Paul Craven's 8/16/97 Chase

8/16/97 Chase by Paul Vincent Craven

Hello all!

Starting from Indianola, IA:

Val and I saw storm cells going up to our south-east (about 100-150 miles), and soon they started to anvil. A check of KCCI's doppler showed the strongest returns in our county however! I didn't see much of that cell though. I was interested in what was SE of us.

When I went back outside after checking the radar, the cells to the SE had tops overshooting the anvil. I called my dad on the radio and said to load up his less-than-a-week old Chevy Blazer and lets go! I didn't think the cell over us would amount to much. So my dad, my wife, and I started south of Indianola on 65/69. I thought we would get into the good looking cell from the south-west. It was headed NE, so that would be a good place to be I thought.

Well, we quickly forgot about that cell, when we topped a rise and saw a funnel cloud to our south west on the ground with debris! This local cell was a bit more interesting than I thought!

We called it into the local ham and county fire department frequencies (my dad works part-time for the county, and can do this). We got to a good spot and watched the funnel dissapate, reform, hit the ground, then dissapate, etc. Hopefully I got some good stills from it. Great contrast! Range was about a mile and a half or so at the closest. Small tornado.

We moved as the tornado was tracking NE, right towards us. Soon it did not appear any more. Eventually the wall started to soften up, and lost any major rotation. It had some slow low level rotation that continued for a while.

We chased it and another wall cloud that formed well past sunset. Constant lightning kept it illuminated. No more funnel clouds, which was good though. This line moved across the Iowa State Fair and the Knoxville National Sprint Car championship. Both of which had at least 20,000 people!

Tomorrow I'll be going to the one-hour photo shop and I am eager to see if any of the stills turned out. It'll be fun for Val and I to post these at work if they do. Check my web page in a few days, I'll put them up if they work out.

Paul Vincent Craven

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