January 2, 2006 – Douglas County chase

What should I do on my day off here in the beginning of January? My plan was to sleep in and watch TV. Those plans were quickly dismissed when I was awoken by my weather radio going off informing me of a tornado watch. (was I dreaming?) I flipped on the computer and sure enough it was real. Several severe warnings were already issued west of here so I figured I’d better get my tail out of bed and get into chase mode.

I gathered all the gear and headed out around 8:15am. Since the storms were still a ways out, I decided to head south into Douglas County and let the storms come to me. I found a decent spot around 800N/400E around 9:00am and setup all the gear: anemometer, video camera, etc. I spent about 45 minutes just standing around and waiting for the storms to reach me. (yawning several times as well!) But soon the skies darkened and it began to rain. Then it happened… At 9:52am central standard time, I encountered a brief period of pea-sized hail! (Holy Hail I proclaimed!) I then recorded a peak wind gust of 26mph. (ok, so it’s not severe criteria or anything, but I remind you this is January!)

I watched the storms pass to my east and took a few more pictures. I finally departed my location at 10:30am and headed back home. I arrived home around 11:30am.

Final Thoughts
What a great way to start off the new year! One of my recently proclaimed New Year’s resolutions was to chase at least one time in every month of the year. So far I’d say I’m doing pretty good! I have a feeling that this year will be much more productive than 2005. (feel free to quote me on that!) This is also one of my earliest morning chases I’ve ever been on, so that was pretty spiffy too!

Distance: 75 miles
SPC Outlook: Slight Risk
Target Area: Douglas County, IL

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