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Hi everybody, this is T. Swails and I'm excited to announced a one-of-a-kind festival that is bringing in experts from all over the region to tell you everything you need to know about derechos, tornadoes, and all kinds of extreme weather. It's very comprehensive and even comes with an outdoor concert. I'll have more on that below but first I have a favor to ask.... the venue only holds about 150 people and we are really trying to get a handle on the number of you who would be interested in attending the fest. Because of the space constraints, we are hoping that those who may be able to attend will just drop us a quick text or email to let us know of your pending interest. (You do not need to commit!) It would be so helpful and Carolyn and I would really appreciate it. You can text 563 676 3320 with a yup, I'm interested, or just drop a quick email to Now on to the exciting details! Did I mention this fest DOES have LIVE MUSIC too!

Now, here's the specifics of what will be a big day of weather...

When: Saturday, August 21, 2021

Seminar Time: 12:30 to 5:00 P.M. (doors open at noon)

Where: The Mississippi River Distillery event center Le Claire, Iowa

Post Seminar Concert: 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. at the Dirty Water Music Amphitheatre Le Claire, Iowa

Purpose: To raise funds for the operation of

Cost: $59.99 ($69.99 at the door)

The 2021 program features an impressive and varied roster of severe weather scientists and forecasters. Here is the list of speakers and their talks for the Saturday, August 21st Tornado and Severe Weather program which begins at 12:30 P.M. Seating is limited so get your seats now. The individual speakers and their topics.


Rich Kinney (Warning coordinator Meteorologist National Weather Service Quad Cities)

Rich and his team were at the heart of the 2021 Derecho warning process with the storm progressing through the heart of their service area. Rich discusses the evolution and challenges of forecasting and warning the event which is labeled the worst thunderstorm in U.S. history. Rich will also discuss his role in determining the 140 mph wind gusts which devastated Cedar Rapids claiming 65% of the tree canopy.


Dr. Victor Gensini (College of DuPage)

Dr. Gensini’s talk focuses on long range tornado prediction. He’s developed a new pattern recognition technique which offers insight into the potential for tornado activity in a region beyond the current 8 day outlook period. Forecasting tornadoes is a challenging task, due to the small space and time scales on which tornadoes occur. His research shows that there are predictable ways to anticipate favorable and unfavorable jet stream patterns for severe weather across the U.S. This is helping lead to better anticipation and forecasting of tornadoes in the two to three week time frame. Dr. Gensini will also speak to the topic of severe weather past, present, and future and how climate change is reshaping tornado alley.


Terry Swails (Emmy Award winning television meteorologist and lead forecaster at

Terry will highlight the areas worst tornadoes and discuss trends he’s found in his research. His presentation also includes some captivating videos and stories that will have you on the edge of your seat.


National Weather Service (Speaker to be determined)

This session focuses on the epic May 15, 1968 tornado outbreak that generated two deadly EF5 tornadoes which battered Charles City and Oelwein, Iowa. The rare EF5 twisters which struck within 10 minutes of one another and were only 60 miles apart. There is no other history of two EF5 storms occurring at the same time and day within the state of Iowa. The tornadoes killed 18 and injured another 619 others. Historically this is considered to be one of Iowa’s worst tornado outbreaks.


Terry Swails

Terry speaks to the power of this monster and shows two of the most compelling videos ever taken of such a violent storm. They reveal the rapid formation of the mile wide funnel and depict the ferocity that makes it the deadliest tornado in modern history. This is some heavy-duty video that is absolutely riveting. The twister is the worst in modern day U.S. history with its 160 deaths and Terry explains why this beast claimed so many lives despite tornado warnings up to 20 minutes before the storm arrived in Joplin.

THE WASHINGTON, ILLINOIS EF4 TORNADO AND THE RARE HIGH RISK SPC OUTLOOK NOVEMBER 17th. (Violent Midwest twisters “can” happen in the fall and winter).

Terry Swails

Terry Swails takes an in depth look at this explosive outbreak back on November 17th, 2013. The day dawned with a rare high risk SPC outlook that quickly led to a PDS tornado watch by mid-morning. By 11:00 A.M. the worst and deadliest November tornado in Illinois history was dealing out 190 mph winds. Ironically, the recovery was soon after hampered by cold and snow. Terry will explain the unique parameters that set this day in motion.

THE PARKERSBURG EF5 May 25th, 2008

Rod Donovan (Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Des Moines).

May 25th, 2008 the first EF5 tornado to touch down in eastern Iowa in 40 years roared through the southern half of Parkesburg just before 5:00 P.M. Extreme winds of 205 mph caused extreme devastation as the storm carved a 43 mile path narrowly missing Cedar Falls and Waterloo. Despite excellent watches and warnings, the shear power of the storm killed 9 and injured 70. Hear the story of the day from the perspective of the NWS diligently worked knowing that a large and deadly storm was tearing through its service area.


Chris Luhring (Parkersburg Chief of Police at the time and current city manager).

Immediately following the Parkersburg tornado, it looked as if a bomb had exploded. Death and destruction prevailed and coordinating the response and recovery of his hometown fell on the 27-year-old shoulders of police chief Chris Luhring. Surveying the scene in the immediate aftermath, the destruction was so immense that Luhring set up a triage center and a morgue that could handle what he thought could be as many as 125 bodies. He soon found out one of his family members was a victim. His compelling, heroic, and at times heartbreaking story of hope, compassion, and leadership is a must hear.


Following the seminar, the group moves on to the Dirty Water Music Amphitheater for a free outdoor concert that last from 5:00-7:00 P.M. (maybe later). The band will be playing up a “storm” featuring cover songs perfect for a bunch of weatherheads.

This is the brand new Mississippi River Distillery Event Center where the seminar will be held.

We'll even have access to the roof during breaks to enjoy a panoramic view of the old Muddy itself.

Of course you can purchase your tickets now, a good idea as sales have been moving at a good clip. Just click on the banner below. Don't forget to TEXT 563-676-3377 or email if you are thinking of being apart of this unique event.

All you chasers and hard core weather enthusiasts. I'm asking that you help me spread the word about StormFest. I have what I think is first rate day planned with great speakers, topics, an excellent venue and an outdoor concert. I do need your energy and presence to make this the weather event of the summer. Please spread the word and get your tickets. Seating is limited so don't delay, get yours today!

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