Today had promise as a complicated weather system was setting up across the Midwest. For the second time in as many months, a triple point was forecast to move across KS/MO/OK/AR/TX. With that, Iowa was on the northern fringe for storms. I, along with 100’s of other chasers had been eyeballing today for several days. Based on model data and analysis, I decided my target would be Bloomfield, IA.
Based on the 1630z outlook my area was BARELY in the moderate risk area. Oh well, having been burnt before by changing targets, I decided to stick with it. As I was getting things gathered up and getting ready to head out the door, a Tornado Watch #130 was issued for my area.
I jumped in the ol Jeep and headed south down Hwy 5.
Thanks to my friend Stan, K9SWX, I’ll be utilizing APRS via Ui-View and the internet this year on all my chases. Ok, enough of the side notes, back to the chase…
Watching radar as I was traveling south, a very small line of storms began to fire. As I approached Moravia, IA. A Tornado Warning was issued for Clarke Co in Central Iowa. Hmmm, why am I going so far again? As I was entering Centerville, IA, a Tornado Warning was issued for Warren County, which is just west of home. Argh!! Oh well, I must continue. SE of Centerville, IA, along the IA/MO border, I stopped and had a look around. Explosive thunderstorm developement was underway, with towers going up all over the place. Based on the track of the storms to my SW, I decided to mosey towards Lancaster, MO and go from there.
As I approached Lancaster, the rain set in. Argh.. As I approached Hwy 63, a Tornado Warning was issued for Davis County. Per the warning, the storm was located 7 miles north of Lancaster and bookin NE at 55mph. Wow! I’m actually in the right place for a change! I turned north on Hwy 63 and managed to position myself in a weaker part of the line, or so I thought. After topping a hill just inside Iowa, I encountered some horizontal rain. Not good! Later I came to the conclusion that this was the RFD I had encountered. After a couple of mins, the winds let up, and I continued northbound on Hwy 63 to Co. Road J51. Pondering over my road options, I decided to turn east on J51. Good thing I did, cause I would have missed a nice funnel had I not! I couldn’t confirm whether or the funnel was on the ground, due to ground cover. I sat and video’d the funnel for a few minutes untill in fell apart. I also made a quick call to the NWS in Des Moines, to report it.
During the next 20 minutes, I chased the storm east, via some very fun paved and gravel county roads, capturing more sets of funnels/tornado’s.
After reviewing the storm reports, I counted 2 of them as tornadoes, via reports from other spotters/chasers. I didn’t have enough of a view to determine whether or not any of them actually touched down. I finally lost the storm E of Bloomfield. Storms moving NE at 55mph are hard to keep up with!
Meanwhile, while I was having fun in SE Iowa, Central Iowa was taking a pounding of it’s own. Numerous Tornado Warnings had been issued, along with one for my very own county!! No tornadoes were spotted in Marion County, however a couple where sighed in Polk and Warren Counties. Go figure! I decided to head towards home, as my line of storms was long out of my reach. The way home provided me with some excellent views of the storms in Central Iowa. At one point, I was in the eye of the system, with essentially storms all around me. Interesting!!
Final Thoughts: Today was just what I needed! This is one of my earliest chases, being only April 2nd. I hope this means good things for this year. After last year we all need it! My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the massive severe weather outbreak on this day. Many lives were lost by destructive storms across the middle of the country.
SPC Reports for 2April06.
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