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July 14 severe potential

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Got on the storm near Shell Rock in the nick of time and got a couple glimpses/grab shot of the Waverly tornado. Didn't play it quite right so no clear, definitive view like that Twitter video. Stayed with the storm until it went hopelessly HP, then was stuck in near-blinding rain most of the way home. More later.

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Tornado just hit SE Barrie. Residential neighbourhood, some cars and trailers flipped, at least one house pushed off its foundation, people reportedly trapped. 

Environment Canada didnt have this Tornado warned. Storm Chasers on Twitter realized the danger and started trying to contact them immediately 



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5 minutes ago, mississaugasnow said:

Tornado just hit SE Barrie. Residential neighbourhood, some cars and trailers flipped, at least one house pushed off its foundation, people reportedly trapped. 

Environment Canada didnt have this Tornado warned. Storm Chasers on Twitter realized the danger and started trying to contact them immediately 



Better video 



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Copy-paste job from what I posted on Stormtrack:

I was on the Shell Rock-Waverly, IA storm on Wednesday, due to a combination of mistakes and my reluctance to get especially close (I prefer to keep the whole meso in view, rather than get underneath it) I didn't get any clear, definitive shots of the tornadoes.

Seen pictures and videos from several chasers that were on the large/EF3 Lake City tornado, and the much more photogenic Stanhope-Jewell tornado. Those storms were too early and too far west for me. Coming from Madison, my work day chase range is pretty much limited to I-35 eastward in Iowa and I-80 northward in Illinois (terrain in Wisconsin sucks except for a small part of Rock County just north of the IL line).

First photo is looking west from the junction of US 218 and IA-3 between Shell Rock and Waverly, timestamp according to my camera is 5:14 PM CDT. According to DMX's preliminary survey, the first tornado began southwest of Shell Rock at 5:16. I believe the incipient tornado is that nub lowering between the two trees at the lower left. I was also receiving small (up to about dime sized) hail at this location.

This was where I made my crucial mistake. I'm coming to realize one thing I need to get better at is recognizing when I'm actually in good position on a tornadic supercell. My instinct is always to keep moving and stay ahead of things (and stay out of the rain), but if I'd just held my ground here a few more minutes, or even gone north on 218 just far enough to make a U-turn and come back south, I would have had a great view of the tornado for several minutes.


Instead, I went north on 218 to the next exit (getting into blinding rain); then hopped off there east which followed a zig-zag path back to IA-3 in Waverly. I followed 3 through Waverly, where the sirens were wailing. As I was emerging from the town on the east edge, I looked in my rear-view mirror to see what sure looked like a stout elephant's trunk funnel! However in the time it took me to pull over (just west of the intersection of 39th St. SE and IA-3), the feature shrank to what you see in the picture below, which still sure looks like a funnel with a possible diffuse debris cloud or at least rotating rain curtains underneath it. In a few more seconds (naturally, the amount of time it took me to switch my DSLR to video mode and start recording), the feature disappeared, although strong cloud base rotation persisted.


The evolution I observed greatly resembles the period from about 6:05 to 6:44 in this video from Live Storms Media, albeit from a different angle and further away. However, the timestamp on my DSLR for this shot is 5:27 PM CDT, or in between the two tornadoes in the Shell Rock-Waverly area according to DMX's preliminary survey results. So either my timestamp is wrong, or the survey is. ***

The storm, like most of the other tornadic supercells I've observed, was also spamming CG lightning in the clear air between the meso and the forward-flank precip; those (positively-charged?) instantaneous bolts with little to no branching, followed immediately by shotgun-blast thunderclaps. For this reason, I didn't feel safe getting out of my car for very long, let alone setting up for tripoded video.

While it's always frustrating being on the right storm at the right time and not fully capitalizing on it, I prefer that to a total bust (either no storms form, totally missing the storm, you drive 12 hours and storms fail to become tornadic in an environment where they were expected to [coughLeotiKSMay26cough], storms form but immediately go linear, etc).

This is also the first time I've gone to Iowa for a chase and actually gotten on a legit tornadic supercell. Also far and away my best storm in over two years with the lackluster springs of 2020 and '21, and first glimpse of a tornado since 2016.

***DMX updated their survey to have a single tornado from SW of Shell Rock to SE of Waverly, a 12.7 mile path, rated EF1. This confirms that the feature in my second photo is indeed the tornado. Per video from other chasers who didn't f*** it up, it had a diffuse/chaotic multivortex structure for most of its life with only intermittent fully condensed vorticies. Red stars on the track map are my vantage points for the photos above:

Will update with video later.


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On 7/16/2021 at 11:43 PM, hawkeye_wx said:

The July 14th tornado outbreak ranks third in the Iowa record book.


This little tidbit from DMX's morning AFD did not exactly age well. Almost convinced me not to chase, thanks to @andyhb's comment on here about the 0-3KM CAPE for kicking me out the door.

With the likely scenarios 
that storms will organize along these boundaries where convergence 
will help to break the cap, the risk of tornadoes is lowering 
compared to previous forecasts. Even the QLCS tornado risk is lower 
with the current guidance showing more multicell convection outside 
of the WRF-ARW, which shows more upscale growth into a bowing 


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