05.21.2004 Eastern Iowa Chase

Having my head in certain places leads me to a late departure and missing most of the action…

After getting home from running errands in Des Moines, I pull up the radar and much to my surprise am met with a very colorful screen. Numerous tornadoes have already been reported in Northern Iowa. After a quick online conference I decide to head to Eastern Iowa as storms forming near Fort Dodge seem to be falling apart. These later go on to produce the Bradgate, Iowa tornado, DOH!

Gathering up my chase gear I head north on Hwy 14 then east on I-80. Towering CU are all over the place. Consulting a map and radar while driving (yeah I know, distractions, distractions) I decide to bail off the interstate at Hwy 21. Heading north on Hwy 21 I can see the storms off to my E/NE. Just south of Belle Plaine, IA,I notice an intersting lowering to my E and turn E on a county road to follow it. Numerous spotters / spectators are out watching the storm also. Combating the hills, I decide to head north to Hwy 30. Heading east on Hwy 30, I observe what looks to be another huge, slightly rotating wall cloud. This is probably the one that spawned the Palo, Iowa tornado just minutes before. I again head south and east, taking some more wonderful county roads. I end up back on Hwy 30 and head east to the town of Mount Vernon minutes after the storm has rolled through. Not wanting to really core punch I decided to break off the chase from there. Besides, my jeep and I were pretty hungry!

While eating some wonderful convienence store food, I consult the radar and decide to head north on I-380 to intercept the storms now moving across Northern Iowa. I head back west on Hwy 30 and turn North on I-380. Daylight is beginning to twindle as I reach Hwy 218 in Waterloo and continue my northerly trek. Stopping for a quick photo op in Janesville, Iowa I can hear the storm sirens blaring. As far as I know, no tornado warning was in effect at the time as the storms were off to the north and northwest. I continue north to Hwy 3, and head west turning back south on Hwy 14 towards home.

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This entry was posted in 2004 Chases.