Friday, April 22, 2011

4/15 chase photos, and today's plan

Bummed that we didn't get a surprise tornado, and then even more bummed that I sat out a day that produced significant tornadoes in central Illinois I have delayed in putting up the photos that I took on the chase to sw Illinois a week ago today.

Fellow meteorology student, Heather Brinkmann and I intercepted a minisupercell right on the surface low from Farmersville, IL north to Williamsville, IL, near the Springfield area. It produced one funnel cloud that lasted for several minutes, and was reported by law enforcement as a tornado. Never did follow up if it touched down or not, but from our distant vantage point it looked fairly harmless.

I'm going on a convenience chase solo this afternoon toward the Springfield and Jacksonville areas, perhaps further south toward St. Louis. I might not otherwise consider it being this far north, but being a holiday weekend I am planning on heading to Champaign to spend the weekend with the family anyway, so since I'm heading south for that I'm going to keep an eye on perhaps diving a little bit further west before heading home.

It doesn't scream an obvious tornado day, and the target area is currently being worked over by a large mcs. That usually goes one of two ways - either subsidence sets in, and holds strong all day leaving you under nothing but sunny skies, or elevated grunge. That, or subsidence clears things out letting the atmosphere destabilize before clearing out and allowing for thunderstorms to erupt in the wake of the mcs toward evening. We'll hope for option two. I'll likely play right on the warm front, perhaps re-enforced by an outflow boundary left by the current complex of thunderstorms. At this point, lets call my target along a line from Litchfield to Winchester in sw Illinois. This is probably further north than most are playing today, so we'll see how that works out.

Current plan is to get off my butt and actually leave DeKalb, and then evaluate things on the road. If it looks like there is no way in hell things will go once I'm at Bloomington, I'll just head se toward home. But, if it passes the Bloomington test, I'll drop to Springfield and do the same. Once I'm there, I'll figure out if I want to head toward the Winchester target to the west, or drop south to the Litchfield target. I'll do my best to update the blog as I travel using my new nifty droid. Well, new as in, I got it last year and am just now getting to use it for chasing purposes. The stupid thing was having a hell of a time remaining connected to my lap top on the chase last week. Ah well. I need to freaking leave.

Here are some photos... first one is a video capture of the stupid funnel cloud that tried, second being the supercell over Springfield, and last and certainly least, the supercell becoming an HP as it is overtaken by the bow echo behind it.

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