November 22 2010 Illinois Severe Weather

Feb 27, 2012

Late November Action!

Awoke to a tornado watch with supercells developing along the IA/IL border. Left home to intercept any storm that would be possible. Noted decent structure with a wall cloud, some rotation, lots of thunder and some quarter size hail. Storm failed to produce and headed for home.
Tornadoes: 0
Hail: 1.00 [quarter with some larger ones on ground]
Wind: est 45mph thunderstorm gust.
Features: Wall cloud.
New Record: Latest chase in any year since I began.
Detailed Account:
IL is notorious for sleeper days. Today was a perfect example of that. I knew something was up when it was midnighton a late November night and the temperature was climbing into the mid 60s with dewpoints not far behind it. Alas though, I let the “official” forecast which called for barely a marginal setup get the better of me. I awoke at 1pm to a tornado watch out west with supercells developing along the IA/IL border. I saw these storms were moving quickly and that it would be a challenge, but decided to bolt out the door and see what I could do.
I raced down I-88 towards the line of now severe and tornado warned storms. I planned for an intercept along US-30 west of Hinckley. I am quite familiar with the area as I often travel through it on the way to my favorite fishing spot in IL [Lake Shabbona.]
Radar showing my position as I begin the chase with the storm still a good distance away.
Luckily traffic didn’t slow me down too much and I was able to make some good time. Upon arriving at the storm I positioned myself several miles downstream knowing it wouldn’t take long for the storm to reach me, and wanting to give myself as much time to view it as possible. I was greeted by a definite wall cloud beneath a growling meso with plenty of lightning.
At this point the storm was beginning to close in on my location so I began to move to stay ahead of it. Normally I would wait but given the fast storm speeds approaching 60 I knew I could not let the storm get on top of me or it would be game over.
Radar showing position, right in what appears to be a developing hook.
While moving to stay ahead of it I clipped the core with some quarter size hail. At one point there appeared to be some large stones on the ground even. The potential for hail was another part of this event that was over looked by many, so it was nice to see.
I managed to stay ahead of the storm for a few miles before reaching st route 47 where I opted to turn north and had another run in with part of the core, this time slow moving traffic would cause me to fall behind. About this time storms from the south began overtaking this storm and the tornado warning that had been issued was dropped. Checking the velocities on radar I noticed any appreciable rotation was gone, with some stronger returns embedded in the junk to my south I ditched this storm and headed home, sampling the southern storms to the south on my way getting nothing other than some gusty winds and blinding wind driven rain.
Radar showing tornado warning and me staying ahead of the storm on ILs awesome paved, gridded road network.
After my run in with the storms to the south I decided to head for home. It was at this time I began to see pictures and hear reports from the significant tornado near the Rockford area. It stung a bit but there was nothing I could do. The storm was already out of reach when I left my house. Had I attempted to go for it there was no way I could have made it there on time.
Map of the chase. This was probably the shortest chases of 2010. I was home by 530pm. Arrow shows location photos were taken.
It is late November. I will take what I can get! I knew this was going to be a difficult intercept before leaving my house and given everything I had working against me I am very pleased with how I played the day. I was able to get into the notch of the tornado warned storm and stay ahead of it for awhile despite the quick speeds. It just wasn’t able to produce, had it done so I would have had a view. Missing the tornado up north stings only a little bit but in reality it was all beyond my control. Had I chose to go after that storm I would have missed it anyways. The only thing I could have done differently was not turn my back on what I had a feeling would be a typical IL sleeper day.
SPC Storm Reports.

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