Sunday, June 15, 2008

6/11--Deadly Iowa HP's

The day after my birthday was shaping up to be an interesting day for tornadic supercells in western IA. After picking up Dustin in Oglesby and Travis (another NIU chaser) near Princeton, IL, we headed for our initial target of Council Bluffs, IA. After passing through the Quad Cities, I noticed that the right front tire was shaking violently and that it was going to need to be replaced. Luckily for us, a tire center in Des Moines was able to get us right in and after about an hour of labor, we were back on our way to western IA. We arrived to our target a little behind schedule, but were excited to see the rapidly strengthening storms off to our SW.
Shot of an initial supercell forming to our west
Unfortunately for everyone involved, these storms quickly what meteorologists call HP or High Precipitation. These storms are often very hazardous to many for lots of reasons...Storm chasers and others in the path of the storm because it is very hard to find and identify where circulations are in the storm; National Weather Service forecasters because they rarely have ground truth of these circulations until after they have wreaked havoc on their targets; and their obvious title of very heavy rain producers that causes flash flooding in a matter of minuets.
HP storm that quickly "wrapped up" and passed over the Boy Scout camp...
These sort of situations are always a blow to the stomach to everyone involved and no chaser ever wants to see anyone injured while chasing after mother nature...One chaser even had to bail out of his vehicle after realizing that a circulation was passing right over him! This day was certainly a dangerous chase day, and my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that had their lives changed due to this event. After staying ahead of the HP blob, it started to coalesce with other HP monsters into a large MCS. We stayed ahead of this mess of convection on I-80, stopping frequently to sample the shelf and lightning.
Typical view of the shelf along I-80 just west of Des Moines
CG bolt near Des Moines

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was the deadly storm that took the lives of 4 boy scouts..that was so sad..That tornado was rated as an E-f3..Those were awesome pictures..