January 16, 2023


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Carthage, IL
Springfield, IL 1:22 PM 1/16/2023
Springfield, IL 7:39 PM 1/16/2023
0 mph


Cold core, cold front play in western IL. Targeted Carthage, IL for afternoon rotating storms. Only weak showers resulted, dwindling before sunset.

Crew and Equipment

Solo chase. Equipment: Samsung S9.




Another Midwest cold core setup was shaping up on Monday, January 16. SPC downgraded from 2% to less than 2% on the Day 2 outlooks, before bringing the 2% back by the 1630z Day 1. With temps and dews in the 40s at the target area at the start of the period, conditions looked marginal even for a cold core.
There was plenty of clearing in the dry slot to destabilize eastern Iowa and hopefully western IL, and dews were pooling into the low 50s along the boundary advecting into the 2% outlook area. By the time I left Springfield around noon, convection was already building under the surface low in south central Iowa, what would go on to produce a tornadic storm west of Iowa City. I hoped the percolating cumulus along the Mississippi River moving into western Illinois would also initiate though.
The area between Fort Madison, IA and Macomb, IL around midafternoon looked like it would have the best low level instability and surface conditions. I was worried there would be moisture or instability problems further northwest into Iowa or that north moving storms would cross the instability axis too quickly.

Weak Updrafts
7 miles ENE of Carthage, IL
2:20 PM
Iowa lit up with a TORR just before I arrived at my target only to see rows of mediocre cumulus. I knew I was hosed and missed the show almost immediately.
I stuck it out, chasing 20-30 dbz rain shower blips for a couple hours hoping they would eventually take off.

2 miles WSW of Industry, IL
3:11 PM
Everything in the region fizzled, however. I called the chase about a half hour before sunset and starting heading back to home.


This was a low expectations chase, but a disappointing bust as the cold core setup had my hopes up, and I missed a dramatic tornado west of Iowa City. I thought the far end of the cold core target up in central Iowa had too many uncertainties to commit to that kind of distance. It was way too late to catch the 2 pm tornado by the time I was getting ready to leave anyway.

Lessons Learned

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