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4/14/2006 Reports: Illinois/Indiana

Long story short... chased that monster supercell from near Paxton, IL and ended the chase around Newtown, Indiana. Did see one possible tornado, or at least a very large bowl shaped funnel cloud near Attica, IN.

Had an intense moment near the IL/IN border, when I got caught in the RFD of the supercell. Winds were easily near 80 MPH moving my car, while a grungy white wall cloud spun in front of me. Also felt the pressure change in my ears... good times.

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Also chased the same cell with great results. The storm did briefly drop a weak tornado just south of Attica in the town of Robroy (I just returned from scpoing the damage, only 3 miles from my house!) I am sure that i caught tornado on video but it was heavily rain-wrapped and i didn't realize it at the time. One mobile home/massage parlor destroyed, one building collapse and one roof damaged building as well as 50-75 large trees down along 1-2 mile path. Widespread power outage overnight. Also experinced incredible RFD blast just south of the approx. tornado location.

My report from last night:

In Fountain county I observed one of several Radar hooks and obtained pictures and video of rainwrapped tornado which hit small massage parlor and small town of Robroy Indiana within a minute after my best observation and pic/vid stop. Did not know of tornado at time of chase as storm was only tornado warned with previous sketchy reports of touchdowns. Winds were easily between 50mph to 90mph when the RFD blast rotated around to my position. I may have captured outline of tornado in heavy rain with video but still unsure. NOT straighline winds is a safe assumption as the supercell had GRAND low and mid level Meso-scale features.

Do have pictures now... Will have more later If i ever stay in one place long enough, but it's easter right now

Enjoy avaliable pics

Terrence Cook
 
Bust day for me. Based consistency between RUC and NAM forecasts for afternoon convective initiation, I targeted the area between Vandalia and Decatur, IL. Of course, the actual storms formed much farther northeast, as my target area remained capped and strong warm advection pushed the outflow boundary from earlier convection way northeast of where it had been expected to be. With limited access to data, by the time I was aware of what was going on I was too far out of position to catch the storms over far northeast IL southeast to central IN. Congrats to those of you who caught the storms in Indiana.
 
Chased the monster cell that sideswiped eastern Tippecanoe County which dropped a tornado just west of Brookston in Clinton County and roped out as soon as I showed up. That same storm dropped golf ball size hail in Battleground, IN. It also produced multiple funnel clouds near the small town of Coulburn, IN which uprooted a large tree and a car along with it. Hail associated with another large cell that in came in from the west covered highway 25 near Shadeland. Got some nice pics and vidoe of the storms which will be posted later since I will be surveying damage today and possibly be chasing on Sunday.
 
Expecting the cluster of weak storms in central Ohio to explode as soon as they hit the instability max along the Ohio river, I headed north toward Parkersburg where parameters were favorable for supercells. I caught a new storm firing as it crossed the state line in Parkersburg and followed it along Route 50 eastward to Clarksburg. The storm stayed just north of Route 50 (a 4-lane highway) all the way to Clarksburg. I observed a large, high rain-free base with weak inflow banding that lasted for about 10 minutes near Ellenboro. After this the storm became stretched and lost any organized features.

I stopped to shoot lightning video in Clarksburg for about an hour, then noticed a large supercell with strong rotation markers (115mph and 92mph) on ThreatNet just south of Washington Court House, Ohio heading straight for the Charleston-Huntington metro area. I immediately headed south on I-79 to attempt an intercept as the storm crossed the state line near Huntington. The storm rapidly weakened and spread out as it approached the state line. A new cluster of severe cells developed on the fringes of this activity and passed over the Charleston metro after midnight. I encountered a brief burst of dime-sized hail in the core of this storm.

Lightning was incredible all day and into the early morning hours.

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More grabs at:
http://wvlightning.com/april142006.shtml

And as bad as West Virginia is for 'real' chasing, yesterday went very well as far as there being good roads right where I needed them. When you chase here, all you really have are the 4-lane 65-70mph corridors and interstates - and the storms let me stay on those all day Friday.
 
I went on another weekend chase yesterday. Drove to West Virginia and stayed Thursday night, then spent most of the day Friday driving west to Mount Vernon, IL, my initial target for the day. Ran into the same problem John did in southeast Illinois - zero clouds, strong WSW winds and dry air. In fact, I first noticed this around Louisville, KY, but for whatever reason I continued to drive west ignoring what the sky was telling me.
The big IL/IN cells were getting started good when I was 50 miles into Illinios. Somewhere around 5:30 central time I guess it finally dawned on me that nothing was gonna fire anywhere near where I was. After a short debate on whether to just turn around and go back home or go after the stuff in northeast Illinois, I decided to chase, since I had already driven that far anyways what's another 300 miles. Finally intercepted a big supercell (filled almost a county with purple on the Baron) just west Plainfield, IN 30-45 minutes after dark. Sat up position just south of the wall, which looked to be on the eastern edge of the updraft, with the rain/hail core immediately to its right. Stayed at that location for about 5 minutes when the leading edge of the RFD winds started coming in from the north. I had enough time to drive west 1/2 mile, do a U turn, drive east a mile and then drive south for a half mile before the real RFD hit me. And it was strong, I'd agree with Andrew on the 80mph estimate, that's exactly what I was thinking. While I was on the ramp to I 70W a gust moved my Cherokee to the left edge of the ramp pavement, and about a quarter mile down I-70 another gust blew me from the right lane to a foot or two in the left lane before I could steer to account for it. Glad the only car I could see had already gone by me. After driving at 30mph I finally got out of it a little over a mile farther down the interstate. I turned around 6 or 7 miles later at the next exit and then chased the storm down Hwy 144 going southeast until 144 intersected I-65. While I was still on I-70 driving back east I caught a few glimpses of either a large funnel about half way down in the direction of southern Indianapolis, or an odd funnel shaped wall cloud. It was relatively wide at the top and snaked to a point halfway down. I could only get a glimpse of the feature a few times while passing open fields. Camcordered in that general direction while I drove down 144, but don't think anything showed up (haven't looked at the tape yet) since by that time the storm was in a weakening stage. The storm went from constant lightning while it was still northwest of Indinapolis to hardly any flashes at all after it passed south in Indy - the time I was filming.
First thing I did when I walked in the door was look at the SPC reports and then Stormtrack reports. Glad to know some folks were on that storm during daylight while it was dropping tornadoes. I was cussing myself at that time while still 120 miles SSW of it, :lol:
 
[attachmentid=149][attachmentid=149]I chased this storm starting in NW Warren Co. about 7 miles south of boswell. It had great structure and a rotating wall cloud. After enhancing a picture I took in NW Warren co. I belive I may have a small tornado on the ground. There was also golf ball sized hail. From there i tracked into Attica and east on 28 into Odel. from there on out the entire wall cloud/funnel was rain wrapped, I was caught in the hail core and was forced to take shelter in a barn somewhere south of Odel on 25. Included are pictures of a wall cloud and possibe tornado. great chase!
 
Also chased that beast of a storm. After looking at radar one last time I set out and headed North to around Pine Village. It appeared that storm movement would stay easterly, but it soon turned ESE. Sat there for awhile and observed a lowering in the distance. As the quarter sized and at times, golf ball sized hail started to fall, I knew I had to drop South and get through Attica to have a chance at a glimpse of something good. Did that and found a country road just outside of Attica where I watched impressive rotation not too far from my location. Decided I better move and retreated some, and by the time that happened it was then rain wrapped. Overall not bad for Indiana. :)
 
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