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10/23/2004 REPORTS: ILLINOIS-GREAT LAKES REGION

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Midwest chasers know that somewhere in Illinois is the portal to hell. I may have found it.

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Full report and more pictures here.

This was a nice surprise after a storm-less chase in eastern Kansas the day before. On my way back to Indiana, I noticed I'd driven underneath a fairly potent cu field around Effingham, Illinois on Interstate 70. A glance at the radar showed showers developing ahead of the advancing pacific front, and within a few scans, these became isolated, low-topped single cell storms, with the tail-end Charlie growing to a 53dbz return at one point. I dropped south from Effingham and intercepted the southern storm near Louisville, and then again further south at Flora.

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I continued east of State Road 50 as the slow-moving cells drifted along and maintained fair organization in an a modestly unstable environment (SPC estimated 1000 j/kg in an MCD issued for the area) and some fair 0-1k shear. These conditions were similar to what we faced the day before in Kansas, with the difference being that the area had seen more insolation than our target, and that the midlevels were cooler and thus lapse rates more conducive.

This was my first legitimate chase using the XM / Wx-Worx system and it was amazing to have that sort of data available nonstop. I wish I'd have bought it in February.
 
that's a beautiful little storm there. Was it rotating?

Not a bit. Just taking advantage of the decent shear to sculpt a gust front and the setting sun for color. Nothing really severe about it at all.
 
Me: Good Lord, what is happening in there?

Amos: Aurora Borealis?

Me: Aurora Borealis? At this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within that storm?

Amos: Yes.

Me: Can we punch it?

Amos: Oh, erm... No.

My apologizes to the writers of the Simpsons. :)
 
"Warning Outbreak"

Yesterday was what I like to call a "warning" outbreak. That is, the NWS in GRB issued a greater total number of warnings than the total number of storm reports in its CWA as indicated on the SPC Preliminary. 60 MPH wind and 3/4" hail reported in Green Bay, but saw nothing severe here on the UWGB campus. Watched some low, ragged scud from the 6th floor of the Cofrin Library, and a "smokenado" where smoke from the industrial section of Green Bay mingled with the scud. That advertised dry punch never really showed up, even though it seemed to be approaching on sattelite. Skies stayed essentially overcast all day until storm's arrival, with the exception of a 20-minute or so period of filtered sunshine. I thought if that dry punch DID show up and we got an hour or two of full heating we could see something like April 20 in IL where low-topped mini-supercells drop tornadoes left and right given the insane amount of shear due to the approaching sub-990 MB low. Not to be.
 
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