Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Iowa Tornadoes

Dave Mayhew, Tyler Allison, John Volmer and I had an itching to chase. So we did. Tomorrow was going to be the big day but we might as well try to make the most out of today. We could make Nebraska in time for storms. I was not impressed with the forecast winds but there was a warm front that had been active and the storms that would fire near it today should travel along it. So we headed out after John had a meeting at the DuPage EOC.

I figured we could make Des Moines by 4 PM and Omaha by 5:30. But instead, a storm forming along the river of the IA/NE border grabbed my attention. We headed south on 59 and aimed at that storm. Within about 15 minutes of our arrival, the storm was tor'd with a spotter report just on the NE side of the river. We got it about 15 minutes later and watched a fairly disorganized storm. It had a well defined clear slot but we were unable to figure which updraft might produce the tornado. There were a few regions of ascent apparent. We stayed with the storm as it moved east when I saw a brief spin up beneath cloud base. Tornado one near Malverne.
We stayed with it a little while and as the hook on GRLevel3 got better, so did the storm. Tyler saw it first and it was on the ground about 5 minutes.

After it lifted, we kept with the storm and again saw it cycle up a bit. We watched it near the town of Emerson.
We followed the storm further east but although the inflow increased, the storm looked outflow dominant. Radar showed large scale rotation which is what it looked like to us. We left it.

A few minutes afterward we heard a report of a tornado right where we had left. I am doubtful of that report although the wind in the RFD could have been strong. Oh well...lots of rain and things that were tough to spot. We saw a few good ones tonight and more might be on the way tomorrow.



wxman said...

That was a great chase..The pics are also awesome..Iowa just can't a break serious flooding is a main concern for the people out there..Parkersburg is also affected, they just can't take too much they just been struck by a destructive tornado and then this flooding.Hope they overcome this situation..they experiencing..Thanks for sharing a great chase story..

DM said...

Great blog!

I was chasing that day and we nearly gave up on this storm when we saw a huge shelf cloud near Red Oak, but the storm kept showing rotation and then it went nuts...and hidden behind this shelf cloud, buried in the rain:

Near the town of Vilasca is where we got a view of the occluding updraft...and the RFD was incredible...carving out a nice round meso and powerful gust front.
It produced more tornadoes after that!

Take care,

Dick McGowan