Radar Tells the Story of Fatal Adair County Tornado

Data pix.

ADAIR COUNTY, Iowa  -- This morning's EF-2 Tornado near Adair was a very small storm within a very large low pressure system. The line that produced the tornado actually started back in northeast Kanas, where it didn't become severe until it moved into NW Missouri. That was when the first Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued.

The storm eventually pushed into southern Iowa where the first warning came around 11:35 PM for Page County. A Tornado Warning was also issued for Page County around 12:02 AM but was allowed to expire before it moved in to Montgomery county as the rotation was no longer as evident.

The Severe Thunderstorm Warning continued for Montgomery county and was eventually extended into Cass and Adair county around 12:43 AM.  At this time there was evidence of some rotation, so the National Weather Service included a tag indicating that a tornado was possible within the severe warned thunderstorm.

This storm did produce a tornado. It was around 1:20 AM, less than 1 mile southeast of the main part of Adair.
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings should always be taken seriously. Whether or not a tornado has been detected, severe thunderstorms can sometimes produce as much damage as lower end tornadoes.

Of course severe storms (and specifically tornadoes) at night pose challenges of their own.

Night time storms are difficult to see, few to no spotters are out at night, and the biggest challenge of all is that at night, most people are asleep. Unless you have a NOAA weather radio, or special apps that alert you for both severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, you may sleep through those alerts. Overnight tornadoes are rare in the state of Iowa. Less than 5% of all tornadoes in the past 38 years have occurred between midnight and 6 AM. Around 70% of tornadoes occur between 2 and 7 PM.

A NOAA weather radio will give you the best chance of surviving an overnight storm. Set it to alert you for Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and Tornado Warnings, so when it wakes you up, you can take cover.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.