There’s nothing like waking up in December to a tornado watch, flash flood watch, and wind advisory all at the same time. I had my eye on this day for awhile so I was anxious to get back out there one more time this year. The SPC had issued a moderate risk for SW Illinois mainly for high winds but tornadoes were also possible given the amount of wind shear. Things were starting to fire up around 10:00am in western Illinois. I started going through all my gear and realized I needed to reactivate my AT&T data card. Unfortunately, they apparently decided to do away with their unlimited data option for prepaid service so that seriously limited my options. I don’t like to chase without data, so I decided to wait for the storms to get closer before venturing out. I grabbed the camera gear, GPS, and cell phone and left the laptop at home. (old school chasing, sort of!) 🙂
I hit the road at 12:45pm and headed west on RT 10 from Champaign. Due to the rapid movement of the line of storms, there wasn’t really a target area. The goal was to try to get in front of a bowing section of the line and see what happened. At 1:24pm, I stopped at 2150N / 400E in Piatt County just SW of Deland. That part of the line was just approaching my location, but I did not encounter the 60-70mph winds that the western counties were receiving. I continued on south and then east through Monticello as I tried to keep up with the storms. I stopped again at 1:50pm east of Monticello to shoot some more video of the approaching storms. I put the anemometer on the roof of the car and anxiously watched the displayed. Unfortunately, I only managed to squeak out a boring 36 mph wind gust. I decided to call it a chase at this point and head back home to Champaign.