July 6, 2003

August 30, 2002

July 31, 2002 (could be August 1 or 2 - I didn't document this one)

June 23, 2002

Today I had some free time.

And any free time is a great time to go to my favorite place my home farm.

The previous two days, there had been severe weather in a number of locations in North Dakota.

Today was no exception as severe storms occurred this morning and severe storms were predicted to continue in the afternoon and evening.

Before heading out at 3:15 p.m., I checked the radar; storms were originating just north-northwest of my dad's farm.

As I arrived on the prairie at 3:45 p.m., I noticed the storm to the north-northwest, and also clouds to the southwest, west and northwest that looked like they could develop into a storm.

I started my hike. There's been enough rain where the landscape looks good it's green. Most of the rain has missed the region just to the south, and the pastures and crops there don't look good.

As I continued my hike, the clouds were rumbling and activity was starting to pick up. I could tell that the tops of the clouds were growing higher, indicating growing thunderstorms.

Sometime after 4:30 p.m., I finished a short hike and drove to another location. I wanted to hike in a half mile to a site where there were some wildflowers that I wanted to photographs.

However, I was worried that I would get to that location and get in a dangerous situation especially if the storm grew too fast.

So I drove in the half mile to my dad's pasture and I took off on my hike.

Soon, a cloud to the west started to "mushroom" with the southern end of the growing cloud mass almost directly overhead.

I thought the storm would quickly move north, and so I hiked on through some buckbrush and tall grass. As always, I glanced at my pants legs yuck there must have been 30+ ticks. I quickly brushed them off.

I considered abandoning my hike as the rumbling grew louder and more frequent.

After reaching the chosen location, I took some photographs, and quickly headed back to my vehicle.

I drove to a high location on the farm and watched the storm to the northwest, between Washburn and Wilton.

A possible wall cloud on the south side captured my attention for a long time. Wow what an awesome sight. Mother Nature can put on a show.

Most of the threatening weather was far enough north out of harm's way, and so I drove a 1.5 miles to the north and prepared for another hike.

However, as soon as I started, it was over. I had only hiked in about 1/4 mile, and clouds had again mushroomed from the west and then right over me.

The severe thunderstorm watch was "right on" as clouds were developing and movement was fast and furious.

Disappointed that my hike was over, I headed back to my vehicle and paused to watch the storm to the north. The wall cloud had a lot of movement, but no funnel.

Then I noticed what looked like another low hanging wall cloud to the west.

I drove to the home farm, but took several glances at the wall cloud, many, many miles to the west.

The weather radar on television showed lots of activity and lots of warnings. It also confirmed storms to the north, and another to the west.

I drove back out west one mile with my dad we looked at both storms the one to the north looked very active.

We then looked to the west, and couldn't see much activity there. Again, I could still see what looked like a wall cloud in that direction.

We turned around to drive to the farm. The clouds soon turned blue to the west, and what didn't look like any storm quickly developed into one to take cover from. Light rain started to fall as we neared the farm.

I dropped my dad off and drove to Bismarck. The storm grew in size, and moved to the south some.

A report from the radio indicated that golf ball size hail had fallen six miles west of Mandan, and so I quickly parked my vehicle in the garage.

I was soon glued to the television. A live shot of the storm indicated a funnel cloud and tornado to the north, between 6 and 9 miles north of Bismarck, the area I had just come from.

I called the farm there had been heavy rain but no hail. The storm quickly moved through and the sun was shining to the west.

The afternoon gave me proof of why I like the prairie so much.

The unpredictability of the weather I was hiking in the middle of where a lot of storms were developing and the beauty of the sky was awesome. I certainly respected what I saw.

And while I didn't see many wildflowers, the unpredictability of the weather made the hike exciting.


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