4-9-11 Tornado Outbreak: Mapleton, IA
Jeff and Brian and a few friends started the day off by heading to Sioux City, IA. Making the traditional stop to get some Chick-Fil-A, They waited for storms to fire. The first storm fired near Norfolk, NE and gained strength. Jeff headed south on I-29 to get in position across the river and met with the storm in Sloan, IA. We continued east on 141 as we got into the hook to be able to see the storm best without having any rain block our view. As we were entering Mapleton, IA we noticed a wall cloud with a brief funnel as rain curtained around. We continued east on 141 out of Mapleton as we stopped to watch. The inflow to the storm was intense. A large funnel came down and picked up a lot of dirt. Eventually the funnel came all the way down as the tornado intensified and dirt covered the entire funnel. We moved north to watch it pass in front of us, but the tornado stopped before it got a chance to cross the road we were on. This tornado had taken a direct hit on the small town of Mapleton, IA. However, we were not aware of this until later in the evening. So, we continued our chase as it became dark. We were able to capture 2 more tornadoes at night, one was a nice elephant trunk tornado that lasted a good 7 minutes and took on many shapes near Ida Grove, IA. The other was a large multi vortex wedge tornado. Jeff and Brian had to abandon the chase to return to Omaha that night since Brian had to work. It was a hard thing for Jeff with a wedge being on the ground, but being content with what we saw we headed back. This storm would later produce 7 more tornadoes and one being 3 miles wide.
· Tornadoes: 3
· Miles: 400
· States: NE, IA
· Hail: ping pong ball
4-3-2011 SE Iowa Storm and Lightning show
Jeff and friend Sam left Omaha shortly after one, headed to St. Joseph, MO. Jeff arrived in St. Joseph and had some lunch and watched for storm initiation. Noticing a clearing with a CU field starting to develop in north central MO / south east IA, Jeff headed out to get in position. On the way a MD came out shortly followed by a Tornado Watch, Jeff knew hemade the right call to head that way. Just after crossing the IA border, storms started to have explosive development and quickly went severe. Jeff caught up to the tail end of the storm. It had some beautiful structure. With the storm motions and the road network in that area, Jeff was not able to keep up with the storm, so He dropped south to intercept another cell to his south west. The storm did go severe, but then shortly after became a squall line. Jeff knowing now no tornado would come out of this decided to let the storm pass over and get lightning shots. The storm did put on a great lightning show.
Jeff and friend Sam left Omaha shortly after one, headed to St. Joseph, MO. Jeff arrived in St. Joseph and had some lunch and watched for storm initiation. Noticing a clearing with a CU field starting to develop in north central MO / south east IA, Jeff headed out to get in position. On the way a MD came out shortly followed by a Tornado Watch, Jeff knew hemade the right call to head that way.
Just after crossing the IA border, storms started to have explosive development and quickly went severe. Jeff caught up to the tail end of the storm. It had some beautiful structure. With the storm motions and the road network in that area, Jeff was not able to keep up with the storm, so He dropped south to intercept another cell to his south west. The storm did go severe, but then shortly after became a squall line. Jeff knowing now no tornado would come out of this decided to let the storm pass over and get lightning shots. The storm did put on a great lightning show.
· Tornadoes: 0
· Miles: 645
· States: NE, MO, IA
· Hail: dime
Missouri Valley, IA Tornado 3-22-11
Jeff Headed west to met up with friends and fellow chasers Brian Onstead and Nate Lewey at 3:00 to pick up Nate after he got out of work, to take him on a chase for his birthday. Conveniently after we picked up Nate, CU started to develop to our west. We headed west out of Omaha toward Freemont to intercept a developing storm that had a nice meso. We continued on the storm as it grew stronger and developed several rotating wall clouds. This was being streamed and recorded from Jeff’s new camera dome. As we ran out of road options for that storm, we blasted east to get in front a developing severe storm just to our south.
This storm was just north of Omaha. Jeff core punched the storm on the way to Blair, NE. We finally got through the rain and hail and made it to a clearing where a nice rotating wall cloud was seen. We followed the storm to the east to Missouri Valley, IA. In the field about half a mile to our south east, a quick small vortice was seen followed by a very broad vortice. This was a multi vortex tornado. This beginning was being streamed live on WOWT-Omaha at this time. We then stopped by a railroad to get out and film, when my friend Nate tripped over the power cord killing the live stream. Jeff, unaware at the time why the camera died, tried to get the dash cam up and running. The tornado then formed into a nice cone tornado, which reminded us of the Aurora, NE tornado appearance of 09. The cone tornado quickly got rain wrapped shortly after.
We then continued to stay with the storm while getting pounded with Baseball size hail. The dome cam and the windshield did survive but the car did take some nice sized dents. The storm soon died after going north of the warm front. Jeff then stopped to upload video from the dome cam. That is when he discovered the horrible news it stopped recording just before Blair.
Overall, it was a good early chase and saw a nice tornado. Jeff did learn what to improve on with the dome cam since it was its first chase out.
· Tornadoes: 1
· Miles: 246
· States: NE, IA
· Hail: Baseball
Grainola, OK Tornado 2-27-2011
Jeff drove down from Omaha, NE to meet up with friend and fellow chaser Randy Cooper, of TwistedChasers.com. On the way to our chase target we picked up Randy’s friend Jacob Honeycutt. We headed down toward Oklahoma in a very cold and foggy conditions think what are we doing. We then arrived in Wichita, and intercepted the first severe storm of the day while eating at Braum’s. The hail was about quarter size. It was encouraging to see because we had doubts about storm development because of the strength of the cap in the area. We then headed to our target west of Blackwell, OK for a play on the dry line. Clearing happened and we started to see a CU field develop in the Texas panhandle headed our way. We waited for the storm to get to us, and just when it did, it went severe. We followed it as it kept struggling to maintain its strength. As it continued to the North East it got into good air conditions and it started looking really good. Soon it became tornado warned. The storm was moving very fast and it was hard to keep up with it. Soon the tornadic storm went into Osage County which is a Indian reservation and road options were very limited. We noticed a cone funnel come down and briefly make contact with the ground, however we were not about to follow the storm due to no road options. Overall it was a good chase and I got to see my first February tornado.
- Tornadoes: 1
- Miles 1044
- States: NE, IA, KS, OK
- Hail: quarter
6-17-10 Tornado Outbreak South MN
Jeff left from Omaha, NE shortly after he was able to get out of work. His initial target was just east of Sioux City. CU started to develop and Jeff followed them to the east as the became storms. Jeff noticed that the storms would go up quickly but then never gain enough strength to sustain itself. Being disappointed with driving that far and seeing weak storms, Jeff decided to make a break for the tornadic storms around the MN/IA border. After awhile of driving, Jeff finally made it to the cells just south of the MN boarder. He then saw some good roatation to the south east of him and decided he needed to go more east to let it come at him and follow them from behond so he went on 500th street (dirt road to go east). Shortly after a tornado came down and was on the ground only for a few minutes. Jeff continued driving toward the roatation as the same torando came down on the road in front of Him. A beautiful lighting strike lit up the area just behind the tornado. Just as that tornado began to die off and new lowering was taking place. This lowering produced two very nice tornadoes and then became a multi vortex shortly after that. Jeff stuck with the storm as it began to get stronger. He was alittle worried being on a dirt road with only 1/8th of a tank left, but he didn't want to abandon the storm. The storm quickly gained strength and became a large multi vortex tornado just north of Keister, MN. Jeff continued with the storm despite the gas situation hoping to be able to make it to Alberta Lea to fill up there as he followed the storm. Jeff stuck with the large wedge and it continued until he noticed it hit some houses. Jeff decided to break off the chase and check on the houses that got hit to make sure everybody was ok. Powerlines and trees were down. Jeff arrived at a house and was able to help two ladies get out of their basement. They were ok, but their house took some damage but still standing and their barns and cars were destroied. After Jeff checked on the houses, a new storm came through and produced a breif tornado. Jeff was able to make it to Alberta Lea, MN and filled up.
- Tornadoes: 8
- Miles 1034
- States: NE, IA, MN
- Hail: half dollar