April 8, 1999
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It was a hopping day in Iowa. In the morning we had some severe thunderstorms move through. Late morning a few more moved through. But the real show was waiting for the line of storms that were coming in from the Nebraska and Missouri.

Dewpoints were great down in Missouri. The dryline that was moving though was very sharp. Up in Iowa we didn't have the dewpoints, but we still had plenty to spawn some tornadoes. The low ended up moving farther north than expected, and we had great wind shear. So while most of the chasers were down in Missouri, we got the full brunt of the tornadoes here in Iowa.

I chased near the Van Meter, Urbandale and Grimes Iowa area with my dad. Due to logistical reasons, my wife had the chase vehicle, and I went out with my dad. I missed the ability to monitor two radio bands at the same time, but the worse was the lack of a camera mount in the car.

We followed ahead of a nice meso that was sucking up stuff from all around. The precipitation core behind it was solid through, so we couldn't see any tornadoes that were reported to be in it. You can see what it looked like in the picture above left. On the picture to the right, you can see that the rain stopped rather suddenly. These pictures were taken just off the Van Meter exit No. 113 on I-80.

We kept just ahead of the core. There were some pretty rain curtains where some inflow/outflow boundaries were. Unfortunately those don't video well, and I didn't take any still shots of it. They would have been just behind me in the pictures above. Directly above us was a small clearing where we could see the cumulous towering over us.

Above are a couple pictures just before a tornado formed. In the upper right picture, look just above the road, and then on the right. You can see the start of a funnel come down.

At this point we saw a nice rope funnel at the leading edge of the meso. The funnel extended most of the way down once or twice, but I couldn't see if there were any debris. It was poor in contrast. A white funnel on a white background. At one point it dissipated and left one of those neat horizontally suspended 'funnel beads' that take a second or two longer to die out. You can see the funnel in the shots above, but as you can tell it isn't very high contrast.

We did not actually see this hit the ground, but the NWS storm report had a tornado 3 miles east of Adel at 4:51 p.m.. This corresponds to the time and place we video taped this funnel, so I'll assume it hit ground and chalk it up as a tornado sighting.

The video of this was horrible. I was more interested in radioing the tornado in, than filming it. The image stabilizer on the camera was off. It just looked horrible. You can tell it is there, but that's about it. I had some video of the meso. It wasn't rotating strongly on the video. No fun striations or anything. I think not having those is normal for a fast moving storm. You can download a 2.4 meg mpeg video clip of it here.

I did get some nice shots of the front moving though at least.

KCCI showed some good video. One was from some chasers in New Virginia that caught a barn being destroyed by a tornado. It was a loose multi-vortex thing, but powerful enough to do in the barn. Some chasers from Oklahoma also showed incredible video.