June 20, 2018   

Talk about the spur-of-the-moment chase of the year for me, this qualifies.  I was out running multiple errands and got a call from my son Ryan as I'm driving home around 12:00pm telling me about the risk up in Iowa.  I had not even paid attention to any of the weather models for the day and had no idea about the risk.  A quick consultation with Brian Stertz on the phone for his thoughts and by 12:30pm, I was on the road to pick up Ryan, who by chance had the afternoon off, and we headed north to Iowa.

We set our initial target in Southeast Iowa.  Had not picked out a particular target as there was convection on-going.  As we got up to the Iowa border, the storms already in progress did not look too promising as the storms were pretty much in a line with nothing looking severe, much less looking tornadic.  We chose to take Highway 27 north to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, but the line was quickly approaching the highway, so we detoured east toward Fort Madison, Iowa to stay ahead of the line and took Highway 61 north.  We briefly crossed over the Mississippi River at Burlington, Iowa into Illinois as we kept ahead of the line to see what the storms would produce, but realized that other than the nice looking shelf cloud on the front, there was little or no hope for any spin ups.

We began seeing some new convection beginning to break out back to the west on radar closer to the surface low, so we retraced our path back into Iowa and proceeded west out of Burlington, Iowa.  There were several cells that we were watching as we moved westward.  We made our next target Fairfield, Iowa.  There were several cells moving from the southwest toward that area as well as several cells north of there.  As we neared Fairfield, a tornado warning comes out for a cell to the northwest of us with a confirmed tornado.   Hmmm, 38 miles away.  We initially set our eyes on intercepting that storm, but decided after driving a few miles that the the storm was moving north-northeast and away from us and decided to continue to target the cells to the southwest.  We figured that if the storm to the north put down a tornado, those storms to the south might do so as well.  We positioned ourselves so we could see the approaching storms, but unfortunately, the storms never intensified.  Again, the most we got out of the storm was a well defined shelf cloud.

12 Hours      *      Total Miles  - 544.0

Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.

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