Monday, December 27, 2010

Noisy New Years?

With a potent storm system entering the picture at the end of the week, my weather senses are beginning to tingle with the potential for some thunder in the mid-west! Here's an excerpt from my forecast discussion for northern Illinois:

"There should be a brief pause in the heavier precipitation later on
Thursday as we enter the warm sector of the system. That said,
abundant dense fog and some drizzle are still looking like a good bet.
Once the center of low pressure begins pushing into the Great Lakes,
dragging with it a sharp cold front we'll begin to see a return to heavier
precipitation during the day on Friday. The rate at which we can melt
off the snow pack on the ground (DeKalb currently has 13" of snow
on the ground) will determine just how warm we get ahead of this very
dynamic system. At this point, it appears that we should at least
reach the middle 40s by Friday evening. Remaining snow on the
ground, coupled with thick soupy cloud cover and heavy rains
could cap us off right there, but with such a potent system
it's not yet certain just how high we'll get. For that reason,
it remains unclear whether or not we'll see any thunderstorms
with the passage of the cold front. A vigorous system such
as this one certainly lends the possibility, but the amount
of instability that we actually achieve will be the deciding point.
Whether the sky is illuminated and the ground shakes is
up in the air, but a period or two of heavy rain is a safe bet."

Downstate in central Illinois, some thunder looks a little more likely as temperatures approach the middle 50s by Friday evening.

Below is the European solution for New Years Eve at 500 mb. In April, that'd have us talking tornadoes.

Also, in some of the holiday downtime, I took the liberty to go and visit a neglected chase day and share a few unseen photos. June 19 2009, Tia and I chased a supercell from right over Urbana into western Indiana. This was the day after my car was totaled driving to Iowa for a storm chase. I woke up knowing the chance for storms existed but frankly did not care. Tia drove me to the hospital to get some neck and back pain from the accident examined. Right as we got to the waiting room, I was texted by Mark Sefried informing me of a supercell heading right for us. The appointment went quickly, and Tia was up for a chase and was willing to use her car as the chase vehicle for the day so we were off. No data at all, not even a paper atlas. Just our eyes and a car. It ended up being a great chase, however! But, once we returned home, I was still not a happy camper after the situation in the 24 hours prior so I didn't do anything with the photos I took.

Oh yeah! I remember why. I missed documenting an apparent tornado that afternoon south of Danville, IL. Rapidly rotating wall cloud narrowed into a beautiful white funnel which apparently touched down just north of us. I didn't see anything on the ground though, and the ground contact could not have been more than a hundred feet from us as the funnel passed directly overhead. I realized when I returned home that the camera was on stand by. That's what I really wanted to see on top of the situation. Anyway, here are a few photos of the storm...

Early in the storms life cycle, just east of Urbana, IL.

Crossing the border near Cayuga, Indiana.

Weakening now:

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