near Albertsville (where we started) takes root and puts down a tornado.  Eventually made our way to a storm in Eden Prairie.  It went tornado warned right over Hennepin County. It took quite the search of the southern side of this larger, semi-split storm to find the updraft.  We eventually found a really odd skinny updraft quite a ways away from the precipitation.  I wasn’t even sure if it was the updraft of the Eden Prairie storm, or just a little flanking line storm that wasn’t on radar. Eventually, when we got close enough and stopped driving, it became apparently that this skinny little updraft was rotating quite a bit. It had very brief skinny funnels, but of more interest was the rounded base it was developing over Edina. The is one of those storms that produces crazy color. This storm made everything a greenish yellow, similar to the color of a tungsten light bulb.

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It seemed to fall apart as it moved further north, but as soon as we got into heavy traffic with no place to stop, it produced a more “serious” funnel off the southwest corner of the base. I’m not sure if it’s the same funnel that people saw “over Lake Calhoun”, but I though we were going to have a bad situation with a tornado touchdown in the metro. Fortunately, the funnel fell apart after a few minutes and the whole updraft seem to being following it’s lead. We continued to follow up up to Minneapolis, where is seemed to be dying in the setting sun.

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