This video of the twisted weather in Iowa this weekend shows the truth of the old horror-movie maxim that it’s the things you don’t see that are frightening.
Stormchasers exploring Pocahontas in the northwestern part of the state on Saturday stumbled upon this monstrosity eating up the ground in pitch blackness, illuminated only by sporadic crackles of lightning. As the cameraman needlessly shouts that he’s “getting it” on film, a dark finger extends down from the clouds and begins to swell – and soon the stormchasers are greeted with the nightmarish spectacle of twin dark tornadoes rampaging through the land. (Hat tip to Jason Samenow, who wrote about the freakish event this morning.)
The cameraman has not been heard from since. (Kidding. But seriously, it’s only a matter of time for people who like to run after tornadoes at night.)
This two-footed tornado was among 10 reported in Iowa this weekend. A giant twister three quarters of a mile wide swept away more than half the town of Mapleton in western Iowa, although residents made the best of a warning of 10 to 20 minutes and no lives were lost. The damage to Mapleton suggests it was visited by an EF3 tornado. Here’s an adrenaline-pumping account of the view from the ground, from the Des Moines Register:
"It was just this big, wide, dark wall of cloud and wind," Dixie Peters, 57, said. "It wasn't some little funnel."
Jim Peters jumped in his Ford Explorer and told his wife to get in, but she was already running down the street.
Jim Peters said he drove a block away in panic; his wife jumped into a ditch, clung to a wooden post and curled up on the ground as the tornado passed.
"You're just being pounded with dirt and rain," she said. "I'm afraid I'm going to be reliving that for longer than I want to."
Here's another video of a night tornado in Iowa during this weekend's stormy weather: