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.