A potent low pressure system trailing a cold front was progged to slam into Iowa. Looking at the weather models things were kinda all over the place. Things looked good for south central Iowa, SW IA, W IA, and NW IA. Where to go, where to go. I finally decided that I would join the masses and head to NW IA. NW IA never lets me down when it comes to storm action. Plus I hadn’t been out on a real excursion for a long time.
Sunday morning arrived and I blew the dust off some of my chase gear and got things ready to go. I actually ate lunch early, then headed out the door around 1pm. My target – somewhere in W to NW IA. I took my usual route to DSM, and headed west on I-80. On the way, I debated about stopping in several places but decided to push ahead to Harlan, where I pulled off at the local truck stop for a break and looked over data. Watching the radar, I could see multiple other chasers from all over Tornado Alley heading in the same direction.
After watching the data for a bit, I decided to head further NW, as the storms that would hopefully develop would be trucking at 40-50 mph to the NE. Looking to my W as I drove north, I could see storms trying to fire, but the cap was knocking them back down again. Finally, as I drove by Denison, IA; things began to pop to the west and NW. After stopping and having a look around outside of Kiron, IA; I noticed a beautiful tower going up to my immeadiate south. I decided to continue bookin it north to stay ahead of it. Just north of Arthur, IA; I decided to head further north and a little west to catch the line of intense storms already in motion, as it looked like my little cell was fizzling. I drove through Galva and then headed back west, ending up in Holstein just before the storm hit. Boy, what an scarey feeling I had in Holstein! As I came into town, there was a power crew working on lines near a substation. I pulled into town and stopped at the local gas station for a quick stop. Over hearing the locals, most of the town was without power from an earlier storm which took out the main transformer for the town. This station and a few houses were the only ones still lit up in the whole town and here comes another line of nasty storms. I decided to head south out of town before the storm got here (esp since large hail was being indicated!). I booked it south a few miles and stopped to take some cool pics of the backside of the line.
Getting back in my car, I hear some broken traffic on the storm chaser frequency indicating a tornado warning has just been issued for the area around Galva! Hmm, remember that town from above? DOH! I attempted to run it down, but never had a chance, as the storms were hauling to the NE and I was a little out of position. I found an really straight county road and headed back towards Fort Dodge and home
Final Thoughts:Boy, did I feel like a rookie out there! Obviously I haven’t done much chasing this year due to being busy with work and 20 other things, but it was great to get back out there again. This winter I’m definately going to work on getting my toys installed into the impala so I’ll be ready to concentrate hard on chasing next year.