Mike Hollingshead

Chased the tornado warned storm ne of Des Moines(sw of Waterloo). It was warmed about the same time I found the base and I believe the tornado warning was the first warning for this storm. Before getting there I about blew my radiator while looking for wifi in ne Des Moines. I've known about the problem for awhile(many flattened fins for some reason...rocks I guess) since my ac shuts off when I stop moving. It was just nasty hot out. One place east of Des Moines was 99/77(Des Moines was 99 for temp but don't remember the dew at the time). So anyway, I pull off and have to stop at a light. Then I turn and stop and see I can't do anything with the first wifi stop. I only stopped for 30 seconds. So I drive across the highway and try the McDonalds. I stop there for another 30 seconds and can't get on. So I then leave and have to stop at a light again. That is all the stopping and idling I did(not much!). While getting back on the interstate I kick the ac back on and it won't cool. So I immediately look at the temp gauge and it is pegged to the right in the red. I was like, "AAARRRRGGGHH"(laughing fear noise). I was expecting the steam to start flying out from under my hood any second. I opt to continue onto the interstate and see if moving will fix it and it did, thank god. It slowly came back down from the red zone. Much of the rest of the day was trying to avoid doing that again.

So anyway, got onto the storm near Chelsea I think it was. It had a nice base and look but nothing overly impressive. It would get a notch and curl around but the ne side was just wanting to get undercut too quickly. I still thought it had a chance to re-organize a new area to the s so I stayed close to it ne of there. I let the base move overhead as close cgs were popping away and hoped I'd at least get some good hail from the core. Problem was the core was missing me to the east just a bit. Getting close and not staying ahead comes back to haunt me the rest of the chase.

I drop south and then se and am about to get ahead of the structure again and what do I hit? A flag person! I wish a tornado would just rip through those construction areas and kill everyone stuck there(being sarcastic!). Lets get it over with. They obviously do not care about severe weather as seen time and time again. I mean a tornado warned storm dropping se right for the center of a loooooooooooooooooong one lane construction zone and no one cares. So I'm sitting there and can see straight ahead forever and see no pilot car or traffic in sight. The storm is due north of me several miles. Well I was stopped there for a good 15 minutes. The storm was on this highway before I get to go east. I think I have some funny pictures to illustrate how far this storm moves while I'm stuck there.

While going east we get to follow the pilot car right into the very severe storm. What else do we get to follow? A big piece of road equipment doing 5mph. Evidently the very high winds and rain there now were a sign that they were indeed coming(smacks head). So we get to tool around at an ever slower speed behind this thing. Why the pilot car couldn't go around it I don't know. It was highly annoying to get to suffer some more because they couldn't plan ahead a bit. I was a lot upset at this point.

So I get through there and am in Marengo(we got out of it right as we get into the town). What do I see on the east side of the town? Police lights on the highway. They were just starting to block off traffic from going east for some reason. So I sit there and see another cop stopping traffic coming the other way only 1/4 mile away. I see a bulldowser on the highway pushing something off to the north. I have no idea what it was. I couldn't actually see it moving anything, just had its scoop down pushing north. Then it drives towards me and where the cop is. Perhaps it was some spill from something. Perhaps it was a pole and powerlines. No idea. The funny part was my turn to at least go south was right there at the other side of that. I was like, crap if I could just get there. Then I see a way to get into town and maybe go around. I followed some sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow driver. I can't stand stupid slow drivers that can't stop then go. He was making a right turn and took forever. I'm like, jesus how many options are there to cover before you turn right. I was a smidge upset by this point as it seemed like one thing after another. I get around this cluster @#$@ of an area and drive quickly east/se. Not too far into this it got very severe. I'm pretty sure the winds were the highest I've experienced. It was pretty sweet. You certainly didn't want to be near any tall trees. Every area you'd go by with trees you'd have branches and leaves hitting you. There was some report of a roof blown off a business in Marengo. Not sure what that was.

I continue going ese for a few miles and then turn south to get down to I-80. I enter some town on I-80(I need a map to look at) and the traffic lights are all out. There are no cops in sight. I wind up back in this town. Anyway, I head east towards Iowa City and the storm is already starting to get onto the interstate. It was a pretty sweet green to the east with impressive motions in the back of the updraft cutting in and plowing south. What was interesting was as I went east right behind this I start getting nailed by strong southerly winds. It was a bit of a trip to see all that n-s motion while getting buffeted from the south for a bit. Then as I get more east I get the wind again from the north behind this. I figured it might get interesting soon with the semis since most weren't stopping yet. It was interesting until I couldn't see much because of the rain and wind and had a semi passing me on the left/north. I suddenly imagined it tipping over on me. I got off at the next exit lol. It started to weaken about this time and I head back west on a highway. A county or so west I drive back north to the interstate and wind up in the same town I was in before with no lights. The lights were still out and still no cops. I thought that was very odd. I head west for home and see why there were no cops. Some rv was flipped over in the median.

I was very surprised at the number of semis willing to keep driving in that. I guess they are lucky it wasn't quite as bad on the interstate as it was just north(though it did wipe out at least that one rv...I never tried to drive back west on I-80 where I went east through).

I keep on heading home and about 5 miles out of town I see something walking on the shoulder of the highway. It looked like a kitten. I felt bad for it and within a 1/2 mile I decided to flip around and see if it was a kitten and if it would even come to me(it wasn't near any farm houses). I found it still walking on the shoulder. I stopped and got out and it acted like it wanted to come over to me. So I walked to it and it ran off a bit. Some cars were coming so I fix how I was parked. While I was doing this and the traffic was coming/going by it was sitting on the other side(it walked across the highway). They go by and thankfully it didn't run out and get ran over. I get out and try one more time and this time get it to come to me. It lets me pick it up so I brought it home. Once it was in the car it was talking up a storm. I get it to my appartment, get it some food and it mows it down FAST. It seems to feel very at home already. It also seems to think my hand is prey. It'll bite down and hold it there, but not really very hard and it's purring and meowing while it does it. That needs to stop.

Pics and whatnot later.
In some areas yesterday, "explosive" could be an understatement
I was in Dekalb county much of the day yesterday to register for fall classes at NIU. Walking from building to building was unbearable in that heat.

Then last night at about sunset, a thin line of TCu developed to the north. I walked into my friends apartment just briefly. I came out not more than 10 minutes later to find the sky completely ablaze with lightning. These cumulus had exploded in less than 10 minutes time! Brilliant flashes and and anvil zits were occuring more than several times a second! Luckily, I had my camera, and I was able to videotape the wild lightning. I will have some vidcaps posted later.

I was hoping for the storms to turn right as I observed them. It was still very hot south of the storms, and I could feel some weak inflow winds from the SE. However, they missed my location, only providing a weak shower from overhanging precip. Relief from the heat did come in the form of a very gusty and relatively chilly outflow boundary.

A lot of wind damage last night from Ogle county all the way into downtown Chicago. On my drive back home I've noticed still some tree damage yet to be cleaned up. What a way to end a heat wave!
Hey Mike, I want my cat back! :)

Pretty boring day up in Cedar Rapids yesterday. Decided to go out and wait for the tor-warned cell from Tama county to wander it's way over to me. Of course by the time it got here, radar at EOC was watching about 1234098 different cells pop up, so i spent most of my time driving around like a chicked with it's head cut off trying to decide which one would be best to watch from the info radar was giving us. Of course all I saw was a ton of ran and about 60 mph gusts. This season is frustrating.
Left Marion, IA shortly before 5 PM in route to the Waterloo storm, but then elected to pursue a newer storm developing just to its south. Headed west on US-30 and could see a broad lowering which became mostly rain-wrapped. I stopped just east of the Tama/Benton CO line (18 miles east of Tama). I have some photos taken from this location that I'll post once I figure out how. There’s some sort of rain-wrapped lowering on the right side of the image, but I could not confirm any rotation other then some very slow rotation of the entire cloud mass. It did have a nice inflow band for some time, with the CU on the left side of the image streaming rapidly to the N into the storm. It appears as though newer convection just to the south of this storm caused it to weaken and become less organized. Once the storm trended towards outflow-dominant, I abandoned the chase.

- bill
Very short chase yesterday just NW of my city. More or less i went out to find a good spot to measure the windspeeds for possible severe crit. but ended up with a nice shelfcloud and some 60-65mph winds. Areas to my ENE, 15 miles or so, were hit with winds up to 100mph.

Shelf cloud, bad pic, camera isn't working correctly.