6/5/2010 Reports: IL/IN/MI

Sat around some Knoxville, IL (near Galesburg) park for an hour or two awaiting initiation after leaving Chicago (and skipping Do Division street festival). Initially storms looked weak/ragged on radar slowly limping across the border -- but then quite suddenly came to life. One of the most obvious hooks I've seen while also in it as well. Intercepted same long duration tornado/funnel from near Yates City on through to near West Peoria (appeared to track ESE). Just got back to Chicago so will post SLR pictures later. Drive back up along Interstate 55 broadsided by at least one Tornado-warned storm -- Texas-like in its ferocity. Never expected such intensity in Illinois. First tornado for season and last one seen in 2007 near Silverton, TX. A long 3+ years wait.
 
Nov 18, 2006
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Chicago, IL
What a day. Chased with Danny Neal and got suckered into IA initially.

I am a bit disappointed in dumping my original target of El Paso, IL and getting talked into IA. If its one thing you learn is NEVER turn your back on an IL warm front...let alone one after an MCS comes through, lays down a boundary and the skies clear in 82/75 air along with 60+ kts bulk shear. Its just a recipe for disaster.

Luckily I wasn't suckered far enough west into IA as I just did not like leaving IL too far behind so I was able to lead foot it back into IL once the show started to nab a pair of tornadoes west of Peoria. Screen shot of one is below:



Danny has a better shot of the other which was much larger. Other than the tornado the structure was insane. A flying saucer meso below the most slanted updraft Ive ever seen, The best way I can describe it is a sombrero with a massive wall cloud and tornado under it.

Once the Peoria storm died [slowly] we were floored by the massive storms moving south of the Chicago area and watched in shock as a monster couplet took aim on Streator, Dwight, Reddick and finally Kankakee. Stopped in Dwight and noted some significant damage, the town was in chaos with people running all over not knowing what to do. Not wanting to get in the way we headed back home, punching through the severe warned line on the way.

A hectic day. More structure shots and video will come in a day or so.
 

Doyle McIntosh

Amazing night chase in North Central Illinois. Chased the long track cyclical supercell that spawned tornado's from Varna, IL to the I-65 corridor in NW Indiana. Our initial target was the Champaign area to play anything that might spark on the warm front. We sat around for a while and ended up moving NW towards El Paso as the first discrete cells got going in Western Illinois. We watched the Peoria supercell explode, but decided we weren't going to be able to get there by going through Peoria, instead we opted to go north on I-39 to intercept a developing supercell near Varna. We caught initial tornado genesis at sunset just north of Varna, which was rather tricky because the road we were on going north was littered with trees on both sides, but as we crested a hill we hit an opening and the tornado touched down 200-300 yards in front of us on the road.

approach from I-39 looking west


large lowering just north of Varna, looking NW


a few seconds after the tornado had crossed the road in front of us, tearing up trees




it took us 15 minuets to get back on the tornado after the first intercept due to a lack of feasible east road options, and by then it was completely dark outside. This is when i realized my camera was having some major problems and couldn't get a single still as a large tornado hit Streator and eventually Dwight. I must say it was a terrible sight to watch a tornado Silhouetted my the city lights of Dwight plow into the south end of town. We were probably only a mile away (to the west) and could see roof's and structures getting ripped from the ground as constant power flashes and lightning blots illuminated the sky. We debated going into town to help, but there were downed power lines everywhere blocking roads, and figured we may be more of a hindrance than help. We've got video thought, so today I'll be trying to capture some usable stills from that.

lucky snapshot of lightning semi-illuminating the huge meso to the left. Seconds later we witnessed a 15-25 second barrage of blue/green power flashes completely illuminating a large cone tornado hitting Streator.


Finally was able to fix my camera issue as a tornado lifted just west of Reddick, IL on state road 18. Large meso


another classic tornado touches down in an open field, but of course I wasn't able to get out of the car quick enough to get an exposure shot before the tornado lifts again.


after getting East of Kankakee things got hairy as two cell's merged and things got rain wrapped. in the subsequent lightning barrages we saw another stovepipe tornado crossing the IL/IN border near Lake Village, IN. At this point we abandoned the storm because things got too dangerous.

All in all I'd estimate we witnessed 6-10 tornado's last night, one or two being rather long track. May be doing an areal damage survey next weekend.
 
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Mar 6, 2005
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Peoria, IL
Visit site
Excellent chase today with Darin Kaiser and his girlfriend (her first chase!). Started towards Iowa like most with Iowa City as the target. Decided to turn south before getting there due to better parameters noted in Southern IA including nice clearing sections. Sat in Swedesburg for what seemed like forever waiting for convection to form. We did not pay much attention to the line out west. Finally noted some scattered showers developing in the area. A peek at SPC meso analysis showed the best parameters shifting into IL, so we quickly hopped on US34 towards Burlington. Main storm was forming east of us, but we made slow but steady progress catching up to it. We saw it form a rain free base, then wall cloud, then elephant trunk tornado from the beginning. The visibility and contrast was amazing for IL. It formed near Abingdon and we saw it clip Yates City.







 
Scott Sims and I were on the Illinois supercell that produced at least 4 tornadoes (that we could confirm) in Knox and Peoria counties. The tornadoes were very photogenic and we captured some excellent video.

Images are screenshots from video.

720p Video: http://www.brademel.com/stormtrack/Yates-City-Tornado.wmv
You may have to right click and "save target as"
 

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Alan Black

Great chase with chase partner Jim Andersen and my fiancee, Michelle Byington. I initially wanted to target the Galesburg, IL to Peoria, IL area. After meeting up with Jim in Peru, IL we decided to head to Burlington, IA and waited. The storm initiated right over our heads and we followed it in to IL where it produced a brief wall cloud around Biggsville, IL. We kept with the storm as it went on to produce what appeared to be several tornadoes from east of Maquon, IL to Peoria. Michelle was running the camera so pictures courtesy of her. First three photos show the tornado near Yates City, IL and the last two are later between Elmwood, IL and Peoria.









 
Feb 21, 2010
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Conway,Mo
Setup in Galesburg around 2pm and was on the strongest cell southwest of town around 7ish and watched it go from nothing to supercell in less than 30 min..My wife did a great job with video as the tornado was on the ground for well over 30 minutes as we tracked it all the way to Peoria.
 
Illinois really has some great chase country.

We had an interesting day yesterday with excellent timing and not too much back-tracking.



We witnessed the genesis of tornado #1 and then watched it hit some structures from 400 yards or so.







The tornado appeared to lift briefly and then re-intesified, quite dramatically and directly impacted the town of Elmwood. Debris was thrown up several hundred feet in a matter of 3-4 seconds, very amazing video and incredible experience, better video than 5-22 and we were within a mile of that!
 

Matthew Piechota

got the same supercell and tornadoes that most others did...we were in mount pleasant, IA depressed and ready to head home to IL so we decided the only thing to do was to go back east to IL on 34 and hope. as soon as we got into IL near Burlington a mini supercell was taking shape and mother nature turned on the LLJ switch as we went from nothing to raging tornadic supercells.

As adam said, the setup was dangerous and IL warm fronts always seem to do something special. got 5 tornadoes and now Gilbert from NIU (who we were chasing with) is throwing out 7 possibly so were still trying to figure out a final count.

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will do a detailed write up on my blog when I get a chance. Congrats to all that bagged tornadoes.
 
To make a long story short (and a few pics) before I go back into the grind of exam week...

Sat in Wapello, IA for much of the afternoon to have a way to cross the Miss river north/south depending on where convection fired. When the weak convection along the disturbance passed over we watched several cums go and then quickly die. One in particular towards the end actually was a little LP-ish one that even rotated. That is when we decided things were going to go along that convection as it moved east. We decided to head south and follow the southern most cell as it was in the most favorable shear.
It went tor warned and had a decent base....and then we made a wrong turn (we forgot our GPS, somehow) and lost the storm in a confusion of backroads. Finally gained barrings and headed west....right into Elmwood. I took a few as we drove through but the movement in the car, coupled with my weakeness of evening photography led to only a few to come out. Here is a view of downtown with debris scattered about.
After giving up on the storm and encountering more blocked roads into Peoria, we decided to head south and check out the next sup that was an HP mess. Tried to get backlit lightning but just way to much rain. It shelfed out and then we dropped further south and got on the last storm of the night just west of Lincoln. It was more classic in nature and showed great structure as it passed over the city. When it passed over, the rotation tightened up and a very low wall cloud/funnel was evident near the ground. As it moved further east it looked nearly in contact to the ground and it is the exact time of the Beason report. It is very likely there was a tornado on the ground.

There seems to be a mix up on the reports of ILX and correcting the reports. It states that they corrected the Hopedale report but listed Logan as the county...Hopedale is in Tazwell... oh well. We will see if it gets confirmed.

Either way, good chase with the exception of the big snafu that caused us to miss the big show. Depressing also as people are sobbing and in chaos after a tornado too. Hopefully the Beason tornado made the day complete for us and not all that somber.

Thoughts and prayers to the families of those suffering in all the affected states.


This is the Peoria/Elmwood cell before it was warned just across the Miss from the backside:

Notice the roof frames showing in one of the brick buildings...

Looking north at Lincoln as the circulation/lowering passes over:

Wall cloud could be seen just to the east of Lincoln


Chip
 
Mar 21, 2004
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Urbana, IL
skydrama.photography
Wasn't going to post anything as this was probably my biggest bust since 2004, but I figured I'd throw in my two cents on the Logan County, IL after dark supercell. I intercepted it in I-155 near Hopedale where the first tornado was reported. I didn't see anything, and the report has already been discredited by the NWS.

The storm rapidly tightened up north of Lincoln, IL shortly after 10 PM. It's really unfortunate this occurred after dark as the structure was insane as it was lit up by a constant strobe-like barrage of cloud to ground lightning. Striated updraft base with numerous inflow bands feeding into it. SE of Lincoln on Hwy 10 the storm produced a very large lowering that exhibited strong rotation (I could see it plain as day being illuminated by the city lights). Unfortunately with fast storm motions I could not hang around long and bailed east on Hwy 10. I did capture a couple still images of the mesocyclone/tornado passing over and SE of Lincoln where it produced a 300 yard wide tornado. I could see the massive bowl lowering in my rear view mirror but in the process of bailing east was unable to film or take stills.

It goes without saying, the first image is contrast enhanced. ILX reports a 300 yard wide tornado touching down at 10:57 PM, and this image was taken at 10:59 PM. Do with that what you want.







When I pretend the earlier tornadoes near Peoria and Dwight/Streator didn't happen, I guess this was an okay intercept.
 
Apr 18, 2010
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Grand Island, NE
nnwx.us
Short Version: Left Michigan around 10am, arrived in La Salle, IL around 1:30pm CDT. Decided south and west is where I needed to go. Was discouraged by the random mini rain showers that kept popping up and dying. Convinced myself to go into Iowa. Sat in Mount Pleasant, IA for about half hour until I convinced myself, yet again, that Iowa wasn't happening.

Left Mount Pleasant on US 34 going east. About 5 minutes after that, the storm that would later spawn the Yates City tornado appeared on radar. It struggled for a bit, but I stuck with it.

Full Version is available at: http://www.nicknoltewx.com/?p=62



Edit: here is the link to the youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r3KelHJf-w
three parts in it, first is timelapse approaching the meso, second is realtime west of Yates City, third is time lapse from dash cam as I approached and traveled through Yates towards Elmwood.
 
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Jul 2, 2004
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Hastings, Michigan
www.stormhorn.com
Kurt Hulst and I caught the supercell that produced the Elmwood/Peoria tornadoes from its inception west of the river in IA. We decided that we didn't want to punch too far west, and that choice gave us a front row seat as one of the bunch of popcorn clutter underneath the upper cloud deck turned into a tower and quickly acquired a supercellular look to it.

The storm produced its first tornado near Abingdon, IL--a brief spin up that presaged things to come. With the second tornado, the show started in earnest. There are plenty of images of the elephant's trunk. I got plenty of my own, but I haven't had time yet to edit them. I'll post a few of them on my blog within the next couple of days along with a writeup.

This storm was striking in a number of ways: its inception, its structure, the variety of tornado sizes and shapes produced, its relative ease of tracking...it was a rare treat to follow it all the way east to I-57, where it merged with the other, northernmost tornado-breeder near Kankakee. The one downside was watching Elmwood get hit.

I should mention that the storm produced a rope tornado just northwest of Chatsworth. I don't find this tornado in the SPC storm reports, though I reported it.
 
Initially, I ended up heading to Muscatine, IA where I met up with Matt P. who posted above. After that I ended up doing some jumping around. I first drove down to Grandview, IA, then west toward Washington, IA, then back south towards Mount Pleasant, IA as weak precip/convection started to develop across SE. Iowa. There was a cell that caught my eye near Burlington, IA which was heading in IL so I raced eastward on Route 34 and followed. I finally caught up with it SW of Monmouth, IL. I then continued east on farmed roads but ended up getting a bit lost due to the fact I left my GPS at home. I ended up following fellow chaser back out of the farm roads back onto Route 34 near Galesburg. Because of that, the storm had moved a few miles ahead of me. I then jumped on I-74 and raced SE towards Peoria...this is when things go interesting. I ran into some blinding rain within the hook of the storm on I-74, which caused many to stop in the middle of the road. I then ended up seeing the first my first tornado while I was on I-74, looking to my SE. Looking at the maps, this was likely the Elmwood tornado. From my view which was blocked my trees at times, it appeared it lifted for a while. I continued SE on I-74 and between the brush I saw yet another tornado just south of me, which is just SW of Brimfield. The tornado/wall cloud actually ran parallel to I-74 for a bit while it was closing in on the road. I then continued into Peoria on I-74 where I pulled to the side as the wall cloud passed over I-74...due to trees, I didn't see another tornado even though there were reports of one. I then jumped onto Route 24 in Peoria and took that east towards Eureka. This is where I saw my third tornado, which was NW of Eureka. At this time there were power flashes so I was at least sure it was on the ground. Driving eastward through Eureka, the town was out of power, likely as a result of the powerflashes. Continuing on Route 24 eastward was messy at times, as there were many chasers on the road. It didn't help that one idiot decided to turn around in the middle of Route 24, this portion of the road was dark and under construction. After this the storm weakened a bit I called it a night...

Next time I need to remember the GPS unit and I need someone to come along. I was stuck going alone this time, so I had to drive, look at data, and take pictures all at once...which was not fun.

Since everyone has posted pictures of the Elmwood tornado, here is a dark shot of the tornado north of Washington.
 
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Sat around some Knoxville, IL (near Galesburg) park for an hour or two awaiting initiation after leaving Chicago (and skipping Do Division street festival). Initially storms looked weak/ragged on radar slowly limping across the border -- but then quite suddenly came to life. One of the most obvious hooks I've seen while also in it as well. Intercepted same long duration tornado/funnel from near Yates City on through to near West Peoria (appeared to track ESE). Just got back to Chicago so will post SLR pictures later. Drive back up along Interstate 55 broadsided by at least one Tornado-warned storm -- Texas-like in its ferocity. Never expected such intensity in Illinois. First tornado for season and last one seen in 2007 near Silverton, TX. A long 3+ years wait.
As promised, I've attached pictures taken heading East/SE towards Peoria.
 

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Not much to add because Bob was with me. I have not had time to edit my pictures. I did not get any pictures of the tornadoes because I was to busy filming them and driving (can only do so much). I was able to edit the video of the Elmwood Tornado so here it is.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC7bbDAhdJg

We were within 1/4 of a mile and could hear the roar and a building get torn apart. The roar was more like a rocket/waterfall sound. Very amazing day. Though it was not good to see Elmwood get hit. My thoughts and prayer to those who were effected.

As Bob stated, we saw one last tornado as we neared I-57. It turned out on my video but barely. It was a sharp pencil tornado all the way to the ground.

I will edit and the rest of my video and images in the next few days. Work is keeping me busy this week. I will post a link to the final report here.

Kurt Hulst and I caught the supercell that produced the Elmwood/Peoria tornadoes from its inception west of the river in IA. We decided that we didn't want to punch too far west, and that choice gave us a front row seat as one of the bunch of popcorn clutter underneath the upper cloud deck turned into a tower and quickly acquired a supercellular look to it.

The storm produced its first tornado near Abingdon, IL--a brief spin up that presaged things to come. With the second tornado, the show started in earnest. There are plenty of images of the elephant's trunk. I got plenty of my own, but I haven't had time yet to edit them. I'll post a few of them on my blog within the next couple of days along with a writeup.

This storm was striking in a number of ways: its inception, its structure, the variety of tornado sizes and shapes produced, its relative ease of tracking...it was a rare treat to follow it all the way east to I-57, where it merged with the other, northernmost tornado-breeder near Kankakee. The one downside was watching Elmwood get hit.

I should mention that the storm produced a rope tornado just northwest of Chatsworth. I don't find this tornado in the SPC storm reports, though I reported it.
 
Apr 10, 2008
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Decatur IL
www.pawleewurx.com
Thinking that nothing would prevail for me this day being as I had to work and there was simply no way I could make an intercept up N and return in time, I ended up targeting the southernmost storm of the day from SE of Lincoln as I headed in. To my surprise in spite of not being able to make out detail till it was close, the cell was producing EF0 damage the entire time I was photographing it from the Macon/Dewitt county border.









More on my blog.
 
Jul 2, 2004
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Hastings, Michigan
www.stormhorn.com
Photos are now available for viewing at my blogsite. A complete writeup will follow soon.

Here are a couple addendums I forgot to mention in my previous writeup. First, the lightning associated with these tornadoes was amazing. I didn't have the good fortune to chase the Mulvane tornado, but I'm guessing that this event was similar in the amount of lightning it produced. In Kurt's video at the 8:50 mark, you can see a CG shoot directly out of the funnel!

Second, Illinois has some of the best chase territory in the country. Yes, it gets thick toward the southern part of the state, but every state has variations. Most of Illinois along the I-55 and I-57 corridors is flat-as-a-pancake farmland with dependable road grids at regular intervals that will get you wherever you want to go and are easily navigable when wet. You can see for miles. Ditto parts of Indiana and Ohio. It just depends on where you are in these states. Illinois in particular offers prime chasing provided you can get the storms to cooperate.