Tag Archives: Iowa

Sunday, 21 June 2009 – Back to Iowa

To quote the DAY 1 SPC convective outlook:

...IA/NW IL AND VICINITY...
   WEAK ELEVATED CONVECTION NOW OVER IA/NE NEB SHOULD CONTINUE
   GENERALLY NE INTO THE UPR MS VLY TODAY AS LEAD PORTION OF CNTRL HI
   PLNS IMPULSE CONTINUES NEWD.  CONVECTION ON THE SRN FRINGE OF THIS
   ACTIVITY MAY BECOME SFC-BASED AND DEVELOP MORE E OR ESE INTO PARTS
   OF IL/IND AS SFC HEATING DESTABILIZES AXIS OF MODEST LOW LVL WAA ON
   NRN FRINGE OF UPR RIDGE.  WHILE AMPLE INSTABILITY WILL EXIST FOR
   STRONG/POSSIBLY LOCALLY SVR STORMS...MODEST SHEAR SHOULD LIMIT
   OVERALL SVR THREAT.

   IN WAKE OF MORNING ACTIVITY...SFC HEATING AND UVV ASSOCIATED WITH
   MAIN LOBE OF HI PLNS DISTURBANCE SHOULD FOSTER SFC-BASED STORM
   DEVELOPMENT ACROSS IA/SRN MN AND PERHAPS NW MO BY EARLY AFTN...ALONG
   AND SW OF WEAK WARM FRONT.  MID LVL LAPSE RATES WILL REMAIN
   COMPARATIVELY WEAK.  BUT COMBINATION OF RICH MOISTURE /PW UP TO 2
   INCHES/...MODERATE DESTABILIZATION...AND 30 KT DEEP WLY SHEAR WILL
   SUPPORT SUSTAINED STORMS/SUPERCELLS WITH DMGG WIND AND POSSIBLY
   HAIL.  MORE SIGNIFICANTLY...BACKED/SELY LOW-LVL FLOW AND LOW LCLS
   NEAR WARM FRONT WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR TORNADOES...ESPECIALLY OVER
   NRN/ERN IA AND ADJACENT PARTS OF IL LATER THIS AFTN AND EVE.

   FARTHER SW...BOTH SHEAR AND INSTABILITY SHOULD DIMINISH WITH SW
   EXTENT INTO NRN/ERN KS...WHERE SVR WEATHER LIKELY WILL BE MORE
   LIMITED.

Based on ETA models, I am targeting a late afternoon (4-7pm) target of Waterloo, IA. I can depart immediately after church, arriving around 4:30pm in the target zone, returning via I-380/80/55 or via US20/I-90/I-355.

  • 1217 – dpt Romeoville,IL for IA via I-80. Rain and construction slow traffic to 55mph for 50% of Lasalle-Moline stretch.
  • ____ – enter IA via I-280 (as I-80 Miss R bridge is closed)
  • 1500ax – stop at I-80 Truck Stop (Walcott, IA). Signs all around say “The World’s Largest Truckstop” and I believe it. THIS PLACE IS HUGE! I make a quick washroom/snack break. Upon returning to the van, I consulted Mesoscale Discussion 1259 after my ham radio’s APRS display indicated the MD was active. Looks like the area I picked will have warnings. Time to get moving!
  • 1703 – I pull off the road to grab a quick bite to eat. I spot a Sonic drive-in and give in to my love for their famed cherry limeade. As my order arrives, a tornado warning goes up 70 miles to my west. Time to eat and run. [I also should have fueled up the van. Read on!]
  • 1830 – I roll west on US20 to Buckeye, where I spot two storms with interesting lowerings that might soon be (or recently have been) wall clouds. I sit and watch until a dark precip core approaches. I run west a few miles, catching only a few minutes of moderate rain on the NE side of the core. I let it pass, as radar shows several storms lined up.
  • 1854 – I double back east and spot a growing chaser convergence (always a hopeful sign)! I stop briefly to watch the storm and see a well-defined clear slot to the ENE. Moving a few miles east (to the Steamboat Rock, IA exit), the sky shows a classic pre-tornado setup: rain-free base, an incipient RFD to the northwest (evidenced by dusty inflow), a sharply defined clear slot, and increasing rotation just east of the clear slot.
  • 1859 – Tornado! It only lasts 30 seconds (and the view is partly obscured by trees), but I get it on video. This moment is a tiny personal milestone: my first tornado on an unassisted solo chase: no nowcast buddy, no partner … all my decisions, for better or worse. The storm still shows plenty of signs it could produce another tornado, so I move 5 miles east for another look.
  • 1910 – Oh my GOD! I look at the fuel gauge and see it reads 1/8 tank. I move further east on US20 to Dike, IA in hopes their gas station is open, has power, etc. Fortunately, it is, so i quickly fill the tank. As the pump clicks off at the end of the fill, the tornado sirens sound! Crap! I grab my receipt, get back in van, start it up, start the cameras and charge back through town, looking 360-degrees around to make sure a tornado has not dropped nearby. The folks in these little towns are very self-sufficient and see lots of storms, so this is almost certainly not a false alarm. As i return to US20, I see a wide conical lowering about 1/2 a mile south of the highway, but it shows no rotation. [ed. – The next day, I check the storm reports: the very real tornado (at 0048Z) had damaged a house 5 miles NW of Dike … definitely good cause to sound the alarm.]
  • 1955 – With a full tank and the daylight running out, I decide to head home. On the east of Waterloo, I miss the turn for I-380 and end up on US20. I detour to SR150 south, to re-acquire I-380. Along the way I get a real good look at the storms with tornado reports west of I-380 and south of I-80 (by Kolona and Marengo). The supercell directly to my south is tall, has hard-nosed features, a health anvil, and (II think) an overshooting top (though lower clouds partially obscure my view of that top). Now is the time to get ahead of these storms and get back to Illinois.
  • 2100 – I cross the Mississippi, back into Illinois. My fleeting glance of the river is breathtaking: the reds, oranges, pinks, and purples of the fading sunlight turn the water into a vibrant splash of color.
  • 0030 – I return home and go to bed, satisfied with the day. though very tired.

ROUTE:

CHASE2004 SEASON SUMMARY

CHASE2004 SEASON SUMMARY

CHASE 2004 DAILY JOURNAL

SEASONAL TRAINING: To better appreciate the processes going on in storms and to stay safe, I take classroom training each year
DATE
DAY
START

STOP

MILES
REMARKS
06 Mar 2004
Saturday
Bolingbrook
IL
– Wheaton
IL

Advanced Spotter Training (DuPage EMA)
17 Mar 2004
Wednesday
Bolingbrook
IL
– Plainfield
IL

Basic Spotter Training (BARS,PRL)
03 Apr 2004
Saturday
Bolingbrook
IL
– Batavia
IL

FermiLab Weather Seminar (w/Tom Skilling)

GREAT/SOUTHERN PLAINS CHASES
To keep the look and feel of supercell storms fresh in my mind
CHASE #1
TEMPEST TOURS (commercial tour)
10 days – 4797 chase miles, 8 people
[Flag-USA]
UK flag
Japan  flag
  1. Lead vehicle (8): LEAD: Bill Reid (Westlake Village, CA;KG6FWX),
    DRIVER: Scott Weberpal (Janesville,WI);
    PASSENGERS: Lisa Beal (Bolingbrook, IL;KC9BST), Heather Taluba (NJ),
    Jack Bolo (Burlington, NC)
    , Joel Emilio (S.CA), Dustin Aldridge (S.CA), Samantha McGrath (Bristol, UK)
  2. Part-time lead vehicle (Day 2) (2): Martin Lisius [days ??-??] (Arlington,TX;KC5TQI), Erin Brown (TX)
  3. Media guests (Days3-4) (2): Fuji TV (Mashu, Ken)
  4. Nearby chasers: Blake Naftel, Keith Brown, Kinney Adams, Chris Kridler
DATE
DAY
START

STOP

MILES
REMARKS
27 April 2004
Tuesday Bolingbrook IL -Dallas TX

PROLOGUE
28 April 2004
Wednesday Bolingbrook IL -Abilene TX
183 TRAVEL: Check-in; meet the team; chase/position
29 April 2004
Thursday Abilene
TX
-Wichita Falls
TX

415

DAY #01: Making the most of a so-so day
30 April 2004
Friday Wichita Falls
TX
-Temple TX

 

425
DAY #02: Mo Wind, Mo Better
01 May 2004
Saturday Temple
TX -Fort Worth TX

 

242
DAY #03: An Outside Chance for a Storm
02 May 2004
Sunday Fort Worth
TX -Springfield
MO

 

565
DAY #04: Missouri Misery!
03 May 2004
Monday Springfield
MO
-Nevada
MO

 

95
DAY #05: Stockton Revisited
04 May 2004
Tuesday Nevada
MO -Altoona
IA

 

426
DAY #06: Re-positioning Day
05 May 2004
Wednesday Altoona
IA -Fairmont
MN 558
DAY #07: Capped in Dakota
06 May 2004
Thursday
Fairmont
MN -Clinton
IA

 

368
DAY #08: Curses, capped again!
07 May 2004
Friday Clinton
IA – ?
??
???
DAY #09:
08 May 2004
Saturday ?
?? – ?
??
???
DAY #10:
09 May 2004 Sunday ? ?? -Arlington TX ??? RETURN FROM FIELD

CHASE #2:
PRIVATE TOUR
3 days – 2664 miles, 4 people

[Flag-USA]
UK flag

    1. LEAD:  Scott Weberpal (Janesville,WI); PASSENGERS: Lisa Beal (Bolingbrook, IL;KC9BST), Heather (NJ),
      Samantha (Bristol, UK)
    2. Nearby chasers: Tempest Tours (tour #2; Bill Reid, Chris Gullickson), Jim Leonard, many others

 

 

DATE
DAY
START

STOP

MILES
REMARKS
09 May 2004 Sunday Arlington
TX
-Wichita
KS
374
TRAVEL TO FIELD: (TBD)
10 May 2004 Monday Wichita
KS
-Limon
CO
481
DAY #01: Limon Mini-Outbreak (coming soon!).
See Scott Weberpal’s photos from Limon for now.
11 May 2004 Tuesday Limon
CO
-Norfolk
NE
499
DAY #02: Bustola!
12 May 2004 Wednesday Norfolk
NE
Kansas City
MO
798
DAY #03: Attica Attacker
13 May 2004 Thursday Kansas City
MO
-Bolingbrook
IL
512 TRAVEL: Long Road Home
14 May 2004 Friday Bolingbrook IL EPILOGUE

IL/IN CHASES/SPOTTING:
Storms in the ‘hood!
DATE
DAY
START

STOP

MILES
REMARKS
01 March 2004
Monday Bolingbrook
IL



A very early start to the season, with 68mph winds in Huntley, severe hail in DeKalb, and an unconfirmed tornado in south central Wisconsin.
20 April 2004 Tuesday Bolingbrook
IL
Crown Point
IN
Follow-up trip to surgeon! As I was driving away from home, tornado warnings went up. As this happened during our normal ARES net drill, it took me a moment to use NOAA WX radio to confirm this was real. Utica, IL knew it was no drill! See a Utica photo gallery, NWS/LOT’s summary and a related ARRL article for more.


COLOR CODE

Plan was to not chase GRAY
Planned Chase Day (future) YELLOW
Available to chase; no weather (“blue-skied”) BLUE
Chase Day (have partner and stormy weather) GREEN
No-Partner Day (Weather stormy, no partner) RED
Weather Stormy, but not available for chasing PURPLE
BUST DAY – no severe storms where we looked!
ORANGE
Training Day
WHITE

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