A large ice storm in the midwest states had been in the forecast for several days. Models agreed the weekend would bring significant ice accumulation with associated power outages and travel difficulties. Zach Sharp, Brennan Jontz and myself from the Iowa Storm Chasing Network had a quick dinner and then hit the streets around 8pm on January 15th (Brennan drove separately and stayed in Ankeny, IA).
Zach and I were livestreaming to numerous sources, and did live “phoner” interviews with the streaming video for KCCI TV at 9pm, 10pm, and 10:20pm. We headed home and caught some sleep, then headed out at 4am to cover the morning commute.
Thanks to road crews applying brine/salt, the main roads weren’t bad at all. Since it was a holiday (Martin Luther King Day) traffic wasn’t too bad, either. Nothing much going on at 4am, but then we heard a call on the police scanner – An elderly man was found on his porch. It appeared he had stepped out on his porch early in the morning, slipped on the ice, and died where he lay. The door to his house was still wide open. Definitely a sad event. Zach and I pulled up and shot some video of the police/ambulance, which was used later by KCCI on their evening news. I have mixed feelings about this, but I think the media was more interested in the flashing police lights than anything else. Still, I feel bad for this man and his family.
We came across a steep street covered with black ice, in which a few cars had slid out of control and ran into other vehicles parked along the street. A Des Moines police office also lost control of his vehicle and hit a parked car. We shot “B-Roll” video and also did a live hit for WeatherNation. A few media brokers picked up and sold our video, so overall it was a successful day. As always, it was fun chasing with Zach, although lack of sleep definitely took its toll on us.