4-9-11 Tornado Outbreak: Mapleton, IA
Jeff and Brian and a few friends started the day off by heading to Sioux City, IA. Making the traditional stop to get some Chick-Fil-A, They waited for storms to fire. The first storm fired near Norfolk, NE and gained strength. Jeff headed south on I-29 to get in position across the river and met with the storm in Sloan, IA. We continued east on 141 as we got into the hook to be able to see the storm best without having any rain block our view. As we were entering Mapleton, IA we noticed a wall cloud with a brief funnel as rain curtained around. We continued east on 141 out of Mapleton as we stopped to watch. The inflow to the storm was intense. A large funnel came down and picked up a lot of dirt. Eventually the funnel came all the way down as the tornado intensified and dirt covered the entire funnel. We moved north to watch it pass in front of us, but the tornado stopped before it got a chance to cross the road we were on. This tornado had taken a direct hit on the small town of Mapleton, IA. However, we were not aware of this until later in the evening. So, we continued our chase as it became dark. We were able to capture 2 more tornadoes at night, one was a nice elephant trunk tornado that lasted a good 7 minutes and took on many shapes near Ida Grove, IA. The other was a large multi vortex wedge tornado. Jeff and Brian had to abandon the chase to return to Omaha that night since Brian had to work. It was a hard thing for Jeff with a wedge being on the ground, but being content with what we saw we headed back. This storm would later produce 7 more tornadoes and one being 3 miles wide.
· Tornadoes: 3
· Miles: 400
· States: NE, IA
· Hail: ping pong ball