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05/17/06 REPORTS: IL / IN / WI

What a first chase! I saw nothing tornadic, but I witnessed an incredible squall line march through Will Co., IL, and Lake County, IN. I took several pics of a tremendous shelf cloud, and other dramatic formations along the gust front. I will post pics tomorrow, as I am too gosh darn tired to post them right now. Hopefully, I will also put a summary/log on my blog. For a first chase on a day where I expected very little, I am very pleased to say the least!
Saw the leading edge of a severe-warned storm near Stoughton at about 3:15 Wednesday afternoon. The news reported trees down in downtown Stoughton, but I saw nothing in the LSRs. In fact, the storm looked more potent on radar to the east of where I observed it (which was already to the east of Stoughton proper). I captured some rather photogenic outflow clouds and caught a lightning bolt by total coincidence. In this pattern, I'll take what I can get! :)

Pictures and other info up on blog at http://ayaredubya.blogspot.com/2006/05/wea...-wisconsin.html
I was not expecting anything significant today but I did have an eye to the sky. I noticed two cells go up near the Quad Cities IA so I debated whether to wait for them or go for a ride. I opted to take a ride and I have to say it was a nice feeling approaching these storms and seeing the black shadows in the distance. I caught up with the southernmost cell from I-80 and dropped south as it neared Kewanee, IL. The last radar image I peeked showed it bowing out but did show an appendage forming on the forward flank. I reached Kewanee at the same time as this storm and it was a mess trying to navigate through construction and city streets. I did get a good view before being overtaken by small hail and copius amounts of rain.The leaves from trees were falling like it was October and the streets downtown were flooding. Traffic was disorganized as the power went out and none of the signals were working.This on top of the sirens were blaring and some people were trying to get out of Dodge by any means. Me, I was trying to get south of town to catch up with this cell as it was flying 45-50mph. I did manage to get a clear view from the SW of the storm and it was high based although I did see a few short lived funnels. Challege was keeping up with it and each time I got close I would get delayed again... (200 car train with a wall cloud in view) doah! I followed from Kewanee all the way through Peoria and then called it off west of Bloomington. It was high based most of the time I could keep up, but the lowerings I saw were partially obscured by the hail core.Tornado warned supercell on
a low expectation day, I'll take it. Refreshing chase and I was treated to a nice shelf on the way home.

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I started my chase by targeting between Hoopeston and Watseka, IL. Later on this put me strait East of the large cell/supercell that was tracking through Peoria and Bloomington. After an hour of pushing south and trying to catch a glimpse of the South West side I finally achieved my chase position near Champaign, IL. Some decent video and pics of multiple weak mesocyclones and one large slow funnel cloud. Storm tops were weak except for strongest updrafts and LCL' s very high. Worth 6 1/2 hours of driving and $38.00 in gas, yes!

Included are low res pics, had trouble uploading several pics at res.

Video and additional photos on my weather blog.

Sometimes you're dumpster diving for table scraps, and end up with a chunk of filet mignon.

Day 4 of our 12-member group's storm chasing trip in an Omega-blocked, northwest flow pattern yielded a High Plains-quality supercell with multiple rotating wall cloud structures and several funnel clouds over central Illinois. The storm became tornado-warned right as we were watching it between Monticello and Manoa (between Decatur and Champaign) and we saw several lowerings extremely close to the ground. We'll be reviewing video to see if a tornado might have touched down.

We targeted the southern edge of the slight risk area in Illinois, hoping to catch at least a good MCS shelf cloud, but hoping that a cell on the western edge could catch enough backing winds and CAPE to blow up into a supercell. That's exactly what happened! We had to intercept the cell running west from I-57 south of Champaign, a quick move under a southeast-moving supercell pumping out large hail.

We were able to stay in one place for about half an hour watching multiple rotating wall clouds move in front of us like trains on a track. We experienced two RFDs ... the first a warm one, the second cold ... as the storm moved by us. We did have to make a mad dash west toward Decatur at the end as the western fringe of the storm, with some visible rotation, edged overhead.

We're just now peeling ourselves off the ceiling from this giddy high of an amazing storm in what we feared might be a dead 2-week trip.

Oh, and did I mention that our radar operators are high school students! Great experience for an amazing group of high school and college weather enthusiasts from Virginia and North Carolina.
I didn't have to drive very far to see the supercell that went through the Peoria area :D

I ended up geting south of Dunlap just in time to see the main features of the supercell as it moved SE. Like others have said, it was high based in this area, although there was a slightly rotating wall cloud. There was lots of low level scud at times, too which I think led to some false reports by citizens and a couple spotters. My photos look similar to the others:

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I wasn't able to follow it for long due to rush hour Peoria traffic/road networks, etc.
Not too shabby for a storm that turned into a supercell from a multi-celled cluster. I think if the dewpoints would have been higher, it may have been a bad situation.