July 3, 2004


Initial Target: Indiana border on I-74
Departure: Champaign, IL 5:00 pm CDT
Arrival: Champaign, IL 8:00 pm CDT
Intercepts: None
Tornadoes: 0
Hail: None
Wind: Non-Severe (not measured)
Features: Double Rainbow
Miles: 140.6


Left after work with tornado watch and scattered small cells firing all around.  Headed toward Indiana to catch stronger convection.  Tornado warning issued for Coles county, headed south.  Warning cancelled before intercept.  Passed through brief heavy rain leading to photogenic double rainbow on Edgar county line.

Crew and Equipment:

Chase team included Jae Kwak and Skip Talbot  Equipment consisted of a NOAA weather radio, cell phone, TH-F6A Tribander.  Photography by Skip Talbot.


I was working in the mall at Champaign when just after noon we got hit with a squall line.  Nothing severe, but after the storm cleared out the air was still hot and muggy.  Tornado weather.  Sure enough, I got back home to find that a tornado watch had been issued and storms were popping up all over.  I grabbed Jae and the gear and we headed out, west on 74 toward some stronger convection in Indiana.
Dramatic looking cumulus tower underneath some of the larger convection.  We picked up a tornado warning for Coles County as we approached Danville and exited 74 for Rt. 1 to head south for the intercept.  The warning was for a public reported funnel.  That didn't get my hopes up but we headed out for it anyway.
Well the warning got cancelled before we even made it to the county.  We caught the remnants of the storms on the Edgar county line, mostly just heavy rain.  I called the chase off and we turned west to head for home.  I could see the sky was clear ahead and told Jae we were going to see a rainbow.  A few minutes later the sun started peeking through the rainbow emerged behind us.  We pulled over to get some pictures.  Ah the Illinois countryside:
Mr. Kwak and the Shibster posing with the rainbow.  A local in a pickup came up and asked us if we had seen anything.  "Only the rainbow," we said.  He came back, "I saw two tornadoes over that direction about fifteen minutes ago."  I sounded impressed but I honestly can't believe such a claim without a lot of skepticism. 
Looking at pretty blue skies to the north.
Oooh.  Aaah.
You can make out the faint second rainbow on the right side of this picture.
One last rainbow shot and then we hit the road.
As we drove away we got a good view of the storm that dropped our rainbow.  Looked like it almost had a bit of a sheered anvil and some mammatus.  A small storm though.

No severe weather reports materialized from these storms.  The storms just did not have enough updraft energy or upper level wind support.  The beautiful double rainbow was enough to justify the drive into the country though, not bad for a spur of the moment chase.  Happy birthday Erin!

Lessons Learned:

  • Don't get your hopes over "public reported" tornado warnings.
  • A pretty rainbow is enough to justify a local chase.