August 22nd Iowa Cold Front Grunge

Jan 07, 2016


Chased setup against better judgement because it fell on a weekend, and came away with pretty much nothing other than an amusing story about how the local cops thought we were bank robbers.


Tornadoes: 0
Hail: 0.00″
Wind: n/a

The Forecast:

Weakly sheared cold front sweeping across Iowa with questionable airmass recovery and instability. Speed shear sufficient for severe storms, but directional shear was lacking so quick transition to linear modes were expected. Weak capping also meant numerous storms going up at once. SPC probs surprisingly considering concerns, but this was likely due to the fact a large number of storms was expected.

Detailed Account:

I was not thrilled about the setup despite the good looking SPC probs, but it was a weekend and several chase partners I knew were down to try so I agreed to tag along, otherwise I would have let this one go. Afterall, Ive let similar setups go before and ended up regretting it so why not try one for once? I met up with Alec Scholten and we took US-20 west from his house across Iowa. Arriving in the small town of Early we stopped for lunch at a local diner, which was tasty. The air felt good but surface flow was already veering, a bad sign.

Stephen Jones met up with us and we joined forces, stopping in nearby Sac City to drop off Alec’s vehicle and jump into Stephens. Quickly switching vehicles with gear, Alec failed to notice he left his laptop laying on the road, and Stephen accidentally ran it over. It wasn’t discovered until I realized I left a camera in Alec’s vehicle and we went back for it. Amusingly enough, while we were standing around staring at Alec’s smashed laptop, assessing the situation, a local sheriff pulls up to question us. We were parked infront of a local bank and it turns out a concerned resident saw 3 men standing around a black laptop bag and called us in for being suspicious. I guess in small town Iowa where we appear as strangers that is to be expected. The cop was amused by the situation and we were on our way shortly.

That would be the highlight of our day it turns out. Storms went up, but were only briefly severe, displaying nothing in the way of interesting structure. We sampled the weak cores a few times before calling the day. A more organized complex was moving through Omaha but we decided not to go after it due to linear appearance on radar and opted for a Pizza Hut dinner, before being dropped off at Alec’s car and then heading for home. I only snapped a lame cell phone picture just so I had something to put here.



Well the day turned out as I expected. At least we have an amusing story to tell now about being mistaken for bank robbers. Just another typical Iowa setup.

Map not available

SPC Reports:

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