Thursday, October 18, 2007

10/18/07 Fall Tornado Outbreak

Supercell west of Kankakee,IL crossing I-57 and producing a wall cloud

Wow what a tornado outbreak and October of all months. However, I'm not a bit surprised due to the dynamics that were in place today, everything just came together and that rarely happens. You rarely see all of the severe weather as "supercell mode" especially in October and here. Early on a MDT risk was issued for extreme Eastern Illinois and much of Indiana. So at 9AM under sunny skies the chase was on. Got to my target around 12:30pm but was concerned that the best chance for development in the evening would be farther east into Indiana. Upon realizing this I ventured into Indiana for a few hours ending up Northwest of Lafayette, IN. CU were all over all morning and afternoon as another wave of CU moved in later. I witnessed a lot of up and down CU and this briefly concerned me. CAP was in place and the concern was that darkness would beat the eroding cap which means a disappointing long ride home. So as that was becoming more evident I decided to head back west giving up on Indiana. On the way back convection began behind me (figures), but as it did new convection fired from a Bloomington/Normal to Chicago line. All of which included around 5 supercells. I caught two of them by making a quick decision to hit I-57 running southwest to northeast with the moving storms. It was a great call. I got two supercells to my west on the interstate. One south and one north of Kankakee, IL. Overshooting tops and classic supercell structures formed. A rear flank downdraft formed on the cell north of Kankakee, IL. As it did a wall cloud and funnel cloud formed. Just about every picture today was awesome with great lighting due to the storms initiating near sunset. I got some great meso shots when I pulled off the interstate not risking getting hit by the core of hail and rain.

 Driving off into a destablizing atmosphere!
 Moisture convergence!
 Convective initiation!
Kankakee IL supercell

Thursday, September 6, 2007

09/06/07 Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow!

Took some picks of some isolated showers and t-storms this evening before sunset that developed just to the east of DeKalb. We didn't get any rain on the west-side of campus just some darkening skies to the east. However, got some great shots and the above pictured double rainbow that was to my east.

These showers and isolated t-storms dimished at dusk and now attention will turn to tomorrow morning with the next chance of showers and thunderstorms with the approach of a cold front throughout the day.
T-storms rumbling east

Saturday, August 25, 2007

08/23/07 A Move-in Day to Remember


Wow, what a day that won't be forgotten for years. Aug 23, 2007 move-in day at NIU. Well it started very well and early for me at 5:00am. On the way to DeKalb was a beautiful sunrise and sunny skies. Thankfully I got moved in before noon because not soon after dark skies started to roll into DeKalb. A stop at Walmart turned into an interesting moment. Once inside a major storm could be seen rolling in with intense lightning. As it did a possible tornado was reported in the area so everyone including myself had to go to the middle of the store. The storm came in quick with big time rain and some hail. Unfortunately with such a busy day I had no idea what the weather situation was. It was one of those days that I just didn't get a chance to look at the radar at all. I wish I did. I found out from Andy Bullock back home that major damage was reported in my area and Bradford, IL a town very close to my house. I'll try to update this later with some grlevel3 pics if i can figure it out. However, flooding caused major problems in DeKalb. 6+ inches of rain fell very quick with 4+ in my hometown as well. Break from the weather and rain for awhile and we need it as school starts back Monday. I'm sure the last week or weather will be all the talk here in a couple of days.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

06/27/07 Mesocyclone in the Backyard

Mesocyclone in the backyard

June is finally ending and summer has begun. However, mother nature left one more surprise for this year's spring season yesterday. Yesterday featured a warm and humid airmass ahead of an approaching cold front. No SLGT risk was issued due to minimal shear in my area so only isolated severe wx was possible. ISOLATED it was! For me however not so isolated. Just a few miles from my house to be precise. After now-casting from home and taking some video earlier of agitated cumulus I noticed some intensification on one storm. I preceded to check the radar and noticed this cell to my southwest had just intensified and was beginning to interact with an outflow boundary that was accelerating southward. Knowing how outflow boundaries sometimes can cause crazy things to happen and boundaries enhance low-level shear. I ventured out and noticed an odd feature in the sky. At first glance it looked like a mesocyclone and I had to say to myself a million times "IT CAN"T BE", not with the lack of shear and chance for severe weather today. I was proven wrong however and we will get to that. While taking some video for around 15 min all of a sudden and I mean all of the sudden ROTATION! I couldn't believe my eyes so while video taping I quickly ran into a farm field taking some pics. It was unreal at the time that this was taking place on a day that you don't expect it and SO CLOSE to home. Sometimes it's hard to see rotation with the naked eye but I was seeing it. Then a funnel protrudes from the main meso's base! I probably jumped up and down 5 times in the next minute or so. The only downer was that the funnel didn't have enough strength to make it to the ground. All we needed was just a little more shear and turning of the winds with height and that sucker would have been on the ground. I've drove thousands of miles so far this year to IA, all over IL, and even rode to WI. Yesterday, 0 miles!!!! Now currently looking at the horizon from my backyard I've seen 2 tornadoes in the field to my northwest in 2004, one to the southeast (rain-wrapped), and today's funnel cloud to the southwest. They've always missed us, but sooner or later I know that luck is gonna run out. What a day though, totally unexpected and it was by a little bit of now-casting with my radars and pure luck that I witnessed this.

 Bout to kaboom!

Friday, June 1, 2007

06/01/07 My 1st Storm Chase of the Year

Picturesque shelf cloud near Walnut, IL

Well, after a rough night at work and a long night-er I woke up at around noon. A big mistake on my part. I didn't think we had a decent setup for severe weather today until i woke up and found a tornado watch was out till 7:00pm for all of west-central Illinois. I looked at the radar and I knew it was time to pack up and hit the roads. I got out around 1:00pm and the first "incident" of the day began when I blew not one but two fuses on my truck for the cigarette lighter. I was less then pleased for sure. I had no choice, but not start chasing and get it fixed so i did at the Kewanee Auto Zone. Finally, with radar up and ready to chase I come only to find my GPS on Mobile Threat Net is not working. So plan B which I have never used till today went into effect. I used Microsoft Streets & Trips which actually worked alright I must say. After not chasing for awhile I found lots of equipment problems unfortunately. Anyway, after solving the problems I stopped at Black Hawk East College in Kewanee, IL for some wireless internet to get up to speed. I debated heading south where better instability was and get a supercell on the end of the line of storms. However, better dynamics were farther to the north and with this being so I decided to head north and east. I made it to Sheffield, IL and was unhappy that I heard there was a tornado in Galena, IL and I missed it if I only I woke up earlier in the morning I could have got there possibly. However, that happens so I preceded to head toward a town in Bureau County called Walnut, IL where I ran into someone I know. It's always great to see fellow chasers and people I know while I'm doing what I love. Walker Ashley one of my professors in the dept. of meteorology at NIU was chasing the same storm. We chated for a few minutes before we both headed east to keep up with the storms. I got some great shots of shelf clouds which was fine by me after a terrible spring severe weather season around these parts. After seeing the storms were losing some vigor new storms fired finally to the south so on the ride back home I intercepted them at Princeton,IL on I-80. Just about got flooded off the interstate with blinding rain. It was really ugly!!! I managed to capture a rainbow off the interstate and took some more pics before I wrapped up the chase after a decent drive and to save some fuel. I've included a couple pics below:

Chaotic motion going on here...

Overall, I'll take this chase and well...wake up earlier next time!