05.19.2004 Western Iowa Bust!

A much anticipated chase turns out with the Iowa Cap winning again!

Starting with the Day 2 outlook, the SPC had issued an area of moderate risk centered around Omaha, NE in response to what looked like a potential active severe weather day. After coming home from work and catching a quick 2 hour nap, I review data one more time before heading out. Unfortunately, the SPC in their 1630z outlook has erased our beloved moderate risk and replaced it with a slight risk area as cloud cover and warm air aloft are causing concern. Staring in disbelief at the models and the severe parameters that are progged to develop, I decide to head out anyway, as a clear slot is working it’s way into SW IA from the south. Target: Somewhere in far western Iowa.

Traveling west on I-80 I decide to pull off at Atlantic, Iowa and review the current situation. By this time, cells have begun to fire in far NW IA slighting NE of Sioux City. Since the cells are moving NE and not wanting to leave my target area, I decide to stay put. Cloud cover is broken, however the clear slot noted on satellite before I left has since filled back in. NWS KDMX latest information still indicating explosive thunderstorm devlopment with destructive tornadoes. While waiting I hop online and chat with my good friends Stan Olson and John Bradshaw. After about an hour, small cells appear on the radar north of me near Denison. Could the cap be finally breaking? Still not wanting to get drawn too far north, I move to a better vantage point closer the the interstate. Looking to my SW, I see a developing storm. Hurray! However, the joy is short lived as it fizzles out, under the cap. Noticing more development in the area, I decide to head back east on I-80 to Hwy 71 and go slightly north to be in better postion to intercept in case something does break. After going north on Hwy 71, I turn onto a couple of county roads and end up slighting north of Hwy 44 west of Guthrie Center. Numerous cells are trying to fire and are quickly being strangled by the evil cap.

As I head back towards, Hwy 44, I hear fellow chaser Scott Kampas jump on the air. I meet up with Scott and fellow chaser Mark Sefried on Hwy 44 about 7 miles west of Guthrie Center. As we’re sitting along side the road, debating our next move, a 5 vehicle convoy drives by, containing several chasers from out of state.. Not being the convoying sort, Scott, Mark, and I decide to do our own thing. We decide to head east. After making a quick refueling pit stop in Guthrie Center and chatting with a couple of locals about the weather, we continue east to Panora. Radar’s still showing NOTHING. Given the time of day and the current situation, we head south to Stuart, witnessing another storm trying to fire and quickly falling apart. In Stuart we pull into Country Kitchen for some dinner with a few fellow chasers.

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