The Far East

12 May 2014

Today we would be chasing the weather as far east as we ever go in the US. This area doesn't have a great record for us with our only prior chases being during the infamous 2011 trip and involving some bad weather in the style of an autumnal English day. The setup didn't have that much more going for it today, but nevertheless our best options were in Iowa with a long cold front offering a good environment for some storms and a few other factors giving us hope that they would be at least marginally severe. Additionally there seemed a strong possibility that this would be our last chase for a few days as a large scale weather pattern was due to bring in unseasonably good weather.

By the time we were ready to hit the road, a little before 10am, we were somewhat surprised that the storms were already firing. This wasn't quite as anticipated, however we weren't too far away, so we buckled up and began our chase. It took around 3 hours to get to where the storms were starting along the cold front. It was an impressive sight on radar with initiation happening most of the way down the U.S. Normally in these situations, when you find yourself a little late to the party and travelling from the west, it can be tricky to get yourself in front of the storms. In this case though, for better or worse, it wasn't too problematic to get through to the other side of the line with only a few minutes of driving in a washing machine-like environment.

Once we were on the right side of the weather we tried to stick with a couple of the storms which were embedded within the larger picture of rain and cloud, hoping that we'd be able to see some photogenic weather and storm structure.

As the first embedded storm passed us by we felt we may be out of luck, with very little to show for it, although we enjoyed some good lightning.

First Lightning

Though it appears I still wasn't happy...

Storm Grump

After these we positioned ourselves for the next storm which managed to show off quite a nice shelf cloud and a good amount of lightning.

Weather Storm Shelf Farm

Although the shelf was quite nice, the smell of the field wasn't...

Stinky Storm


We played cat and mouse with this storm for a while, getting ahead of this shelf cloud and letting it come towards us before it became too rainy to take photos. In the meantime though, got some good views of it.

Weather Photo Shelf Cloud And Buildings Iowa

Then the storm headed off to the north east so we pitched ourselves in the path of two more storms that had just popped up to our south. This was more a "let's get munched" play than anything, but we got munched, and the car good a good clean while we watched more lightning and enjoyed my favourite kind of thunder – the stuff you can feel through your feet.

The last two storms had been a little ahead of the main line of weather that was still forming along that cold front. So we found ourselves a local Walmart, picked up a couple of beers, and set ourselves up to watch the line of weather roll over us. It was all timed very neatly and once we were pitched up, beers in hand, the storms came. Some driving rain and prolific lightning provided a good hour or so of entertainment as we waved goodbye to interesting weather for a couple of days...



SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Mon May 2014

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Mon May 2014

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