Saturday, May 9, 2009

05/08/09 Electrified Atmosphere

Amazing lightning in the western-horizon last night

Last night, was a nice surprise. As my final year has concluded at Northern Illinois University I drove home yesterday afternoon to start packing for an upcoming chasecation (once the pattern will cooperate). Bright sunny skies around midday I was greeted with and around the time I arrived in LaSalle-Peru by early afternoon a CU field developed. I arrived in Kewanee, IL around 3:00pm seeing deepening CU and an apparent storm trying to bust through the cap along a boundary to my southwest. I sat for a little while only to watch it collapse. I did get some decent convective tower shots during this time taking the time to switch my lens. Storms were continuing to develop in Iowa ahead of a 700mb shortwave so I still had hope to get something out of a day that I didn't expect much anyway. After some nowcasting from my home-base through the evening I noticed one storm in Iowa developing supercell characteristics, but it was so late in the evening I decided to stay put. Sure enough, this storm crosses the river (Mississippi) and produces a tornado north of Little York, IL at dusk. Disappointing, since it would have been a relatively short-drive for myself, but I'm not one that chases after dark unless it's strictly for lightning photography. The storm did move in around 9:00pm from my west. Luckily, I didn't end up empty handed per say as it was surely electrified for a good bit upon arrival. Lots of cloud-to-cloud and intracloud lightning followed up by intense CG's for a good half-hour. I actually was surprised by just how much lightning this storm produced as before it arrived it didn't look like a prolific lighting producer based on lightning detection by any means. It was definitely a bonus though for making the drive home earlier in the day and with this "crappy" (western-ridge) pattern right now...I'll take it. Next shot of anything "chaseable" seems to be this coming Wednesday. Even if it's marginal I'll probably be out chasing since it looks to be a local event. Boy, do we need a western-ridge trough right now though to get us all chasing in the plains...

My graduation cake (getting more and more accustomed to these meteorology-type cakes as of late)
Lightning trying to decide if it wants to hit this tree or not

Cloud-to-cloud + CG = "hell of a show"
This was impressive as you'd get a quick intracloud stroke
immediately followed by a CG at the same time

Overall, a good night for some photography. Hopefully, we'll get a really active pattern in the next few weeks in the plains ( southwest-flow)...please...