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The storm system that impacted the region Tuesday night with showers and even some thunderstorms, also produced the first confirmed tornado of the year in my area. The NWS in the Quad Cities (which issued a tornado warning the specific storm), surveyed the damage and came up with an EF-0 rating. The twister had peak winds of 80 mph, was on the ground for 0.1 mile and had a max width of 30 yards. The storm occurred in Lee County, Iowa just 3 miles northwest of Fort Madison

The brief spin-up produced roof and tree damage and destroyed a shed at a home northwest of the Ft. Madison Municipal Airport.

The storm system was also a good rain producer with much of the area seeing totals of 1/3 to 3/4 of and inch.

That was pretty much the case throughout Iowa and western Illinois.

The next storm up is rapidly developing Wednesday night and will make itself known with a day of clouds, and rain that spreads northeast starting in the south mid afternoon and reaching the north by early evening.

With NE winds and clouds before the rain, temperatures will be slow to warm and it will be a chilly late March day. The 3k NAM hold highs in the mid 40s.

The rain with this system will fall mainly southeast of HWY 20. Amounts NW of the Quad Cities are generally under 2/10ths of an inch. From the Quad Cities southeast amounts of 1/3rd of an inch are possible, maybe slightly more in the far south. My area is just a bit outside of the heaviest precipitation shield which passes through central Illinois.

A bigger weather story may unfold over the SC United States where a severe weather outbreak is anticipated. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a high risk of severe storms (level 5 out of 5). Some long track violent tornadoes are a real possibility if trends hold and development takes place as anticipated.

The big story for me Wednesday was getting my first Covid vaccination at the Portland, Maine Expo Center. The shot was a breeze but there was a lot of protocol and long winding lines. Even with an appointment I was there for an hour and a half. It was well organized and I'm not complaining, just one of things you have to do in the world we live in today. To be honest, its a huge blessing our country can generate a health response such as this. It should have happened sooner but as the saying goes, better late than never.

By the way, Portland has a great minor league sports presence. Because of the pandemic I never experienced a single event but as I wandered around the Expo center I could see all the promotional signs.

The Red Claws play in a basketball development league tied to the Boston Celtics. I am going to get some swag showing their mascot which of course is centered on Portland's greatest natural resource, the lobster!

Outside the Expo Center is the baseball stadium which is home to the Portland Sea Dogs. I'm really bummed I didn't get to see a game here. The dogs are the Double A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The stadium is one of the nicest for that level of baseball and its character reminds me of the River Bandits place on the Mississippi back home.

As I walked away from the quiet venues following my shot, I was reminded of all the sacrifices we've made for this dreaded virus. Sadly, many involved death and suffering and were much greater than sports or wearing a mask. I'm truly grateful to all the front line workers, doctors, researchers, and others who have helped us through this awful time in history. It won't be long before we can play ball and be amongst one another again. That shot in the arm today gave me a poke of appreciation for my health, family, and friends such as you. Roll weather and here's a special message to Covid, don't let the door hit you in the butt! TS


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