April 22, 2005 – Chase in Eastern Illinois

I wasn’t really planning on chasing today, but the SPC teased me with the first morning Day 1 and the moderate risk that it plotted. The next 2 outlooks ended up moving the threat further east and south, but I wasn’t giving up hope yet. They issued a mesoscale discussion for eastern IL and western/central Indiana stating a possible watch was in the works. Satellite showed a nice clear slot pushing into IL and the upper level low was heading this way. Luckily things at work were going real slow, so I was able to sneak out early and prepare for a possible chase. The first severe cells were down in Perry/Washington county and were hauling it to the northeast. My plan was to head south and then jog east/south to intercept them.

I departed a little after 2:00pm and stopped to top off the gas tank. ($2.29/gal) I headed south on I-57 until I reached Mattoon. I decided to head east on Rt 16 till I got to Charleston. (go EIU!) After struggling through traffic, I made my way out of town a few miles. I heard a broken transmission on the scanner reporting a tornado on the ground in Macon county. I quickly pulled off the road and called my pal Mike Cox for an update. He said it looked like junk on radar, but said the warning stated there was a confirmed tornado on the ground. I decided to get back online and check this for myself. The stuff I was originally going for south of me seemed to be moving at a pretty good clip. I said the heck with it and decided to head back west and then north.

Once back on I-57, I checked radar again and noticed the stuff in Macon county was dying out but some new cells were popping up right north of me. When I intercepted them, they were nothing but heavy rain. Nothing else was looking worth a hoot in the area, so I decided to call it a chase. I headed back home and arrived back in Champaign around 4:45pm.

Final Thoughts:
Well I didn’t see much out there, but it was better than sitting at home. Thanks to Mike Cox, Andrew Pritchard, and Skip Talbot for keeping tabs on me out there. 🙂 Hopefully May will bring some better stuff our way.

Total Mileage: 145 miles

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