05.08.2004 West Central Iowa

After dealing with a stationary front bouncing north and south all week I wasn’t anticipating too much today as I figured all the action would be further north. Was I ever wrong!

Just as I came in from the garage, where I did some minor maintanence on my jeep, Garry Wellman called me and told me he was coming my way and wanted to know if I wanted to hook up with him. Which caught me by surprise since I was figuring the front to be further than what it actually was. After pulling up the radar from KDMX and looking over things, I decide to saddle up and get ready to go. Storms were beginning to fire along Hwy 30 in North Central Iowa. After looking at the radar one more time, I decide to head north. Garry has since updated his target area and we plan to meet just north of Grinnell, Iowa and head towards Hwy 30 to intercept.

After topping off with gas, I head north on Hwy 14 towards Newton, Iowa. Getting just north of Monroe, I stop and shoot a few pics of the rather large anvil and associated blow off. While enroute, I keep an eye on the radar and notice a large storm gaining strength west of Des Moines which seems to be zapping the strength from the rest of the now apparent squall / multicellular line of storms. As I hit Newton, I decide to head west on I-80 towards the storm out west. Listening to the skywarn net now in progress, reports of wall clouds are now filtering in and a Tornado Warning issued.

Weaving through the ever pleasant traffic around Des Moines on I-80 I decide to bail off on Hwy 6 and head towards Adel. As I enter Adel, theTornado Warningis extended for Dallas County. I decide to jump back on the interstate and head slightly west for a better view and to keep out the hail 😉

Pulling off at the mile marker 106 exit, I set up just north of the over pass and start filming some rotation in the approaching gust front. As I’m filming, numerous locals stop by inquiring about the tornado and the storm. Also setting up my immeadiate area are a few other chasers / spotters.

As the storm gets closer, Garry calls, wanting to meet up in De Soto. I pack up the tripod and video camera and head back 4 miles east to meet up with Garry and gang. Arriving in De Soto at a gas station, I can’t believe my eyes. About 10-15 different storm chasers have converged at this gas station and it looks like a convention! Garry and I quickly decided to head south on Hwy 169 to get some lightning video and also to stay out of the approaching storm and hail.

We head south on Hwy 169 to Hwy 92 and head east. We turn south on a county road to find a good spot to try to shoot some lightning. Just north of St. Mary’s we find a nice spot and stop to shoot some video and take some pics.

After getting some footage and a few pics, we head further south taking another county road through St. Charles and eventually end up just east of Truro. After watching the storms for a few more minutes, we decided to call it a night…

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Chase Pics

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