Storms initiated at around 1pm for Eastern Idaho near Burley,ID. Instability and upper air dynamics were impressive for this area of Eastern Idaho. I headed out at 1:15pm, headed south along i-15, driving 80-84 mph since speed limit is 80. Depending if I was focusing on driving or watching cloud features depended on how fast or slow I went. Noticed a few updrafts, could tell today would be promising to say the least. I noticed as I got closer to the storm south of 86 near Arbon Valley,ID that the Anvil almost had a stacked appearance. I thought to myself, haven’t seen that before. I eventually got to a good location, The Arbon Valley exit off 86.
The storm had supercellular structure and was occasionally putting out a wall cloud. Timelapse did show the whole storm rotating, however the wall cloud kept dissipating. Storm eventually grew into an amazing storm. However, I was relying on radar way too much. By the time I realized I waited too long, the storm had gained at least 15 miles away from me. I then proceeded to catch up on the storm and did so in Chubbuck,ID where I was pounded with 1.50″ hail. I thought for a second my windshield would break. But got lucky. Again my reliance on radar came to fool me again, rather than pay attention to clouds, I saw what appeared to be a better organized storm to the east. Again I headed towards Arbon Valley Exit, but I was only pelted by dime to nickel sized hail.
Radar seemed to be behind by a few minutes and my chase was soon over because the storms moved into Higher terrain. Here is a little information that should explain the problem. I recently switched carriers, my phone seemed to not switch into 4g mode to update for every radar scan. My previous carrier was verizon and I never had issues. Plus I watched the clouds more. This chase just left me wondering if I lost my touch on catching up to storms, getting into position properly, etc. It was really a let down and I can only blame myself. I saw the structure itself, but once I saw radar with a potential better storm behind it, I figured that one would do the trick. But I was wrong.
The storm I had initially targeted eventually formed into the perfect supercell, on radar at least. The lack of storm reports except for hail to 1.50″ makes me wonder if anyone saw that perfect structure. The second storm also put on a classic supercell presentation on radar and seemed to have a hook echo. But whether it had a wall cloud, I will never know. The potential quickly died out due to towers going up everywhere and storms going fully widespread into a literal mess. The day I had hoped for eventually faded away and I was heading home to edit footage to see what all I got.
It wasn’t a bad chase, I got the structure I wanted and the hail. But the perfect setup quickly faded. I had hoped for these 2 storms to stay isolated and just track northeast through the Snake River Plain. They could have been the best storms I had ever seen, but it will have to happen on another day. The severe thunderstorm watch for moderate 2″ hail and winds to 70mph. The upper air dynamics and instability was perfect for Eastern Idaho. The storms did well until they reached Pocatello and then it was a mess. I will never forget this day. It was fun, but a let down because I made a mistake. That mistake was not following the sky and staying focused on radar. Something I wont do again. I hope.
Thanks for reading.
-Gerrit of severeidaho.com.