Took a trip up to Iowa for the storm setup in Southwest Iowa. Was disappointed that our chase partner/forecaster Brian Stertz had to sit this one out because of doctor's orders as he is still in recovery mode from his medical issue, but Tyler Schlitt and my son Ryan, and I made up the chase team for the trip.
As we started, we already had a decision to be made on which direction to go as there was still indecision whether the storms would fire near the Nebraska border or more toward the center of Iowa. Our choices were to go west to Kansas City, Missouri, then north or go north through Hannibal, Missouri, then west in Iowa. We made the decision to go north through Hannibal and then take Highway 34 west in Iowa. Once we reached Ottumwa, Iowa, we had our lunch at a Pizza Hut. This being one of our chasing superstitions, it seems more times than not, eating at a Pizza Hut produces a tornado for us later in the day. Would it work today?
After lunch, we continued west on Highway 34 with now a flexible target of Osceola, Iowa. That would give us plenty of road options in every direction. When we got to Osceola, we chose to continue west toward Creston, Iowa. We were seeing two areas of interest. An area of building storms to the southwest coming up from near Maryville, Missouri and an area of building storms to the southeast near Bethany, Missouri. Both of these areas were moving north-northeast toward our general area.
At this point, it was a waiting game as we watched both areas. We played in the middle of each of these areas so we could bolt either direction depending which set of storms would take the lead. Eventually, the group of storms coming at us from the southwest began to show the signs of becoming the more aggressive storms. We worked our way a bit south to meet these storms and we were noticing that one area was showing consistent rotation. We lined ourselves up with the storm and positioned east of Redding, Iowa. The storm wrapped up and the wall cloud now was dropping a funnel cloud. Although the base of the storm was hidden by trees, we were able to confirm a tornado based on the debris it pulled up a couple times.
The tornado/funnel cloud lasted for nearly six and a half minutes as we watched the entire event. Once the funnel had lifted, we worked our way north and east and continued to stay in front of the circulation. We stopped several times for a glance and then stopped in an open area just northeast of Delphos, Iowa. At this point the base of the wall cloud lowered had some hard circulation going on. The tight circulation never condensed to show a visible tube, but as we watched, occasionally it would kick up dirt. Since this tornado was out in an open field, so no visible damage was seen.
After this show, it was becoming obvious that the show was over for the day. Rain was being pulled around the meso and the circulations were becoming weaker. We made our way back to I-35 and headed north to I-80 and then east. We stopped in Iowa City for the night as it put us in position for the day 2 event that was looking to be in Southeast Iowa and Northeastern Illinois.