3/30/05 Reports: IA, IL

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Dan Cook

Dec 12, 2003
Lombard, IL
Just got back from a chase to the Peoria area with Skip: Ran into a boat load of around nickle sized hail and intercepted the tornado warned cell as well.

Couple shots:

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Fired NW of Macomb and went Severe warned.

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Possible wall cloud when Darin arrived.

Video of hail and wall cloud:


rest of stills: http://www.midwestchasing.com/gallery/thum...ils.php?album=7

All and all a good first chase. :)
Hey Dan, guess that was the storm of the day - was on the same one - saw the same wall cloud just east of Peoria but from more of a due east view. You have better contrast. This was the best cell I saw all day - and I tried keeping up with it - but northeast at 45 in N-S E-W grid road netrworks is exhausting - and the cell never looked as good again during the hour or so I followed it after it crossed I-74. Report of tornado with this cell near Metamora - but never saw any ground circulation from my perspective. After this storm wore me out - headed south to intercept several other cells passing through the Bloomington -Normal area, but cloud bases seemed to be getting progressively higher throughout the day. Haven't checked the old obs, but assume dews peaked in the upper 50's and started falling off from there.

Given that I had no plans to chase yesterday - I'm not at all disappointed as I expected screaming cell motions. Saw some vigorous convection, lots of small hail, and some nice CG's. Also, the sunset through cells developing on the cold front was a spectacular site. Wish I had a digital cam to share pics. Oh well.

A nice warmup for what I hope is a good chase season.

What a great time yesterday in central and east central Illinois, romping around a virtual supercell playground in very agreeable terrain. Kurt Hulst and I observed five supercells, moving south down the line of storms that trailed back to the southwest. We intercepted the “Peoria storm†in Peoria itself, after having observed an initial supercell to the north which organized briefly. On the PIA cell, which was easily the strongest of the day, we observed three funnels and one non-rotating vertical scud protrusion. We did not observe the “debris whirl†under any funnel that was reported by a citizen.

We chose PIA and the area south of there believing that a more strongly capped environment might maintain discrete cell modes longer while remaining close enough to the upper level energy and surface low to take advantage of favorable shear structures. In fact, the storm activity did not coalesce into a line until late in the period when the actual wind shift associated with the Pacific front overtook convection.

The first cell that caught our attention was near Fairview, with the cell that became the PIA storm to the south of it. Both were isolated, high-based, but organized with strong inflow and evidence of low to mid level rotation via banding and striations. Anvils were soft, however, as it was only about 19:30z and the storms had not moved into the higher theta-e environment or the strong low level jet.

On Stormtrack, someone commented how well-suited the roads northeast of PIA were for Wednesday’s storm motions and this was certainly true, but the roads to the southwest of the city are the opposite, and we struggled to maintain position on the northern storm while still keeping our south option open. At last, we moved north of I-74 and intended to cross the river near Chillicothe or Sparland, but discovered the road to Princeville—and our east option toward the river—was closed. Not just closed in the Kansas sense of the word, with complicated choreographies of workers and walkie talkies and stop signs, but closed as in a tunnel had been filled and the road just stopped at the side of this very large hill.

So we had nothing left to do but turn back toward PIA, and cut across the north side of the big supercell, and as we did the storm really cranked up, earned a tornado warning, and spit dime and nickel size hail. We observed the first of our funnel clouds in PIA, north of the highway, a white tapered tube embedded in rain and very high. We followed this cell for the next two and a half hours, and while it frequently rotated and produced vigorous inflow—yanking all kinds of debris and grass across the road at one point—we never saw anything other than high funnels or lowerings, always followed by some of the coldest and most damp RFD I can remember. At the time of the Metamora tornado report, we were looking directly into the area of rotation, and Metamora was in the storm’s core.

Tried our hand at other storms as well: one near BMI, then another coming into Champaign, but while some of the overshooting tops and backsheared anvils were impressive in the setting sun, none of the storms matched the strength of that Peoria cell.

In all, we chased storms from around 19z to 23:30z—a great way to spend the afternoon. Was good to see Mark Sefried and his chase partner Darrin, who showed us a comfortable mom n’ pop diner where we chilled out and talked about the day’s events. My thanks to Kurt Hulst and the people who called to volunteer nowcasting help. I’ll post some photos tomorrow.

Sounds like Darin, Dan, you and I were in the same area on that Peoria cell. We did see a few pointy protrustions briefly, real high up, and dismissed them as scud or gust front features. In particular I remember a white protrustion in the southern part of the precip core and east of the scud lowering. But I'll believe you when you say they were high based funnels. We need to collaborate our photos/video to see if we were looking at the same feature.
Raise your hand if you weren't near Peoria today. I was watching "the Peoria cell" from just across the river, and then from 2 miles ESE of Metamora. I could swear I saw rotation in the lowering as it neared Metamora, but I'm not quite sure. Regardless, I'm of the mind that it did not produce a tornado. A partially complete write-up is here:


Thurs or Friday at work I'll make an uberloop of the radar and post that and I'll also have my 35mm developed and maybe even get a few video clips posted (that sounds like a job for this weekend or next week). I'll also put up some model images, observations, satellite, etc. If there's something you'd particularly want saved for posterity, PM or e-mail me and I'll try to add it on. If anyone wants me to link to their write-up, I'd be happy to and feel free to link to mine.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's been over 11 months since my last chase and this whole "11 hours of driving in one day" thing is really getting to me. I'm going to go to bed.

I departed St. Louis late morning en route to PIA-ILX corridor. By the time I got into open country north of STL northbound on I55 I noticed a line of TCu with a prefrontal windshift. Watched impressive Cb form in Schuyler County in the northwest distance which would become the main cell of the day and intercepted it just southwest of PIA.

Saw very unimpressive wall cloud and was pelted with pea-sized hail east of Canton and around Mapleton in Fulton and Peoria counties. Unimpressed and thinking I could still double back in time if need be, I decided to continue to Canton and pickup chase partner thinking it would behoove me in the long run to have logistical benefits (I was alone and minimal preparations for chasing due to heavy schedule and procrastination). Delayed a little too long in deciding whether original cell which was now very impressive on radar was still catchable or to just play original thinking of area more SE of PIA and never caught up with cell again.

Intercepted an apparent minisupercell near El Paso and played with various cells along line in north-central Illinois until sundown. Many of them were impressive from a distance but never really got their act together underneath, and we were never able to stay with any one cell too long due to rapid movement. Also saw some unimpressive lowerings with these cells from the distance as well as some nice lighting.

I heard Amos Magliocco et al on the radio much of the afternoon, but could just barely make them out as they were always on the very edge of range. I ended the day with an interesting and unusual sunset, then an enjoyable dinner with chase partner Colin Davis at a local restaurant in Dwight. It was great to get out again after the long winter slumber.

Did I see Any Severe Weather: None

State: Michigan
Counties Chased: Allegan, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa
Counties Warned: Muskegon (Severe Thunderstorm Warning)

Chase 1: 730-930 pm.
Targeted the Grand Haven, Muskegon area, went to the beach
first, park was completely filled with people, and could not find
any spot to park, wanted to get some lightning shots, way too
many people. Saw some good CG's, was mad, at the amount
of people at the lakeshore.Took US 31 into Muskegon County,
encounter 45 mph winds. blowing dust and loose papers from
the gust front on US 31, with the occasional CG, and heavy.rains.
Rain on the way back to Grand Rapids, with occasional lightning.

Chase 2: 1030-1145 pm.
Ottawa County and Allegan County, highlights not much, 35 mph
wind gust, occasional lightning, brief heavy rains. Storms weaken
as iI drove back to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Like everyone else, my chase partner Marc Dahmer and I were on the Peoria cell. Our original target was the Macomb, IL area. We departed Columbia at 7 am and arrived in Quincy, IL a little after 9 where we analyzed data till about noon and then it was go time. We first got on a cell near us when we noticed the cell SW of Peoria starting to look nice so we dropped down to it. We were plagued by bad roads, traffic and many small towns SW of Peoria, though we managed to keep up fairly well given the incredible storm speed....

Full Chase Report can be found here:


Dave Bellmore and I played more of the southern game, which I havent seen many chase reports from. We never went north of Bloomington, IL...and basically stayed between Bloomington and Lincoln, IL the entire evening, mostly because I hate getting near Peoria for the river, and poor roads. We got on several severe cells, none of which ever came close to producing a tornado, but did provide a few good photo ops.


>Just realised I accidentally made the date on that March 31st...but it is indeed March 30th, sorry bout that!<

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Joel Wright doesn't have a web server, so I thought I'd host his pictures and post them here. These were shot from his backyard:


Nice pics Joel. Looks like that base went right over your house.
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