Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Tornado Watch 494 was issued for eastern Iowa and western Illinois by the SPC at 1:30 pm CDT on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. A report of a tornado was made from near Stanwood, Iowa, in northern Cedar County around 3:15 pm, just as I was arriving home in Cedar Rapids from work. At this time the severe weather was already well east and pushing farther east as I scrambled to catch it. Some 20 miles away, the storm suddenly weakened below severe levels. The Nikon D5000 DSLR camera image above shows a line of strong--but no longer severe--storms in western Jackson County as seen from state highway 64 in southeast Jones County at 4:24 pm CDT.
My attention was quickly given to a new severe storm warning emanating from my weather radio, this one in Scott County to the south (see above Radarscope image). Thoughts here were the opportunity to salvage the venture. I drove east to Maquoketa, then south on US Highway 61, in an apparent intercept path.
About 15 minutes later this storm too detensified below severe levels and the chase was done. Yes, but not without drama--just north of Eldridge, Iowa on Highway 61 around 5:15 pm, the heavens opened and unleashed a torrent of rain (Go Pro Hero video frame capture above). At one point I could barely see where I was driving and braced for that dreaded crash from behind. Luckily it never came. Many cars, as seen in the image above, pulled over to the side of the road, but this was only slightly safer, or maybe not AS safe? This image was captured when the rain had actually slightly let up. The chase produced nothing significant in the 170 miles driven. Photos weren't even that great because the gray and grayer sky lacked much contrast. Wet wild goose chase!