Heavy snow was once again in the forecast for Northern Iowa, beginning Sunday afternoon (12th of March). Zach Sharpe and I headed to our “north headquarters”, the hotel attached to the Diamond Jo Casino* on I-35 a few miles from the Minnesota border. Brennan Jontz joined us, but drove separately.
We encountered heavy snow on the way up, and it snowed consistently throughout the evening. We were livestreaming, and KCCI used our video feed several times for the evening/nightly news, while Zach did a few live field reports. We happened upon a single vehicle accident at the Joice IA exit off I-35. Fire department was on scene but an ambulance was dispatched from a town several miles away, and due to treacherous road conditions, was taking a long time to get there. We parked in a safe location (not like there was any traffic out) and KCCI grabbed a few seconds of our livestream for the 10pm news. One of the firefighters came over to see if we were okay (since we had been parked with flashers on for several minutes) and when he got to the car he recognized Zach and I and told us her had seen out earlier Facebook Live weathercast. Cool!
We stayed out late and captured lots of quality “B-Roll” events, Zach uploaded several video packages by around midnight, then we hit the sack because KCCI wanted us back out at 4am for morning news.
Again, a few live field reports, then we headed for home. We sold several video packages to ABC/Good Morning America, KCCI, NBC and KCCI/CBS. All in all, a productive storm chase. We stopped for lunch at The Other Place Pizza in Clear Lake, Iowa. A lady there came up to us and asked us if we were with the Iowa Storm Chasing Network and asked to have her picture taken with us. People actually recognize us! It’s both a flattering and humbling experience.
All in all, it was an excellent chase. We got plenty of good video coverage and were able to bring real-time conditions to the public as it was occurring.
* Everyone makes fun of us because we stay at the casino hotel, but there is actually a good reason why we do. The casino (and hotel) has generator power backup. If the weather gets severe and they cut over to generators rather than run the risk of hundred of people being angry about losing power in the middle of their (insert gambling device / game here). So basically, we know we won’t lost electricity.