April 5, 2009 – Chase to Southern Illinois

Normally I try to avoid chasing in southern Illinois due to the less than ideal terrain. However, my SDS was getting the best of me and I was anxious to chase something. I also wanted to try out my live video stream via ChaserTV. The Day 1 outlook had southeast Illinois in a slight risk and a 5% risk of tornadoes.

I departed Champaign at 10:15am and headed south on I-57 to Effingham. Once I got there, I continued south on RT 45. That was probably my first mistake as I quickly found out they were doing lots of road construction which slowed me down a bit. As I continued south, a tornado watch was issued for southeast IL, southern IN and western KY. (yay!) I stopped in Flora, IL to check data and watch the approaching non-severe storm heading towards me. I decided to keep heading south and see what I could find. I stopped again around 1:45pm in Norris City to grab a snack and check data again. It appeared like there were some storms firing up in southwest IL so I decided to head west and check them out.

I took RT 45 south and then went west on HWY 13 towards Marion. Around 2:50pm I pulled off just east of Marion in a church parking lot to watch the storms roll in. There was a line of non-severe storms that just produced some lightning and heavy rain. I didn’t see much else behind it so I decided to make my way back home north on I-57. Around 4pm, I noticed a storm fire up west of Salem, IL and it was all by itself. At 4:25pm, I got off I-57 at Farina and headed east on CR 17 to keep up with the storm. It seemed to split into 2 cells, neither of which were triggering any warnings. As I went east of Iola, IL, I encountered one of the worst roads I had ever traveled. (Sparrow Lane / CR 7) Part of the road was flooded, other parts were pothole city. I finally made it back to RT 45 and headed north to Effingham. All the storms were to my east and dying out, so I decided just to head back home to Champaign on I-57.

Final Thoughts:
Another frustrating chase but at least I got to test out the live video streaming. Hopefully better storms will come along and I can give the viewers something more exciting than rain and bumpy roads to watch. 🙂

Total Mileage: 335 miles

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