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Considering the warmth of February's temperatures I guess it should come as no surprise that severe weather paid parts of the Midwest a very early visit Tuesday afternoon. In my area the first tornado watch of the year was issued. I've been during weather for more 4 decades and I can't remember ever issuing a tornado watch in February. The Iowa Mesonet says they only have records on the topic back to 2005 but indicated this was the first time they can document it happening.

Even as late as Tuesday evening, tornado watches were in effect for a large part of the central U.S. Quite impressive with peak heating long gone.

In my area the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities issued 21 severe thunderstorm warnings and 6 tornado warnings. The last time that office issued a tornado warning in February was in 1986!

At the time of this post 20 tornadoes had been reported by the SPC.

Here's some images of one of the stronger tornadoes in the region around Ottawa, Illinois. Reports indicate at least 1 person was killed there.

Closer to home here's a shot of quarter size hail that covered the ground on the southeast side of Iowa City, Iowa late Tuesday afternoon.

This image was taken near Wellman, Iowa and shows a similar situation. Who needs snow with hail like this?

With the storm exiting the Midwest northerly winds and colder weather will sweep across the region Wednesday. Some light snow or flurries will fall as far south as Iowa and northern Illinois early in the day. Steady or falling temperatures will be found from my area east and south. The brisk winds and wintry temperatures will make for a big change from the 60s and 70s that covered southeast Iowa and points east and south on Tuesday.

So we say good-bye to February which definitely went out like a lion. What does March bring. I suspect more of the same. Roll weather...TS

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