May 25th 2011 Illinois Severe/Tornado Warned Storms

Feb 26, 2012

Really?

Summary:
Gentleman’s chase on the way home. Sampled numerous storms in Central Illinois noting some mediocre structure and a couple small hail cores. Numerous storms meant picking the right one was tricky.
Stats:
Tornadoes: 0
Hail: .75 [penny]
Wind: n/a
Detailed Account:
Today was surprisingly another high risk, but centered over an area known for terrible terrain and difficult chasing. Having chased for 6 straight days and becoming low on funds I opted for the northern end of the target as opposed to the obvious target within the high risk. There still was a good chance for tornadoes on the way home and it would be cool if I could pull a unique prize out of the day as opposed to the same tornado everyone else gets. Something about having a catch to call my own still lures me away from where most people chase sometimes. I don’t know if that makes me a bad chaser or not but regardless, I like the challenge. Especially after my amazing catch the day before.
Anyways, Jon and I left our hotel in Columbia, MO and stopped just north of ST Louis with numerous bands of storms initiating all over the place. We made the mistake of not going after a storm to our NW that ended up having a report of 2 tornadoes on the ground at the same time, but chasing around a metro area is just a nightmare and something I try and avoid. We debated on which target to play and drove around in circles which began to get on my nerves a bit so I finally just said we are committing to our IL chase on the way home, and off we went. Numerous storms went up just about everywhere and on radar picking the right one was basically a roll of the dice.
We spent the next 4 hours or so sampling all sorts of storms, the fact there were so many greatly reduced the true tornado potential each had. Some of the structure wasn’t too bad.
This was kind of neat, a little storm went up and actually was rotating with visible striations as it tried to become a mini supercell. Like most of the storms though it struggled to compete with all the other storms in the area and lived a short life.
I can only sample storms of this nature for so long and once it became clear there would be no way to get a decent tornado or structure any better than what we got I called the chase and turned us around for home. Letting a shelf cloud take us over with sub severe wind/hail.
Around this time a “shelf cloud tornado” was reported near Bloomington. This made me scratch my head a bit as it seemed to defied logic but NWS surveys have confirmed quite a few brief spinup tornadoes. I was a bit surprised to see so many but it made sense all the same time. Such tornadoes aren’t photogenic and tend to be very brief and in the case of today, you just had to be lucky to be on the right storm. I arrived home around 10pm from the longest string of chasing in my life and was ready for a short break.
Conclusion:
Not a bad gentleman’s chase. I never had high expectations on the day despite it being a high risk. Despite the large number of tornado reports only a handful of chasers were lucky enough to snag some good video from the jungles of Missouri. The best being Nick Nolte’s video that can be seen here. It would have been a nice tornado to see for sure, but given the large number of storms that went up its tough to say whether or not I would have been there.
Map not available [in case you are wondering why they haven’t been available as much lately its due to a new technology problem I have been experiencing that causes my GPS to time out, then my laptop blue screens and I lose my map, very annoying!]
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