Nasty Storm but Minor Damage

Wall Cloud Martelle 06_16_2014

Wall Cloud – Eastern Linn County near Martelle, Iowa at 9:30 PM


Hello and welcome.  Would you believe that picture was taken in pitch black conditions?   As a wicked storm rolled in, I was making videos of intense lightning in hopes of capturing some usable footage for some fun special effects clips.

Earlier in the day, severe thunderstorms lashed the area.  I was working at the time.   The poor girl taking money at the drive-up window was getting drenched with each transaction.  All the while I cooked food in the kitchen but kept watching the free show.  Every time she opened the window, the paper towel rolls would blow over, the cleaning fluid bottles teetered, and rain would blow in… sideways!  We were all happy when the storm soon passed without the terrible hail that some places in the county had received.

But when I got home, there was an unpleasant surprise.  A very large branch fell from the tree by where the van is parked, narrowly missing it by 20 or so feet.  It would have severely damaged the vandwelling and would have easily crushed the solar panel.  Thankfully, the only damage was to the TV antenna mast – it had flipped over – but it is a simple repair.

antenna mountWhen I came up with the idea for the plastic PVC antenna mount, high winds were anticipated.  The pivoting base is secure but the top was made weaker than the metal bracket below.  I always figured the half-moon shaped PVC piece of pipe would break.  Causing the same effect, the wood screws simply pulled out and the mast rotated forward; the mast tube and antenna to laid down on the ladder rack… five or so inches ahead of the solar panel!

It sure is cool when a half-planned, rinky-dink contraption works.  I should have it fixed this evening… as good as new!

Lightning over the areaAnother storm (the one you see in the opening picture) came through later in the evening.  It spawned numerous tornadoes and funnel clouds all over the area, with one of the hardest hit areas in Fayette County near West Union.

Our immediate area had a tornado warning though I was unaware.  The weather radio was in the van and I was in the cornfield looking up.  As the wall cloud approached it was occasionally lit up by lightning.  Only when I heard a roar similar to a jet engine did it occur to me how bad things were.  A sound like a train or jet is indicative of a funnel cloud or tornado near by.

Just like a scene from the Wizard of Oz, leaves and such started blowing around and little kitty Bear Bear came running up to me meowing her heart out.  I agreed with her message, scooped up the cat, and we headed for the machine shed as the torrential rain started.  It made me wonder if she had come out to warn me to come inside.  I sure like that little cat.

This morning the news is full of stories about damage from the storms… something we see often in late spring… and we’re under the gun for more bad weather tonight.  It’s a typical late spring day in Iowa!  There’s never a dull moment!

Have a good day and thanks for visiting.

Brad and Serena in eastern Iowa


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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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