May 30 2008 Springfield Illinois Funnel Cloud

Mar 05, 2012

Wow 11 chases already by the end of May, I almost feel like a full timer! [i wish.] Home from my chasecation for only 2 days and already a local setup sends me out again…no complaints there.


Half day chase sends us a bit further south and west then our initial target. Intercepted 4 tornado warned storms…a new record for me in IL. All storms were HP bombs that went briefly tornadic but then became outflow dominant, shear was becoming more unidirectional as the day went on which couldn’t help maintain the supercell structures for too long. Missed the damn tornadoes again, started getting quite frustrated and thinking were doing something wrong with our interception ways….but did manage to catch a funnel near Springfield and some impressive lightning on the way home.


Tornadoes: 0

Largest hail: dime [.50″]

Highest wind: non severe outflow est 35mph.

Features: wall, shelf and funnel clouds.

Lessons learned: Illinois has some tricky roads. Dont be fooled by outflow portions of the storm and stick to the hook region.

Detailed account:

Original target was around El Paso just north of Bloomington. Crapvection complicated the setup [like it always does around here] and we knew we had to keep an eye for the clearing and the leftover boundaries, it became apparent these were setting up further south so that is where we went. Stopped off at McDonalds south of Bloomington, came out to a tornado warned storm linear bow echo type storm and the chase was on.

This storm quickly crossed the boundary and turned to mush so we headed back south to more supercellular structures. We had a feeling this storm was mush from the get go but since it was right in front of us we went after it anyways…

We make it down to around Springfield and get our next tornado warned storm there. Sirens go off, we pull over to observe and then what appears to be a brief funnel emerges…

Moments later a tornado was reported not far from where we were at. We never noted any ground circulation, but its possible it could have been there, Ive been waiting for an NWS survey to come out but one hasn’t yet, so that is leading me to believe nothing actually touched down.

Photos of the same storm:

Matt and Danny watching the storm, tho Dan turned around and caught me stealing a pic…

So we kept on this storm for a bit, which had duel mesos at one point and other impressive structure not seen often in Illinois. We decided to let this one go and head for storm 3 a little more SW.

Catch up with it and it too is tornado warned but quickly took on an outflowish appearance but it had a nice backlit core similar to the storms I see in the plains.

This storm had another awesome rain shaft, it was so close yet didn’t even put one drop on us, its really neat to see a wall of water swallow up everything…

We stayed with this storm for a bit as well…then bailed on it for another better looking storm with tornado reports coming out of it near Waverly, IL. We were a bit behind it but decided to make the last minute mad dash.

Entered the town of Pawnee just as sirens started blaring, this was an interesting storm to position on and from what I think happened, we ended up staying alongside the shelf/outflow region again…trying to avoid hail…rather than diving through and heading straight for the hook region which may have cost us another view of a tornado…tornadoes were confirmed with this storm and photographed but again…not for us…we did get on it late tho because we stuck with storm 3 a bit too long…

It really is a challenge…its not as easy as it may seem, you cant just drive up to a storm and expect to see something…theres strategy involved in the positioning techniques…each storm is different and must be handled differently…always a learning process.

On the way home we got treated to some nice CG lightning so I shot video from my dashboard…and listening to our reactions still cracks me up to see how fascinated we are by lightning.

That ends chase number 11. It looks like Ill be heading out in just 2 days for more action! I love the active weather patterns. Bring them all on!

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