June 4, 2010


Initial Target: Galesburg, IL
Departure: Westchester, IL 1:00 pm CDT
Arrival: Woodridge, IL 10:30 pm CDT
Intercepts: Lewistown, IL
Tornadoes: 0
Hail: Non-Severe (not measured)
Wind: Non-Severe (not measured)
Features: Wall Cloud
Miles: 504


Warm front setup across northern Illinois. Targeted western Illinois for supercell

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.




Despite the marginal risk for tornadoes, Friday looked like a decent chance for some supercells across northern Illinois with a warm front lifting and a pretty decent shear and instability combination. I targeted western Illinois based on model guidance for a chance to see a supercell or two.

I made my way down to Monmouth, Illinois where the first storms went up shortly afterwards. I intercepted just suoth of town noting a rather shelfy looking base:

Big precipitation core.
I was joined by Brad Goddard and one of his buddies and we watched some interesting lowering as the base of the storm passed over ahead.
Reed Timmer and his armored vehicle, "The Dominator" also passed by us. I was surprised to see them this far east on such a marginal day.
The base started to look more and more interesting and soon we had a tornado warning.
Brad looking southeast at what is now a more convincing looking wall cloud:

We went east to keep up with the storm, but soon got split up as drove into the back end of the storm's core. After driving around in the rain for a half hour trying to get ahead of the storm, I finally manage to near Lewistown, IL with this big rain wrapped wall cloud coming into view:

I let the lowering pass by before I dropped south to watch it from behind. It seemed like it was falling apart and I knew I wouldn't be able to pursue it as the Illinois River would cut me off with a lack of road options on the other side.
I headed west to a new storm that had gained a tornado warning. Several miles west of Havana a large bell shaped wall cloud came into view. The structure on this storm was more impressive than the first, but it was also quite rain wrapped.
There was a terrific amount of cloud to ground lightning by this wall cloud. The wall cloud soon was completely eveloped in the precipitiation core and I bailed east to avoid getting cored. I gassed up in Havana and the storm proceeded to die as I watched the radar scans come in. The other storms in the area looked like they were starting to fizzle as well so I called it a chase and started heading.
I was treated to very pretty skies on the way home. Some mammatus under a dieing thunderstorm's anvil:
Deep blue and pink hues under the anvil of a thunderstorm north of Bloomington:
Sun streaks across some anvil blow off:




This was a fun chase given the low expectations, and I bagged a couple of decent looking wall clouds and had a scenic drive home. No tornado reports came in on these storms so I didn't miss anything either.



Lessons Learned: 

  • Marginal chase days can be rewarding even without tornadoes