May 22, 2011 – Eastern Iowa Chase

After the disappointment with the storm action the day before, I was primed and ready for something better.

A classic triple point set up was progged to move across Iowa.  Heat and humidity was in abundance across the state ahead of the front.  The SPC had outline a large part of the Midwest in a “Moderate” risk for the day, which included Eastern Iowa.  Models indicated 2 primary areas of action. The first up near the IA/MN border and the second just east of me in SE IA.  Of course due to my location, I chose the 2nd.

After looking over the models and hourly weather analysis’s for several hours, I loaded everything in the car and was ready to go.  About 1pm I notice small blotches on the radar and take a quick peak outside.  Explosive storm development underway!  I raced east towards the developing storms.  Having 3 storms to pick from, I chose the southern most storm (remember my Parkersburg chase?).  I meandered E/NE following it as it matured and soon merged with the #2 cell.  A wall cloud was evident for several minutes before it finally produced a needle funnel.  After snapping 2 fast photos, (and talking to a farmer who pulled up next to me blocking my view) I attempted to catch back up to it but to no available.  The road network where I was attempting to go wasn’t the greatest.  As I neared Iowa City, more and more chasers were on the storm.  I called it quits just NE of Iowa and indirectly headed back towards home.  As I turned off Hwy 218 onto Hwy 92, I was treated to some spectacular mammantus from another storm in the area.

SPC Storm Reports


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