March 31, 2023


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Galesburg, IL
Springfield, IL 8:19 AM 3/31/2023
Springfield, IL 9:31 PM 3/31/2023
Pekin, IL; Mendota, IL
70 mph
Wall Cloud, Inflow Band, RFD Clear Slot


High Risk warm sector play in western IL. Targeted multiple rounds of tornadic supercells from Galesburg to Peoria. Intercepted tornado warned supercell near Pekin, IL noting clear slot with weak rotation and rising motion but no tornado. Retargeted Galesburg four Round 2 that failed to materialize. Abandoned another attempt on a rainy complex near Emden, IL. Overtaken by severe straight line winds after departing.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl. Equipment: Sony AX100, Samsung S9.




First chase of the season teaming up with Brindley. Spirits were high as we met up in La Salle, IL prior to the High Risk upgrade.

Tornado Warned Supercell and Wall Cloud
8 miles SSW of North Pekin, IL
2:35 PM
Summary I wrote to our group:

"Team Turtle attempted a multi-round western IL target on Monday and struck out spectacularly. With little capping and robust dynamics in place already, we targeted an early Round 1 forming on the MS River, heading it off at Peoria. Hoping that these multiple long trackers would materialize in High Risk fashion, we waited well downstream and caught the cell pretty much at peak. Robust inflow band, streaky rain band lazy carousel and occluded updraft with rising motion. But that was it. It crapped out and waved goodby to us over Peoria. We retargeted Galesburg to head off cells developing in ne MO for Round 2, supposedly the main show of the day for us. The thinking was that the shear was ramping up massively, and that one of these cells might interact with the lead activity or a left over boundary with sig tor off the charts on the east side of the river. However, lack of lift, subsidence from initial storms, or thermodynamic problems... something made those cells struggle and they were effectively dead before we had a play. We were way out of spatial and temporal positioning for Iowa. I thought Iowa would struggle, initially high based and then inter-cell interference by the time the line made it to better air. I foresaw chasing a rainy mixed mode, and falling behind storm speeds, while another Rochelle happened to the east. We re-targeted a complex coming up out of Hannibal, MO. The crazy shear should turn this into a violent classic at some point right? Nope, it was a sloppy mess with embedded circulations and lead edge QLCS spin-ups. We drove all the way down to near Lincoln to head it off, but then left just before the rainy line arrived without even looking at it. After Turtle divided, I was run over by the linear remnants coming out of Iowa. And that was it, we chased the early crap that didn't do it, and the left over junk that didn't do it. The family went into the basement as the sirens sounded twice in Springfield, and an EF2 passed less than a mile from the kids' babysitter's house in Sherman, while chasers recklessly tried to crash into each other for a glimpse of the rain wrapped POS."

Clear Slot, Occluded Updraft, and Inflow Band
8 miles SSW of North Pekin, IL
2:41 PM
Lazily rotating carousel of streaky rain bands and RFD clear slot (left), occluded updraft with rising motion (center over road), and thick inflow band (right).
The closest the storm came to tornadogenesis from our vantage:
Trailing the storm into Pekin before letting it go and crossing the Illinois.
Severe warned gust front near Mendota, packing a punch with approximately 70 mph straight line winds:.

I exited to let the line pass overhead before turning around and making for home.


I was never a fan of high risks. They’re usually frustrating wild goose chases, with lots of fast moving storms and few photogenic intercept opportunities. And this day was no different. The storm of the day tracked through eastern Iowa putting down multiple dramatic tornadoes, and likely the shots of the year. It was a major blow to miss that. Insult to injury was having an EF2 pass mere miles from the house causing friends and family to seek shelter while chasers acted like irresponsible jackasses nearby.

Lessons Learned

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