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Driving through Preparation Canyon State Park in Iowa. The 344-acre Iowa state park is a remote and lovely area relatively untouched by humans. The park is located in the Loess Hills, surrounded by dramatic ridges on the north, south and west. It provides a beautiful backdrop for hikers and family picnics.
We were just going to go for a drive on the Loess Hills Scenic Byway. We ended up filming main street Mapleton, Iowa, an hour before it was hit with a devastating wedge tornado. (1:15 on the video.) We were right on the edge of the cloud line and knew enough that we were seeing something unusual. When we met storm chasers parked along the road, we knew we were in a potentially dangerous area. We stayed on the outside edge of the storm and never did witness any tornadoes or severe weather. We continued on the byway, stopping to eat at Michael’s in Onawa where we overheard some other diners’ phone conversations about the Mapleton tornado. We certainly weren’t planning to see such a show in the sky — we were just planning to go for a nice drive.