April 30, 2010


Initial Target: Osceola, IA
Departure: Nebraska City, NE 8:00 am CDT
Arrival: Westchester, IL 8:30 pm CDT
Intercepts: None
Tornadoes: 0
Hail: Non-Severe (not measured)
Wind: Non-Severe (not measured)
Features: None
Miles: 581


Cold front setup across southern IA and western IL. Targeted southern IA initiation for initiation but wound up tracking into IL following band of storms developing along MS river. Watched several storm attempts fail in undersheared environment with weak lapse rates near Macomb. Ended chase early and headed for home.

Crew and Equipment:

Solo chase.  Equipment:  Kenwood TH-F6A Tribander, Dell Inspiron Laptop.  Kyocera data card and router, Holux 236 GPS, Robotic camera dome with Sony XR-520V.




After Thursday's exciting chase, I was hoping to get a good two day run while chasing on the way home. I planned to head across southern Iowa on highway 2, staying within the forecasted risk area and follow the progression of a cold front. Low cloud cover prevented Iowa from fully destabilizing and only a few ongoing severe warned storms tracked across the area during the morning and early afternoon, which I didn't pursue. I stopped in Bloomfield, IA for my usual foot long Subway Italian BMT.

I continued towards a nice area of clearing that was developing in western Illinois, and crossed the river at Fort Madison. Storms started to pop on radar and I drifted south after them hoping they would blow up into supercells. I wound up catching a few of the updrafts near Macomb, but they all quickly died as soon as I got to them. After several failed attempts I decided that the chase just wasn't going to happen, probably due to weak lapse rates or capping issues. I called the chase off by mid afternoon and made my way back to I-55 and was home by 8:30.


This day was a complete bust due to a lack of supercells. What was meant to be a full day of chasing turned into more of a drive home with a detour than an actual chase. There was nothing photogenic to shoot the entire day as I was either under overcast or low contrast haze the entirety of the day, so I wound up shooting no pictures at all, which is quite rare for me even on a bust chase. There were some tornado reports further south where the low level shear and instability was better, but over the bad terrain of central Missouri and Arkansas, which would have made chasing very difficult.



Lessons Learned: 

  • Weak lapse rates due to lack of good solar heating can ruin a chase.