2009-06-21 Central IA Doppler-Indicated TOR, Wall Cloud, etc.

Sunday…target close to home…flush with success from the previous Wednesday. Beats sitting around the house!

I-29 north to US-30 east. Picked up the Cardinals Baseball network, Pujols, et. al. giving the Royals a right hiding while I monitored trains paralleling the highway. Got internet in Denison, kept going east.

Around the time I got to Boone, TORs were issued for north of Sioux City, way out of position and I don’t like travelling in that part of the state, anyhow. Plus, a Red Box had been issued for my area. I had decided to get to Ames and make a decision. (In a perfect world, I would have parked in Ames and stuff would have magically appeared, but…)

It certainly was getting more cloudy…


…and certainly humid. I got out of the car in Ames to check the wind directions, and my glasses immediately fogged up. That didn’t happen Wednesday! Dewpoints in mature Iowa cornfields can be north of eighty degrees!

Got to Ames just as soon as storms just to the northwest went TOR, so north on I-35:


Maybe this is a wall cloud :-).Ā  Okay, definitely no further north than Story City (!)


At this second, I’m telling myself that I’m really, really rationalizing a wall cloud out of this:


(After this, I essentially lost memory of where I was and when. If I’d seen a tornado, I’m sure my memory would be better šŸ™‚ )

I got off I-35 and headed east on county roads. I ran into a group of spotters and a sheriff that didn’t seem too excited about the storm off to their east, and I almost let my guard down. I came to a realization that I turned into Damon’s Stormchasing Rule #19: Spotters might not care about storms that they aren’t responsible for spotting! I perked back up, headed east some more, and this was off to my north:


Nice structure, RFD clearing out the back end:


Most of the next hour was spent watching transitory rotations, getting under doppler-indicated TOR storms, and noting wishnadoes:


Crabbed east and intercepted US-20 east. Beautiful road.


Saw the TIV–under an overpass–come on! It wasn’t hailing that bad, and everyone knows not to camp out under them during a tornado!

This is somewhere around Steamboat Rock/Wellsburg/Godknowswhereville. About twenty cars pointed west, like at a drive-in. Nice show:


Wall Cloud? Funnel? It’s definitely a cloud…


This day was the definition of needle-haystack. DMX sez there were between 9-12 tornadoes today, and I did all I could to see them. Others did get photos and vid, but all the tornadoes were touchdown-and-back-up types. Here’s my video, you can hear me imploring Ma Nature to tighten up the rotation up before the rain and hail wrapped the meso–no dice:

There were a couple other tornadoes to the east, but since I was an hour from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota–on a Sunday evening–with work on Monday, I kissed it goodbye and headed home. If it had been Saturday, I’d have chased this mother to Iowa City, got Steak ‘n Shake in Coralville, then hit a Marriott there or in Des Moines. As it was, I got back home 1-ish šŸ™‚


Author: Damon Hynes

Used to chase tornadoes, until Ma Nature ran out of them...

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