May 29, 2019


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Decatur, IL
Salina, KS 11:19 AM 5/29/2019
Springfield, IL 7:30 PM 5/29/2019
Manchester, IL
0 mph
Gust Front, Whale's Mouth


Marginal cold front play in central Illinois. Targeted Decatur for early evening supercells. Missed weak tornado near target after late start in Kansas. Noted whale's mouth gust front near Manchester, IL with possible landspout as faint dusty circulation.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl. Equipment: Sony AX100, GoPro Hero 4, Brindley: Nikon d3s.




From my morning "chasecast" storm chasing forecast email discussion:

"Day 1 Today: My primary target is central Illinois and that's the one we're making for. I don't think we're going to make it in time, having a late start here in central Kansas. Look for storms to form along an east west boundary extending out from the sloppy surface low over central Missouri. Low and boundary was a state north in Iowa on previous runs, so like yesterday's setup the front has shifted a bit south. Instead of the I-80 corridor, look more toward the I-72 corridor. Overall flow is light but some turning wind profiles show supercells are possible here. Highly conditional shot at a tornado around 4-6pmish and preliminary target is Decatur.

Secondary targets: Ahead of the MCS, convective allowing models showing discrete storm initiation off the moisture plume and midlevel flow in northern AR/southern MO. Intercepts these a county west of the MS river where it's flat and treeless. The MO bootheel might be a good spot to pick up a supercell.

Otherwise get ahead of the ongoing MCS down in Texas, pick up a discrete storm ahead of the line in northeast Texas. Lots of trees down there and storm mode might be rather wet and HP, so a difficult and not pretty chase probably. Would avoid unless you're down there. Or else make for a storm on the far southwest side of the line down past Abilene maybe."

Whale's Mouth
Manchester, IL
6:44 PM
After our big score near Tipton, Kansas the previous day, the team was feeling pretty good and not too motivated to make an early, long distance haul. We met up for breakfast at a diner in Salina, did some video transfers, and then said our farewells as the Seimons, and Hank Schyma went their own ways. Brindley and I planned to chase on the way back to my home in Springfield, but the morning meet-up got us off to a really late start. My morning target near Decatur verified and we wound up missing a photogenic tornado off a small supercell. From other chasers' photos, it looked like a landspout with a partially condensed cone funnel and dust tube, but it had some textbook RFD clear slot supercell structure above it. Brindley and I wound up hopping on some cells southwest of Springfield. The best lapse rates were gone by then and we found ourselves left with clusters putting down the usual rings of outflow. Brindley thought she spotted the faint dust tube of a landspout on one of the gust fronts. We stopped to try to shoot it, but couldn't get a good shot of it, and I never really saw it anyway.


Another missed tornado bust. We were fat and happy from our Tipton chase the previous day, and I tend to get sloppy and lazy with my chasing when that happens. The tornado we missed was small and not fully condensed. It was photogenic in clear air, however, right in our target area, and close to home, so it was a real bummer missing it.

Lessons Learned

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