2021-07-14 REPORTS: IA

Jan 17, 2008
Headed back to Iowa looking for redemption as I had just busted there 5 days prior. The setup this day looked fairly promising in the days leading up to it, and in typical midwest fashion, the big question would be whether morning precip would spoil the show. By late morning, it was becoming apparent that central IA would clear out and insolation would commence, so westward I went.

My target area was along the Hwy 20 corridor in central IA for late afternoon supercells to form near the warm front/outflow boundary. A bit west of Waterloo, I had a decision to make. Storms had recently initiated in the area, and I could either go south to a more messy complex of updrafts that already had tornado warnings, or go north to a nicely isolated cell in it's infancy. I had some reservations about going north, as I knew that area didn't get as much sunshine as further south, but looking at sfc obs I decided that the area had destabilized enough to "get it done", plus I'm a sucker for discrete convection, so I set my crosshairs on the north cell.

Upon arrival to the area of interest west of Shell Rock I was treated to very strong rotation, and I immediately got the "it's about to happen" feeling. Sure enough, a few minutes later the storm produced it's first of multiple tornadoes as I followed it to near Klinger.

Stopped for a celebratory steak dinner in Dubuque, and then let the line chase me the rest of the way back home while treated to spectacular anvil crawlers! This day was just what I needed after such a dismal Spring that had me go as far as Montana for just two distant tornadoes, plus I believe it's always more rewarding to score the more difficult to forecast tornadoes that occur outside of the traditional Spring season!
Oct 10, 2004
Madison, WI
Mods, can you merge this with my post? When it was moved here from "Chase Season 2021 in Review," it was given the wrong date.

Arrrrgh, this is what I would have seen if only I'd stayed put at the US 218/IA-3 interchange. I, too had reservations about this area given I'd only just gotten into broken clearing as I reached Waterloo and I considered trying to blast west to the former Stanhope/Jewell cell, but it appeared to be quickly getting enveloped in a messy cluster on radar. I'd noticed this storm about to pass north of Parkersburg but it didn't look really stellar on radar either (probably not helped by being in somewhat of a radar hole roughly equidistant from KDMX, KDVN and KARX) but made the decision a lot easier by picking up a tornado warning just as I was approaching the last exit to (quickly) get north from Waterloo to Janesville/Waverly.


Mar 12, 2014
Omaha, NE
I'm surprised there isn't more reports on this thread. I guess maybe because it's mid July and it's IOWA!
I chased, but it was last minute and I missed the really good tornadoes around Lake City, etc.
This would have normally been an a "normal" chase day for me due to the proximity to where I live, except I was leaving town the next day and wanted to work and get things ready for the next day. I wasn't watching things too closely though until I received the notice for the tornado watch. I saw the first cells already forming and figured, what the hell, and threw everything in the car and left Omaha about 330p.
Unfortunately, the first tornadoes formed not too long thereafter and were moving east away from me as I headed northeast into Iowa.
I made it to the Carroll and went north, almost ready to turn around. There were a couple of struggling new cells that were still back to the west of the original tornado producers though, so I figured I would at least continue on towards those.
As I headed north the bases of the small line/storms came into view and were somewhat interesting. They were very low to the ground and were rather ragged. Looking at radar though and also the velocity scans, it didn't show anything of real immediate interest. I continued on north until I was south of the small town of Lytton between Sac City and Rockwell City.
Suddenly, there was a lowering that was something I've probably misidentified before as a funnel so I was skeptical still as I headed on. I was soon able to see though this lowering was changing shapes pretty quickly and appeared to have some rotation with it and I realized this was definitely a funnel.
I was a couple of miles south of Lytton looking northwest and I pulled over to film the brief tornado out over the farm fields west/southwest of town. It lasted for a couple of minutes before lifting. I sent my report to Des Moines via Twitter and they almost immediately issued a tornado warning for the storm.
Funny thing was, the storm didn't look like anything special on radar and showed no rotation on velocity scans. I stuck with the storm as it moved east and I came out on the southeast side of the storm and happened to be on the road where a house took a direct hit just east of Lake City from the earlier tornadoes. I believe this is what led to the EF-3 rating for the tornado.
Taking advantage of Iowa's great road network, I stayed with this storm as it actually did get it's act together and had a pretty strong couplet for a while. This led to another tornado warning being issued to the east, before the storm then pretty rapidly died.
I didn't take any pictures, and only took video on my phone, but put together a video here: