Nebulous noteables: Iowegian monster

I drove from western central Minnesota back home to Omaha yesterday after picking up our car from its repair after its unfortunate encounter with the deer, and I chose a route that I’d not driven before. There were a few notable events along the way (including a close call with another deer in broad daylight), but the most memorable was what I think must be the largest storm cloud I’ve ever seen.  I first noticed it when I was somewhere north of Pipestone, Minnesota, and I watched it develop and grow…and grow…and grow all the way home, for at least five hours, until the Loess Hills to the east of Council Bluffs, Iowa (just across the state line with Nebraska)  finally obscured it. Unable to do more than watch it in awe while driving, I stopped once, between Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Monster thunderhead 2221Iowa, to make this photo. I checked my weather radar app on my phone and determined its location as between Storm Lake and Fort Dodge in Iowa. Checking maps when I was finally home, I realized that, when I’d first seen it, it was close to 150 miles away, and when I made this image, probably around 100 miles–yes, Dorothy, it was really that big! At its peak, it must have reached something around 70,000 feet in altitude. I was very thankful that I was able to observe it from afar and that my route didn’t take me anywhere near it!

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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20 Responses to Nebulous noteables: Iowegian monster

  1. Yep….keeping your distance probably best advice. Still hard to imagine just how high that colossus was.

  2. Adrian Lewis says:

    That’s really very impressive – living here on this damp little island, I’m often grateful to be away from some of the weather extremes found in some continental climates.

  3. Vicki says:

    Stunning (but I’m glad you weren’t too close to it).
    Almost looks like the sky was painted, it looks so unreal.

  4. Write This Down says:

    We may be moving back to the Midwest from Texas and I’m actually kind of looking forward to these kinds of storms again. We only get convective storms, where they pop up in short bursts and pieces to dump about an inch or two of rain on us in about 20 minutes. I love seeing these types of frontal storms move in.

  5. I’m trying to wrap my mind around a storm cloud you could see from more than one state! It’s a beaut, that’s for sure. I love your image of it too, with the road leading right to it, and the sky so heavy around it.

    • krikitarts says:

      I was driving down the interstate (29) and I finally couldn’t stand it any more. So I took an exit and drove toward it for around five miles and then turned left onto a gravel farm road, looking for a suitable foreground, and finally found this dirt track that led east through the huge field of soybeans. It was well worth the detour!

  6. shoreacres says:

    Channeling your inner storm chaser, I see. That’s really a beauty. I love watching summer cumulus bubble up. If conditions here are right, they can do it so quickly it’s like watching canned whipped cream pile up. I especially like the way you’ve positioned the road to bisect the cloud activity. I can’t say for sure, but it looks to me as though you’ve captured the birth of an outflow boundary there on the left side.

    • krikitarts says:

      It actually started out much wider, but about two-thirds of it disconnected and moved off on its own to the north. I made some photos of it too, during the same stop, and it was still twice as wide as this one but not quite as tall–and not quite so photogenic. But yes, I watched the top of its anvil wafting off toward the left, but there was so much more under it that it just kept building. Glad you like the road–it was in the right place when I needed it!

  7. Given the cloud’s altitude, it’s fair to say you had a peak experience.

  8. From my viewpoint for sunrises in New Salem, I can often see clouds at a great distance, but not often on a flat expanse like this for such a long view. I think it might have been an interesting experience to weather that storm.

    • krikitarts says:

      It must have been, and I’ve started to look into that and am waiting to hear back from a newspaper editor in the area. I’ll report back when/if I hear from him.

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