Breton July 13 Chase: Almost-nado

I’ve been a bit late getting these next posts up but with Art Walk, Astral Harvest & Chalk It Up on 118 (plus 4 chases!), July has been crazy busy. Time to catch up and review.

On July 1st, There was a severe warned storm in the Red Deer area and Kim & I decided to try to head down and meet up with Chris and Beth who were both chasing southwest of that area in Water Valley. We got a bit of a late start and only made it to Red Deer before things started to fall apart. We did have a nice drive and got a shake at Peters’.  Despite the lack of a good storm, Kim caught the chase bug. She even installed Radarscope on her phone. 🙂

July 1 Red Deer

On July 13th, the morning report from FOCN looked quite good and Nevin and I made plans to head south early. I left work at noon and we hit the road around 1pm. (and yes, Kim joined us)


Nevin converted my Tucson into a chase vehicle.


Official Prairie Storm Chaser for a Day 🙂

We headed south and west and ended up staging in the Buck Lake area as it had a good view of storms to the north and the south. Beth and some other chasers were on the storms to the south as well and they were looking good for a while. The great thing about chasing these days is that between Twitter, Radarscope (and Nevin’s contacts) it’s much easier to put yourself in a good place to catch storms.

Nevin & Kim keeping an eye on radar, text & Twitter near Buck Lake.

We spent about half an hour waiting to see what was going to go and it became clear that the show was going to be in the Drayton Valley area.

Tops going up near Drayton Valley.

It became very clear as we got closer to Drayton Valley that we’d made the right choice.  We headed over the bridge into town and just off to the west we saw things really starting to take shape.


Storm with visible rotation starting on the west side of Drayton Valley.

By this time (around 4:30), a tornado watch had been issued for the area. We watched things start to develop  but as the rotation was basically right above us, we beat a hasty retreat. Something the Global TV cameraman who set up just down the road from us should have done. Apparently he got nailed with baseball sized hail. (Don’t chase if you don’t know what you’re doing!)

We crossed back east over the North Saskatchewan and then headed south a couple of kilometers.

Inflow just southeast of Drayton Valley.

This chase was the first time I was able to use my new intervalometer for my Nikon and I was able to catch this cool sequence of the inflow.

Right around this time, Beth, who had abandoned the southern storms,  rolled up and spent a bit of time with us. This was the first time I’d seen her since ChaserCon last fall and the first time I’d been on a chase (if briefly) with her. Kim was also excited to finally meet her.

Beth , Nevin and Kim South East of Drayton around 17:20.

Just after the above photo was taken, a tornado was spotted just outside of Breton at around 17:30, just a few kilometers from where we were. but we didn’t know at the time.

Despite the huge size of the supercell (Nevin said it was once of the biggest he’d ever seen in the Edmonton area), we did not quite ever see the classic mothership. That being said, there were some lovely formations.


As close as we got to a mothership. Rotation visible. though. Highway 616 south of Sunnybrook 18:00


Pano near Wizard Lake. 18:50


By 7pm, the storm had pushed us east all the way across the QEII and into the Millet area. Note to all those golfers on the Millet links. When you see a cloud like this, it’s best to head inside

Pano south of Millet around 19:00

Oh, and that tornado? It was brief and we were in the wrong place to see it. But it’s in this photo. Right behind the tall tree in the lower right a couple of kilometers away (ish).


17:32 Highway 616 south of Warburg.


My final timelapse of the day also probably caught it.

Rain wrapped…trees…Sometimes (most?) you don’t get to see a tornado.

But as Nevin said…



  1. Pingback: Epic Chase – Turbulent Skies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.