A moderate risk in July here in Illinois?? That’s what I awoke to on Tuesday morning. The models were showing some decent wind shear across parts of Illinois today, not to mention the insane amount of instability and moisture in the air. I was thinking it would be a good day for severe weather mainly because my weather server at home took a crap on me and decided it didn’t want to operate today, so that meant no weather updates to my cell phone. When I got to work, I loaded up all my weather applications and monitored the situation closely. I noticed one lone supercell firing up in northwest Illinois late Tuesday morning that made me wonder if things were going up too soon. Several tornado warnings were going out shortly after 12:30pm, this thing was churning! At this rate I would never have a chance to chase. I normally get off at 4:30, but I pulled a few strings and managed to get off at 1:30. I went home and loaded up the gear, then headed out to chase this thing.
I headed west on I-74 just after 2:00pm, hoping to get to Bloomington and then go north from there. As I got closer to Bloomington, I was hearing reports on the scanner of tornadoes in Woodford county. I got off at the Carlock exit and as I made it to the top of the off ramp, I saw something to my north that caught my eye. There appeared to be a tornado about 10 miles to my north, but the contrast was so low that at the time I could not confirm that it was indeed a tornado. (video analysis confirmed a tornado) I headed west and then north of Carlock, trying to get closer without driving into anything I would later regret. 😉 As I headed north, I had to check the map several times to make sure I wasn’t in Missouri. Most of central Illinois is fairly decent for chasing, but I managed to find one of the most tree covered, hilly parts of the area. (not to mention the freaking corn fields!) Anywho, I made way to US 24 and headed east to El Paso (IL, not TX) and then headed south on SR 251.