PHOTOS: Weekend Storm Chasing In North Dakota
Aidan and I love to chase storms in the summer. Usually, nothing is too crazy until July or August, but we had full-on, intense summer storms yesterday. What I thought was going to be a little afternoon storm chasing trip to Jamestown, turned into a late-night chase around much of eastern North Dakota.
Aidan's more into storm chasing than I am, so he was prepared to go far and wide for weather action. He was following Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer's ND storm chasing posts, had a storm chasing app downloaded, and was ready to go. We took-off for Jamestown around 1:30 PM or so, but when we got there, things weren't looking so promising. The sky was only a little gray, clouds were hardly moving, etc. Typical. The storms we chase almost always turn out to be nothing. But Aidan was determined to see something good.
So, we kept heading towards Fargo. Now, I am a terrible co-pilot because I always fall asleep on long car rides. So, I napped, and Aidan navigated the storm course with his storm chasing app. After my cat nap, I woke to up to see that we were no longer heading towards Fargo. "The storm changed its path, it's heading towards Mayville, now!" Aidan said. I was not expecting what was to come. Remember, almost every storm we chase is either weak or fizzles out.
We got to Mayville and decided to grab dinner - it was after 6:00 PM at this point, and we'd still seen nothing but gray skies. We got pizza to-go and parked by a field outside of town, hoping the storm would start to stir while we stuffed our faces. No such luck, but not 30 minutes later, while we were on the road again, the storm ran right over us.
I don't get scared of storms, but I thought a tornado was running by. Aidan was checking the weather and told me the wind was blowing at 70 mph. We could only see the road right below us, it started to hail, stuff was flying by, and I thought the car could possibly be lifted off the ground. It was terrifying and thrilling.
After that event, we moseyed back, taking mostly back roads to Bismarck. We hit another patch of near-tornadic winds, with almost not visibility. We came across an eerie wind turbine farm, creepy houses, and towns we'd never heard of. After everything calmed down, we caught a glimpse of the sunset hiding behind the clouds and lighting danced across the sky the whole trip back to Bismarck.
Check out pictures from our weekend of social distancing in North Dakota: