March 8, 2009 – Central IL chase bust

Nothing like a moderate risk of severe weather to greet you on a Sunday morning in early March. Despite the moderate risk, storms that did fire up would be hauling. The only real chance of an intercept was to pick the right cell at the right time, otherwise you would be out of luck. I loaded up the gear around 10:30am and took the time to install my new wipers. A tornado watch was issued shortly after so it was time to get ready to depart. Being the first chase of the year, I struggled to get the data connection working at the beginning. That delay kept me from heading south to southern Illinois and made me focus more on storms moving through central Illinois.

I finally hit the road at 11:15am and decided to head west on I-72. A tornado warning was issued for Sangamon and Logan county at 11:40, but of course I was nowhere close at that point. I got off I-72 and went north near Illiopolis to try to intercept what was left of the cell. At this point it was dying out and still booking at 60-70mph to the northeast. As much as I tried, I could not catch up with it. I zigzagged north and east and eventually found Route 121 and headed back home to Champaign.