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!