Currently, extreme western Iowa finds itself under a slight risk for severe weather tonight. Strong storms are expected to develop in South Dakota and Nebraska before making their way into Iowa later tonight.
All modes of severe weather are possible tonight, but the primary threat for western Iowa is strong, damaging winds. By midnight tonight we’ll get a good feel for where the action will set up for tomorrow, but some questions will certainly remain.
Right now, the Storm Prediction Center is keeping Friday’s forecasted risk for severe weather confined to the southeast third of Iowa. This is where a new round of strong storms is expected to develop sometime Friday afternoon. The biggest question is whether tonight’s storms give way to sunshine in order to destabilize the atmosphere. IF they don’t, the threat will move further to the southeast, away from Iowa.
At this time, however, the thinking is the storms tonight will dissipate or move away in time for sunshine to break out by early or mid afternoon. As the frontal boundary reaches a line from Waterloo to Des Moines, there will be little standing in it’s way from initiating thunderstorm development. All modes of severe weather are possible. The best chance to see tornadoes form would come in the first 1-3 hours of the event. This bodes well for chasers in southeast Iowa if storms can get going over the area.
Admittedly, this is an area I’m not too familiar with when it comes to storm chasing. But the road network in most of southern Iowa is pretty good and I don’t foresee any major problems.
As the event wears on, the threat will quickly shift to a damaging wind event. The greatest risk for that lies just south and east of Iowa, where the SPC has placed the highest probability for severe weather conditions. Overall it’s not a bad setup but i’d prefer to see a better one. Nevertheless days like this have come few and far between so far this year so we’ll take what we can get.
Due to prior engagements, we’ll start the day in Des Moines and work our way from there. Depending on the timing of thunderstorm development, it’s possible we won’t have to go far to chase down our first strong storm of the day.
We’ll have an update on the severe weather threat early Friday morning once new model runs and new severe weather outlooks are posted. We’ll also monitor tonight’s threat for western Iowa.