March 30 2005

Mar 05, 2012

In 2005 I was just starting to pay a little more attention to the weather. I knew nothing about forecasting. I owned no storm chase gear. The day began with me arriving home from work. I checked the radar and saw lots of thunderstorm warnings. Eventually one particular storm caught my eye and after closely following its movement I decided to make a run for it.

For Christmas I had gotten a video camera. This would be my first time going after a storm in which I had a way to document what I saw. I planned the route in my head and off I went.
The storm was quite a show for around here. The structure was incredible and the hail was plentiful. I was pretty uneducated at this time despite having been to 2 basic spotter classes. I ended up punching the core with hail up to quarter size. To me this was the mother of all prizes. I ended up in the suburb of Willow Springs, where I often hung out with one of my best friends.
Video:
I was very happy with what I had caught and headed for home. The rest of the day storms kept erupting. I was treated to a hail barrage at my own house and plenty of lightning.
I saved a radar image from TWC of the storm I had intercepted once I got home. I placed a white dot where my approximate location was. I had no idea programs like GR3 existed. I did not own a laptop and had no program on my cell phone for radar either. The look on this generic radar definitely suggests the storm was supercellular in nature.

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Also at this time, I had no idea what the SPC was. Looking back at the MDs [mesoscale discussions] for this day I realize that what I did was somewhat foolish. The storm was definitely tornadic and posed a real threat. Upon reading the MD and looking at the time stamp on the radar, it was infact the storm they were talking about.
Here is a clip of the text; the entire thing can be read here.
INTENSE SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING TORNADOES WILL CONTINUE TO
TRACK NEWD WITH AN ESPECIALLY INTENSE SUPERCELL APPROACHING THE I-39
CORRIDOR BETWEEN BLOOMINGTON AND ROCKFORD. THIS POTENTIALLY TORNADIC
SUPERCELL AND OTHER SUPERCELLS SHOULD AFFECT THE CHICAGO AREA BY 00Z
WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR TORNADOES (POSSIBLY STRONG)…VERY LARGE HAIL
AND WIND DAMAGE.
Knowing what I know now, I would have played this day way different. I was still in the learning process though. The rest of 2005 featured a major drought for the area, and there would be no more storms for me to go after. I had been bitten harder by the bug but did not have a chance to go out again until the end of the year.
Below is a google map of this very short chase.

View Chase 3-30-05 in a larger map

Conclusions: As of the writing of this old log, the date is 11-03-09. It was fun to go back and look at how I was back then, and to think about how far along Ive come. I wish these recent years would have given me another setup like this so early in the season.

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