2018-06-09 Reports: IA/MN

Aug 9, 2012
Macomb, IL
Saturday afternoon/evening featured what I thought was a favorable setup for some high precipitation supercells with a few tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds; across Northern Iowa eventually into Eastern Iowa and Northwest Illinois. I started the day southeast of Mason City, Iowa arriving on the tornadic storm that had fired up near Forest City. I missed the initial tornado, however I was in the town of Rockford, Iowa when things got pretty nasty. We had rain curtains wrapping in overhead and pretty high winds from the east/southeast gusting at times over 60 mph. I maneuvered my way out of town and got east to shoot some photos and video of the HP supercell structure. Couldn't ever discern anything I'd call a tornado, but there were reports of extensive damage in town, so I'm not surprised if one had indeed touched down....the updraft base was completely shrouded in heavy rain and large hail though.

I eventually ditched that storm as it become totally outflow dominant, decided to grab some Culvers in Waterloo, IA and call it a day. We thought anyway.

On the way back southeast a couple tornado warned storms fired up northwest of Cedar Rapids and the chase was on again. One of the storms took on a low precipitation state which was quite amazing to see in Eastern Iowa. The other storm managed to produce 2 or 3 funnels including one that came 1/2-3/4 the way to the ground between Van Horne and Newhall, Iowa. The roads were turning into a mess after dark from all the heavy rain, so I just decided to pull over observe the lightning for a while and then I called it a day and headed home, getting in bed around 1am.

I hate to say it, but it was a halfway enjoyable chase in Iowa. Only reason I hate to say it is because I don't wanna give Iowa any credit ;)....fun chase day.

Here are a few photographs I took and then a short clip of video. Again nothing definitive, but still a fun day and helps shake off some of my 2018 blues.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/26HvVsD]June 9 2018 Iowa Supercell Pano by Ethan Schisler, on Flickr[/URL]

[url=https://flic.kr/p/26HvUBv]June 9 2018 Iowa Supercell by Ethan Schisler, on Flickr[/URL]

[url=https://flic.kr/p/281Hj4W]June 9 2018 LP Supercell by Ethan Schisler, on Flickr[/URL]

Here is a video clip that I shot. First clips are in Rockford, Iowa. Then east of there. Then the LP supercell NW of Cedar Rapids. Then the tornado warned storm near Van Horne with the funnels that I saw.
After being on the road most of may, i finally took seven days off last monday.

My initial target was Mason City, then i moved toward developing storm NW of Forest City IA. Witnessed brief tornado there, funnel was fully condensated very short, by the time i found suitable spot to stop and use my camera it was gone.

Iowa supercells 6/9/18. by Nikola Pavlovic, on Flickr

Remains of Forest City tornado

Forest city tornado, Iowa supercells 6/9/18. by Nikola Pavlovic, on Flickr

After that i followed this supercell and couple of more tornado and severe warned SC's all the way to Quasqueton IA, where i observed some gusty winds and brief hail up to 1.25 inch.

Mean looking storm near Rockford IA

Iowa supercells, 6/9/18. by Nikola Pavlovic, on Flickr

Iowa supercells 6/9/18. by Nikola Pavlovic, on Flickr

Wall cloud near Dunkerton IA

Iowa supercells 6/9/18. by Nikola Pavlovic, on Flickr

Shelf near Otterville IA

Iowa supercells 6/9/18. by Nikola Pavlovic, on Flickr

Near Independence IA

Iowa supercells 6/9/18. by Nikola Pavlovic, on Flickr

This was the most interesting chase in Iowa i had. This state likes to give me hard time (my only busts) :)
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I targeted north central to northeast Iowa on Saturday as well. Coming from Indy, I missed the Forest City/Fertile tornadoes by about 30 minutes. I caught the storm as it was approaching Nashua, IA, and followed it ESE as it cycled. It provided some beautiful structure, but didn’t produce. As the line developed to the southwest, there were other pockets of circulation and the storms attempted to develop some scuddy, ragged wall clouds.


I eventually bailed and circled back west to intercept another storm paralleling Hwy 20 that eventually went tornado warned around sunset. While it had a gnarly wall cloud, it quickly became obscured by precipitation, and I wasn’t too keen on driving into the bear’s cage at night on a tree-lined road.

I paused a few times to try and get some lightning photos, but everything was intracloud with only infrequent CG, so I bailed for a hotel for the night.

These photos are from the initial encounter near Nashua and eastward
Little late, but this is for June 9th. I initially started in Mason City and was on the storm essentially at initiation. The very first thing this storm did was throw out a funnel cloud before it had really even consolidated or developed significant precipitation. Later, I bagged a brief bird fart tornado up by Forest City. This tornado was only on the ground for a minute or two at most, and I was driving away from it at the time, so I don't have any particularly good pictures of it. Only issue with these storms was that everything was super HP. Apparently there were more tornadoes, but I couldn't see them. However, I expected this with this setup given the relatively weak flow aloft. Followed them for several hours till just north of Waterloo. Then as those storms went outflow dominant, I called the chase and came back to Cedar Rapids for a bit before a storm near Tama storm initiated, then uncalled the chase headed back out again. This storm was thankfully more classic in nature and around sunset which made it better. However, that storm was a wall cloud party. Issue was that there were 2 separate surface circulations and both kept spitting out wall clouds and neither became dominant over the other. What we get then is a whole bunch of wall clouds that lack the "umpf" to get it done. All in all, pretty solid chase today, especially for 2018 standards.

Early funnel:


Forest City bird fart tornado(if you look closely you can see debris above the road sign):


Pretty nice whales mouth near Mason City:


and just one of the MANY wall clouds the storm near Tama/Belle Plaine produced. This storm put out some really well constructed, large wall clouds. However do to having 2 circulations, they just couldn't tighten up.

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Saw multiple brief/weak tornadoes on this day with strong rotation overhead and multiple funnels ... Also got caught in what I estimated to be about 80-90mph RFD winds that we watched tear down trees and power lines. Early in the chase, about 10 minutes before the first tornado, I was sampling the core and encountered ~2-2.5" hail that cracked up my windshield pretty good. It was a very nice chase day that was not too far of a drive from home!
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