Had a decent local chase this afternoon - out less than 2 hours and 75 total chase miles, but caught quite an interesting barrage of CGs on storms in eastern Madison and far western Bond Counties in southwest Illinois. Shortly after the blue box was issued for E. MO, S. IL, NW KY, and SW IN, I noticed strong storms cropping up around the Alton, IL area around noon - around 62 dbz. Since I could easily intercept these, I started out through Edwardsville to head north on IL route 159, but quickly realized the storms were too close and would get ahead of me if I went that way, so I cut east from Edwardsville on Pin Oak and Fruit Roads. ATTM a very low linear updraft base, with some areas of precip forming under it, came over Edwardsville and rapidly approached from the west. The cloud base had to be only a few hundred feet above the ground, similar to what I had observed on June 3 of this year along the KS-OK border. Today's conditions were similar - decent heating of saturated air from earlier storms, near 100% surface humidity - but visibility today was much worse due to fog and surrounding low clouds. The cloud base was so low it was hard to pick out the main precip areas unless you were very close. I cut north to just east of Hamel, as the line passed over me, encountering some heavy rain, then crossed east on route 140 under the line again (with only a few spatters of big raindrops this time) and into Alhambra. I could see that a core seemed to be forming to my south, so cut back that way but, unable to get ahead of it, was basically in the core for the next half hour to 45 minutes, as I cut east on Fruit Road and followed it and Pochahantas Road all the way east through Grantfork into Pochahantas. Never could get back ahead of the storm, but as I headed east, the CG became more and more frequent. Saw a house or its TV antenna get hit within 100 feet ahead of me at the west edge of Grantfork, and over the chase probably a half dozen CGs hit within 1000 feet or so of my location. Suddenly when I got to Pochahantas I encountered strong southwesterly, then southerly winds (there had been little wind up to this time) around 50 mph (estimated by motion of the sheets of rain relative to my speed). When I-70 came into view, nearly all the traffic had pulled over due to the intense rain and wind, and I decided it would be pointless and unsafe to get on the freeway and try to get ahead of the storm in these conditions - the storms were moving along to the east at 35-45 mph, with the leading edge still well east of me. Though I was too much in the core most of the time to see any structure besides the initial low RFB, the chase was worth it for the numerous close encounters with CG. A review of radar when I got home revealed that a storm merger occurred over the Pochahantas area, which might account for the sudden strong winds there. No hail, but the rain with this storm was really intense, with visibility under 100 feet at times. Most of the severe wx occurred farther down the line in Randoph County and points eastward, mainly in the form of strong outflow winds.