April 4th Pleasantville, IA Tornadic Supercell
April 4th was a complicated day. A powerful upper level low would pivot out onto the plains late in the period. Low level moisture was fairly shallow for a big event, with pockets of dry air mixing out the better moisture. It seemed like two areas would be the best targets: 1) southwest Iowa as the forcing came out, however moisture was forecast to mix (and did!), 2) southeast Iowa and western Illinois in the free warm sector. We sat in Ottumwa for a couple hours waiting for one target to become clear. It never really did. A cluster of storms formed in eastern Missouri and consolidated into a few supercells as they moved into western IL. We started to head that way to chase, but it would have been a long way back to Kansas City that night as several guests had to be back in Denver by late afternoon the next day. Shortly after we headed out to go to IL, the Iowa play started forming. A line of storms, now severe, formed along the dryline west of Osceola and moved east. The tail end storm really started getting it’s act together so we quickly turned around and headed toward Pella (where we saw a tornado 2 years ago!). As we approached Pella, a tornado warning came out with a confirmed tornado towards Pleasantville, which was another 15 miles west. We did all we could to get there, but were only able to get a glimpse of the pretty tornado before it dissipated. We stayed with the supercell as it approached the warm front and became tornado warned again. A brief spin up happened south of Malcom. The storm continued its path across the warm front, weakening in the colder air. Here’s a few pics of what we saw with the supercell, distant tornado and the second spin up. Enjoy!!!!
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