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    My First March Tornado

    I had a nice day across southwest Iowa. I have long had a hatred for chasing in March due to the fast storm motions and infrequency of quality situations this far north. This event also had concerns with moisture quality and fast storm motions, but after a long winter of not being in the car and feeling the warm air, I was ready to give it a try. I met up with long-time friend and chase partner Chris Lenz in southwest Iowa by early afternoon and we sat and chatted for a while waiting for storms to organize over eastern Nebraska, and move into western Iowa. Once storms neared Nebraska City, Chris and I blasted east through the Losse Hills trying to keep up with the storms. This proved to be a difficult task and were overtaken by the first storm near the town of Emerson, IA where we observed quarter size hail and winds to near 60 mph. After trying to keep up with the storm for the next hour, Chris and I got separated. We were both going to call it a day, but I observed another supercell to my southeast and it was only about 20 miles away.

    Using mainly gravel roads I made my way to Corning, IA where I met up with US 34. This took me east toward Creston, IA. Although I was behind the supercell, I was able to observe clearly a funnel start to develop on the south side of the main updraft tower. The funnel developed rather wide, and at times looked like it would produce an elephant trunk tornado. The funnel appeared to be struggling though, but finally it narrowed in diameter and more robust rotation was visible in the condensation. Shortly after this (at 513 pm), debris was clearly visible on the surface and the condensation quickly developed to the ground. The tornado lasted around 3-4 min before going through a nice rope out stage. I then followed the storm east of Creston, but since I was due back at work for a mid shift, I let the storm go and called it a day.

    This was a really rewarding chase, and my first March tornado ever. As well as my first tornado in Iowa since April 11, 2001!


    Initial Funnel Cloud

    Funnel Narrows

    Roping Out

    Letting the storm go

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