Today is beginning to look like the best chance so far this year for tornadoes to develop here in Iowa. The Storm Prediction Center has posted a MODERATE risk for severe weather across eastern Iowa today. The primary threat across this area will be large hail and tornadoes, some of which could be strong and violent.
The atmosphere is expected to destabilize this afternoon in the wake of last night thunderstorms. Current thinking is that a cap will prevent thunderstorm development until early to mid afternoon. Once thunderstorms begin to develop and intensify, severe weather won’t have a problem taking shape. There is a strong likelihood of tornadoes in this first batch of storms that could lead to discrete supercells.
Some of these tornadoes might be strong, with a rating of EF-2 or higher. In the graphic to the right you can see the tornado probabilities in eastern Iowa are the highest they’ve ever been in Iowa this year, with a hatched out advising of the strong tornado threat.
The one bit of good news is we won’t see an all night severe weather event like we saw last night. Storms should reach the Mississippi River close to sunset or just before. In terms of chasing these storms that’s a good thing, because we’ll be fighting the river valley the closer storms get to the Mississippi. At this time we are planning to deploy early this afternoon to the central part of the state where we’ll keep a close eye on conditions just ahead of the cold front set to move through the area.
This is where we expect to see the best development of supercells across Iowa from 3pm-7pm. We are making preparations not only for our chase but to bring you information in real time for this event. We expect our next update to come just before noon so please be sure to check back then!