Looking for 3/13/90 Data

Wow do I remember that day. Look at those Td's! Mid 60's into northern IL! Incredibe for so early in the year.

I was 13 at the time, and living in Silvis IL. About 4 miles east of Moline IL. I was in 7th grade. I remember a storm passing through at lunch time. I was eating with friends in the cafeteria and I remember how dark it was, along with loud thunder. I was very much into weather then as well, so I was pretty interested in what was going on. I had no idea how big of a day it would turn out to be. My only source of weather information was a little battery powered Realistic weather radio. My big brother always hogged the one TV we had that had cable.

That storm passed by and soon the sun came out, and I finished my day in school. By the time school let out around 3pm, it was very warm. Unusually warm for so early in the year (mid 70's). Birds were singing, and the smell in the air was no longer winterlike. Even the grass was greening up and growing. The sky was filled with sheared looking cumulus clouds, racing towards the north.

As usual my brother was using the TV, so I had only my weather radio to rely on. It didn't have the alarm feature, so I had to check back often to hear of any new watches or warnings. I remember being disappointed about hearing storms were north of the Quad Cities, moving away. The voice (ah I miss the human voices, much more detail oriented at times of severe weather) did mention a new thunderstorm had developed about 30 miles south-southwest of the Quad Cities, moving north. So that gave me hope.

A friend of mine from a few doors down came over and we played basketball out on my driveway. I remember looking up and noticing the southern sky had turned dark. Soon the distinct sound of very distant rumbles began. I knew the storm had maintained strength and was heading our way. The thunder got louder, and the sky kept getting darker. Soon I noticed the darkest clouds seemed to be more in the western and southwestern part of the sky. It became clear that the heaviest part of the storm was going to miss us to the west. I was disappointed, but still held onto hope of us getting something.

It began to rain lightly at first, then it became much heavier. We stopped playing basketball, and my friend headed on home. I went up on the deck and stood underneath the overhang and watched as the rain became very heavy. The south part of the sky had lightened up considerably at this point, even with some blue sky visible. The western and southwestern sky remained very dark. Pea sized hail began to fall, and then marble sized hail. The hail actually became the predominant precipitation type with very little rain. I could now see a very sharp edge to the southern part of the anvil, nearly overhead now. The hail continued to fall very heavily, and grew to quarter size. (I didn't know this at the time, but a few miles to my west baseball sized hail was falling).

Suddenly the hail shut off completely. The western sky was still dark. I began to walk around the yard collecting the biggest hail I could find to preserve in the freezer. After a few minutes I glanced up and was startled by a very low hanging black cloud, that extended from just to my west down to the southwestern part of the sky. I ran up on the deck and watched in awe, as I had never seen anything like this. I didn't know it at the time, but I was looking at the rainfree base. Soon after I noticed an even lower cloud rapidly moving almost straight north (wallcloud). When I first noticed it, it was due southwest, about 5 miles away. It didn't take long to come much closer. It was violently spinning, with pieces of clouds forming all around it and rotating into it. I was completely in awe. It traveled very quickly by, just missing us to the west by a mile or so. It continued to travel quickly north-north east. I never saw a condensation funnel. I watched as it disappeared into the trees in the northern horizon.

Just a few miles north it put down a tornado right on the Mississippi and traveled north-northeast to hit Cordova IL. There it leveled some houses and a church. It did F3 damage. (It barely missed one of my future ex-girlfriend's house). Unfortunately I could not chase it since I was so young. All I could do was watch as it passed by. I can only wonder what it would have been like if it had decided to touch down 10 minutes earlier.

Sorry for this very long winded story. This day sticks very firmly in my mind as it had a very big impact on me. It really ramped up my enthusiasm for weather.