2022-03-05 REPORTS: IA

JeremyS

EF3
Mar 12, 2014
294
431
11
Omaha, NE
I’ll get this thread started. Apparently Iowa is becoming the new Kansas/Oklahoma.😁
Despite what looked like the not perfect setup, it was an easy choice for me to chase today given the close proximity of the target.
I left Omaha about 1p and headed down I29 to Nebraska City and then east into Iowa.
I chose to stay south and east of all the initial storms even as the first tornado warning went up on the northwest side of the initial cluster of cells.
For a while looked like it would be a huge mess, but soon a couple of dominant cells took over.
I was on the cell that looked great southeast of Red Oak near Essex. It had a brief funnel and had a tornado warning with it. I even had to drop south to avoid the big hail with it that was falling while it was sunny at my location.
Meanwhile there was one more cell that was organizing further southeast. Given the space between my cell and this other one, I didn’t immediately jump for it thinking they both could be a good choice. Unfortunately that ruined my chance of ever catching that cell and it became the tornado machine of the day.
I first attempted to head towards it while it was approaching Corning. It was frustrating to start out only 15-20 miles behind it and never catch it though as it moved at 45-50 mph. However while trying to catch it, it allowed me come upon the damage path of this storm.
First was Orient, which was hit with extremely large hail. I stopped just south of town along the highway and in the ditch picked up tons of stones 3-4” in size.
Then in town saw multiple cars with windows busted out.
I continued on to Winterset, IA and came across the severe damage to the south of town. After taking a few pics from the highway, I decided to call it a day and head back home arriving to some snowflakes falling here in Omaha!
I’m sure most on here have seen the abhorrent chase video posted by the chaser himself as he drove recklessly through both towns and highways with excessive speeds in a town and then running a stop sign at a T intersection before luckily stopping on the other side in the ditch.
People will never learn😡😡😡

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Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
2,203
712
11
42
Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
Kholby Martin and I initially targeted Red Oak, Iowa. We were on the cluster of two cells north of the one in Nebraska that ended up producing a couple of initial weak tornadoes southwest of Red Oak around 3:20 PM. I have some video of that but I don't have any pictures that I can post right now.

We then started following the storms east and thought we had ourselves in position to catch the cell that was coming up that eventually produced the Winterset tornado. We were doing a pretty good job until we got cored near the small town of Orient and ended up taking on hail 2"-2.50" that ultimately damaged the window and put us just slightly out of position to get any good visuals of the tornado although we were never more than five or six miles behind it. We did come up on quite a bit of damage between Winterset and some of the rural areas three to five miles north and east of the town when the tornado was still on the ground but judging by the damage at that point it had weakened a bit.

We ended up dropping back south to the Corydon cell and playing with that cluster until dark and then staying ahead of it where we ended our chase officially in Fairfield and grab some dinner for the night.
 

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Mar 30, 2008
1,307
1,250
21
Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
Decided to bite on this setup due to the great lapse rates, deep moisture and the fact I was sitting out with my cats on Friday evening watching them chase bugs. Bugs? We just went through a deep freeze a week before. The bugs were thick, and were in from the Gulf.

Started seeing storms near Hamburg, Iowa and would chase the next 2 hours. I'd end up in the conga line everyone else fell into due to poor planning ahead, speed limits and frustrating traffic. Saw the funnel/tornado near Creston but wasn't even convinced it was a funnel at the time, so I never hit record. Missed the Winterset tornado and had to give up after getting cut off by debris path.

Glad I stayed out of the cores and hail. It was hard to believe we'd have anything destructive with 60 degree surface temps, so I am glad my car didn't find out how wrong I was.

Wrote a full chase recap of the Winterset Iowa Tornado here.
 
Jan 16, 2009
696
812
21
Kansas City
First off congratulation to all that scored some AMAZING tornadoes on a way over performing day. I am saddened to hear about the deaths. 🙏

I made a last minute decision to chase with someone and we left KC in his vehicle around 11. Due to using his vehicle I did not have my dash cams which proved to be an issue later in the day. My initial target was Hamburg to Sidney area and we got on the cell around there heading to Red Oak. We saw the brief tornado (photo below) in the wind fields and continued to follow the cell. Like others we also got stuck in traffic and made a decision to go north than east through the cell to get ahead of everyone. That decide worked as we did get ahead of a lot of chasers but it was also as the Winterset wedge dropped. We got out just to catch a possible view of it and then east of town met some damage (photos below). We raced after the cell and watched the rotation pass in front of us on the road multiple times. We saw power flashes in front of us once and another time saw the tornado briefly just before dark just after it crossed I-80. I have a photo below but it doesn't show it well. Video shows it better but the cop cars really held us back here. All in all a good chase but I really wished I brought my truck and equipment.

I did see INSANE driving this chase and I do not mean the video that we all know about. We all speed and drive differently while chasing but this time it was way worse than I have even seen. We had people two times come to a complete spot in front of us on a busy highway. We had to stop and pray the cars behind us all were able to stop too. Another time a car pulled out in front of us while we were going 55-60 (55 was the speed limit) on a two lane highway (We have photo of the car). We had to hit our brakes very hard and came to almost a complete stop to avoid a major collision. Cars behind us did the same and some how no one hit each other. We need to do better.
 

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Mar 2, 2004
2,345
600
11
Wichita, KS
www.facebook.com

Iowa'd again... amazing how this day went for me, considering I had made all the right moves UNTIL moments before the Winterset tornado came down...

Left the night before from Colorado, overnighting in York where I headed out from Saturday morning, targeting Red Oak, IA. I basically sat around there, eating lunch, doing work stuff, while waiting. I don't recall exactly when I saw it, but the last surface map I saw, I remember seeing that the 60s dews had made it up and then some, and I remember having the trailer to the new Doctor Strange movie pop in my head in the scene where one of the Strange variants says "Things just got out of hand." Boy they certainly did, huh...

As we all know, several supercells had gone up, and about 3:30, I found myself in this position; and surprisingly with decent views of the bases in all directions. Not decent enough to positively identify tornadoes out of them, but certainly not as buried as this radar grab leads you to believe.


It was pretty obvious to me; GET TO THE SOUTH STORM... I was obviously behind it, and given its path and speed, it made sense to get as far east as fast as I could, so I took IA-92. It all seemed perfect, the road had a gradual northerly route to it and it kept me from getting into the northern part of the core. As I hit Greenfield, I was starting to get ahead of the hook, but knew a southward plunge was going to put me into a core that was clearly becoming larger with hail that under non-tornado circumstances, I would've loved, but easily would've ended my chase day, or at the very least, slowed me down enough to prevent me from ever catching the storm.

So eastbound I continued... As I approached Stanzel, I was now far enough ahead where I felt I could dive south toward Macksburg and actually get positioned in front of this thing. At this point, I had been hearing fairly consistent reports of a tornado in progress, so perhaps my patience, or lack thereof, got the best of me with this decision. Either way, I figured Macksburg was a good choice, so south I went.

Having now seen the map of the tornado's track, I have since decided that the south move at this point was NOT the dagger move that I immediately thought after. The dagger was when I got to Macksville; I turned and positioned on the west side of town, on the road called Carriage Trail, and positioned with the meso off to my southwest... the OLD meso...

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It was at this second, I knew... the OLD meso had occluded... and the new meso, the handoff, was occurring right over me; suddenly, I went from being in front to being behind... this was taken moments before the wedge came down; looking north along Carriage Trail. This stop was less than a minute, I knew IMMEDIATELY I boogered it up.

I have no imagery of this tornado, but before the rain had completely wrapped around and cut off my view, I saw the early seconds of this as it formed to my north/northeast. I pushed east through town, again, in the matter of less than 2 minutes, and by the time I emerged from Mackville to the east, I could no longer see it.

I wonder two things at this point...

1) What would've happened if I had continued east on IA-92, winding up around Winterset, and eventually toward Patternson on IA-92. I estimate, based on dash cam, that from the moment I turned south from IA-92 toward Macksville to the time I left my stopping point on Carriage Trail, was about 12 minutes (my stop was less than 1 minute). This would've put me roughly near the junction to US-169 on the north side of Winterset moments before the tornado formed, and about 5 minutes later would've had me to the point of IA-92 where the tornado crossed northeast of Winterset. I don't think I would've been in jeopardy of getting hit with this thing based on its speed, so I think I could've probably gotten further up the road and turned around to watch it come up from the southwest, perhaps even staying with it til it crossed I-35? Ifs and butts were candy and nuts...

2) If I had immediately gone east out of Macksburg, I feel like I would've seen the tornado form to my north and just behind me, likely catching it on US-169 south of Winterset (where I think I've seen most of the imagery from). That three/four minute total detour was enough to put me behind where I was never able to catch back up.

I'm a nerd, so I've analyzed this to death. My choice to dive south was probably a good one, but I made that west jog, thinking that the business end was still to my west, and meanwhile, the handoff was occurring over my head. Hindsight being 20/20, I should've immediately take it east from Macksburg, a big oops. Fortunately, I'm deep enough into my career where missing these things is little more than a facepalm and I sleep it off pretty quick. But I was THAT close.

Anywoo, at this point, I knew it was fruitless trying to keep up, but I was trying to at least follow it to Des Moines. I had been stopped several times for damage/accidents and checking quickly with the various folks I passed enroute. But my chase was pretty much over at this point, so it was basically turned into post-storm coverage and helping where I could.


Clearly, and I think most going into this event would overwhelming agree, that we did NOT expect the caliber of this event to be so incredibly vicious. I was truly shocked as the reports were coming in as to how violent, and ultimately deadly, this event had become. You never under ANY circumstances, wanna see anyone hurt, so it was not a fun day by any stretch. The "I got Iowa'd" posts were gonna have to wait on this. But as many of you know, Iowa and I haven't really gotten along, and this will be another notch in the state's belt against me. Something I am fine with sharing here amongst you all, but have kept off my social media. It would definitely be a little insensitive to laugh this one off given how this event unfolded. But as a chaser's perspective, that's how it all went down

I also will refrain from commenting too much on the video from you know who and his *insert your choice of adjective here* driving. My thoughts are no different from most others who have commented against not only the driving, but the responses from not only him but the enablers he has with him. Having been a victim of social media enablers in an incident a few years back, I wish I could I say that I was shocked by this, but all I can do is shake my head and pray that he only kills himself when that all catches up with him (and we all know it will).

Be safe out there guys... and please, for the love of God, have some respect and compassion. We're running a whole lotta low on it these days...
 
May 1, 2004
3,405
780
21
Springfield, IL
www.skip.cc
Full chase log, additional photography courtesy Jennifer Brindley Ubl, video, and annotated map:
Skip Talbot's March 5, 2022 Chase Log

Jennifer Brindley Ubl and I chased from near Red Oak to Tama, Iowa. We were caught in a legit cattle drive with actual cowboys right off the bat:


I expected brief, early tornadoes (if any) with this kind of setup given that it looked like a cold air aloft play with marginal instability dependent on the diurnal heating. But in reality the environment was becoming more favorable through evening. Our initial positioning between cells was designed to keep both in play, but in reality just cost us a play on the Winterset cell as we fell behind and were unwilling to resort to the kind of reckless, iressponsible driving displayed by Stas Speransky. Not that we thought this was even needed to catch something, we had no clue the storm was about to spin up a violent tornado. Our view to the northeast showed perhaps something looming in the rain of the rear flank:



We passed the huge hail in Orient and then hit the damage path in Winterset. We should have been done at that point, but in an exercise of what I thought was total futility, we kept after the Winterset cell, heading north to I-80 and east through Des Moines. I-80 was miraculously open and we caught up with the cell near Kellogg noting great low topped supercell structure followed by a nocturnal EF2 tornado that tracked near Tama.







Video: