Monday, July 21, 2008

07/21/08 Afternoon Central Illinois Supercells

The cap breaks and this storm quickly becomes a supercell south of Galesburg, IL

Yep, indeed another post here today...Now that's exciting when you can post 2 severe storm events in one day! That rarely ever happens it seems and to go a step farther, start with a derecho and end with supercells. Wow! that gets a storm chaser excited!

Supercell as it passes to the south of Galesburg, IL with some strange cloud striations
Dodging the rain & hail on US34

Unfortunately, I had prior obligations and couldn't get out till late in the evening which was a little late for when convective initiation began. After routinely getting radar updates and peeking at the mesoanalysis I knew it was just a matter of time when the cap finally broke. After 7pm this indeed happened with extreme instability in place. -10 LI and 5000J/kg of CAPE across northern Missouri and central Illinois. Add moderate shear and things got going like an atomic bomb out there this evening.

Myself posing for a quick photo on this day in this convective environment
Galesburg municipal airport seen here...must have been fun navigating around this convection huh?

I've included 3 images below of one of the best rainbows I've seen in quite sometime. This was nearly directly over the interstate in Knox County. At times this also had cloud-cloud lightning strikes within it, but was rare and very difficult to photograph unfortunately.

Magnificent rainbow seen here as I escape the heavy rain and hail
Sometimes being on the wrong side of the storm is worth it...
This stretched across the entire eastern horizon and was breathtaking...what a catch!...

However, being that I got behind on my target of Macomb, IL I couldn't get to the southern flank of these storms. Yet, I got some of the best images of the year on the downdraft-side of these storms. That makes me appreciate a little more the picturesque structure you can get being on the north-side of these supercells. I arrived outside Galesburg, IL around 8pm near the municipal airport hoping to stay out of the traffic in that area. To my approval this storm was intense with a constant barrage of lightning which is usually the case in high-CAPE convective environments.

Beautiful mammatus seen here looking north
Interesting to see how quickly your lighting changes on these mammatus once the sun begins to set
This image was actually taken later under the anvil at home directly over my house
Close-up of some amazing mammatus as I arrive home

So after roaming around US34 in Knox County I took several pictures that presented themselves. To my liking I was greeted with some nice structure shots, a rainbow over the interstate, and some of the best mammatus I've seen this year! So this quick chase that lasted around 2 hours was definitely worth the short trip especially getting home before dark. I did see more then one deer running about. Those things will change someone's fortune rather quick on the roads at dusk. Anyway, I arrived home in a rather good mood with an awesome end to a double chase day! The front will be shoved far enough to the south to allow Canadian high pressure to move-in tomorrow. Well long day, so I'm off to catch up on some much needed Zzzzz's.

Friday, July 11, 2008

07/11/08 Central Illinois Multicells

(LP) Multicell passing to my east into rural Stark County

Some multi-cells formed in a weakly sheared environment this afternoon while I was busy at home taking care of some odds n' ends. Some briefly became severe-warned especially in central Illinois near Lincoln, but that was about it. They did provide a few decent photos however. The main action was in Minnesota today with around 10 confirmed tornadoes-->SPC with a spring-like cold front up that way. I've actually seen some good tornado footage already up that way with some "stovepipe" tornadoes. Looks like most of the action tonight will stay north of me in Wisconsin. However, that could change if development continues southward along the cold front in Iowa over the next several hours. We will keep a close eye on that as they should cross the river around dawn tomorrow morning if the cap erodes in central Iowa. I actually could use some rain around here as it's getting pretty dry here as mid-June to present has been very dry as the rain continues to split my hometown north and south.

A darn right hot/humid day turns dark pretty quick as a shortwave kicks off some convection in west-central Illinois

Thursday, July 10, 2008

07/10/08 Kewanee, IL Photogenic Wall Cloud

Wide-angle view here of a beautiful wall cloud to my east/northeast of Kewanee, IL

Today was very FRUSTRATING...This is usually the case with summer storm chases when you're lacking shear. A supercell develop around noon however along an outflow boundary near Monticello, IA. Being that this storm was discrete which is hard to come by I decided "what-the-heck" let's venture out after this thing. So I figured I would catch it if it held together as it crossed the rive.

This is one of the first shots I took as it was beginning to organize and notice the rail/hail core to the right...

I arrived near I-88 waiting for the supercell to cross the Mississippi River near Lyndon, IL. It eventually does, but that discrete action went by-the-way-side pretty quick when the outflow boundary it was intersecting became very active nearly on top of me. Then a loss of Internet access quickly annoyed me for a bit as well. I then punched through the big rain-makers south of I-80 on route 40 near Sheffield, IL after I gave up on that storm when it went outflow...This day just was really bad for photography...everything was rather ragged even shelf clouds didn't produce good photos. So after being a tad frustrated with the lack of decent photos I headed back home to Kewanee, IL.

A frustrating storm chase sometimes pays off when the storms come to you instead...
This was an "armchair chase" in my backyard at 5pm (Glad I called a quits on the chase early eh?)

I was sitting in my office getting settled in and heard some intense lightning "all of a sudden" out the window...I glanced at the radar seeing that a new storm had developed on the old outflow boundary nearly right overhead of Kewanee, IL and began moving east of me. I ventured out the door with the tripod and cameras in hand and started taking some pictures. The lightning really didn't cooperate to my liking, but as I was busy setting up the camera I saw a horizontal roll cloud start to develop to the rear flank the storm. This was interesting...especially when soon after the storm gains some rotation and produces a nice photogenic wall cloud off to my east. Since I didn't have a radar in front of me I dismissed this first, then watched and observed more and more and then saw the rotation with my very own eyes. I was a tad excited as it REALLY SURPRISED me! Especially, after how the day had already gone.A common rule is never underestimate outflow boundaries because they allow chaotic things to happen and this was no different. Also, I tend to wonder what affect if any the horizontal roll cloud played in this. A sign of horizontal vorticity perhaps? What's interesting is as soon as that formed the updraft appeared to take that vorticity and produce the wall cloud and "hang-me downs" below it. A very interesting experience to observe no doubt as it has me scratching my head some. Well that's all for now I might add a few more images depending on how tonight's actions goes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

07/02/08 Chase Target: Dekalb, IL Seriously?...

Small kink in the shelf cloud that got my brief attention

The day started with low-expectations as today's setup for severe weather was not what you'd jump up and down for. However, with that being said a SLGT risk was outlooked by the SPC. Even with knowing that the tornado potential was rather null for the day with that lack of 0-6km shear I decided to head out to find some decent photo opportunities. My target from the night before and today was Dekalb, IL. If your a NIU student reading this your probably wondering why...because severe weather seems to be a rarity in that area or at least when I attend school there. It just seems instability is always a problem or storms tend to go way south or way north of town. Oh well, enough venting on Dekalb's lack of convection or "subsistence dome". Anyway back to the chase, I was wondering will this trend continue. Around 1pm I began to headed east on I-80 and jumped on Exit 79B Rockford. Some convection began to increase in intensity around Clinton, IL becoming severe-warned. I preceded to drive north on I-39 and got off at the Rochelle/Dekalb exit. This severe thunderstorm kept looking a tad better on radar so I headed east on US38 then made a quick decision to "lay back" and head north of Creston, IL targeting the tail-end cell. I then preceded to get a better and better view of the storm and then headed east to get into a good spot on US64. Parked for a good 20 minutes and watched the storm traverse across Northern Illinois tall-grass prairies and farm fields.

Shelf cloud to my west as it crosses I-39
New slogan: "Turn around...Don't get hailed on"
New storms fired immediately to the east of this storm, but I didn't partake on those since this had the best chance to produce being the tail-end of the line and all. Actually, at one point it had some good structure and this surprised me with the upper-level wind setup today.

Roll-in, roll-in, roll-in...

After that appendage passed I got cored a tad with some big raindrops. I preceded to then get back east to keep up and got back out of the rain to find a decent structure at the rear flank of the storm that went through Dekalb, IL. After that storm headed east toward the "windy city" I preceded to start the 2-hour drive home. Overall, today was what I expected with this setup...the only confirmed tornado was actually along the cold front in Iowa...I don't think I missed much there after observing that storm on radar on the drive home. Well that's all for now...time to relax and enjoy the holiday weekend.