It’s been a very quiet year here in Illinois in the storm department. Today wasn’t really forecasted to be a severe weather day here in Illinois. Too many clouds from leftover showers along with low dew points didn’t make for a good setup. Everyone and their mother was focused on the potential severe setups early next week, but I wasn’t giving up on today. After watching the showers move through the state, I wasn’t really expecting much to fire up behind it. However, around 11:00am, I noticed a few cells popping up west of Decatur. I watched a couple radar scans and they were growing pretty quickly. I decided to do a minimal chase by leaving the laptop at home and just using the radar on my phone.
While we missed out on the big blizzard of 2009, we did get a little bit of snow from what was left of the system. I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to try out the new camcorder…
I have been going through some old chase tapes and copying them to the computer this weekend. I managed to finally put something together for that insane day back on March 12, 2006. I also uploaded a video from the…
A moderate risk and 10% chance of tornadoes across Central Illinois is a nice way to start off a Friday. A severe thunderstorm watch was pasted across northern and central IL at 2:30pm. Around 3:00pm, several storms were firing up along intersecting outflow boundaries in DeWitt and Logan counties. The cell that I had my eye on was in DeWitt county which was severe warned at 3:41pm. Thanks to my lovely AT&T piece of crap data connection not working yet again, I was limited to the radar on my phone.
I departed Champaign at 4:00pm and headed west on RT 10. I pulled off just north of Seymour (CR 1675N / 0.25 miles west of CR 200E) to observe a nice looking wall cloud. It had lots of vertical motion, but it couldn’t get its act together and quickly died out. A severe thunderstorm was issued for this cell at 4:21pm. I decided to head south a few miles and then follow the storm east across Champaign county. At 5:07pm, I pulled off at the Unity East Elementary School parking lot in Philo and observed another wall cloud. I would estimate the winds were around 40mph as the storm moved past me.
When the SPC Day 3 outlook pegs an area with a moderate risk, it’s usually a decent indicator that there’s going to be some nasty storms. The Day 1 outlook for May 13th had most of Illinois in the moderate risk, though it was later trimmed back to include just the western and southern parts of the state. I somehow managed to get the afternoon off from work, so I was anxious to get out there and see some action. I spent most of the morning trying to get my new AT&T data card to work correctly. I finally had to do a complete uninstall of all software / drivers related to the card and then it reinstalled correctly. I also discovered that the county was changing their public safety frequencies and my scanner needed some updating to track the changes. (probably not the wisest move to change such a crucial system on a severe weather day)
Anywho, I loaded up all the gear and headed west on I-72 from Champaign around 1:30pm. Not much was going on in the weather during the trip west, so I decided to stop in Jacksonville for a pitstop / snacks. I reassessed the situation while sitting at Lake Jacksonville watching the wind blow. (real exciting!) Looking at Spotter Network, most of the chasers were crossing over into Missouri which was not on my agenda. There are too many hills and trees for my taste, so I figured I’d stick to Illinois. I debated whether the storms that were firing up in Missouri would make it to Illinois before it was too dark. I almost called it a bust and headed back home, but figured I’d gone through the hassle of taking half a day off work so I should probably stick it out for a few more hours.