Saturday, April 26, 2008

Here are some photos and video from my chase yesterday in western Illinois. Below is a brief account that I posted on a chasing email list.

I played western Illinois as well. I sat around Havana hoping that storms forming in western Illinois would remain discrete. However obviously with the strong forcing of the cold front that wasn't going to happen. I figured this would be the only game so I got out ahead of the line in Schuyler county and intercepted south of Havana near Virginia.

Then had more or less given up the chase but decided to get back ahead of the storms to I took 67 (i believe?) southeast towards Springfield. I noticed a storm making it's way towards Springfield that had begun to flare up so rather than hitting 72 back home I detoured west towards Farmingdale. This cell was more discrete, but still obviously outflow dominant so I planned another wind intercept. Got to break in the new car with it's first hail stones, only around dime sized. Winds this time certainly reached severe levels so I figured the NWS could use some confirmation on their warnings and submitted a report of 60 mph winds and dime sized hail, which the SPI airport confirmed with their own 60 mph measured gust.

After this I made my way south through Springfield dealing with construction as I made my way back towards 72. Sure enough, the storm goes tornado warned near Lincoln, but was obviously just a quick spin up in rotation in the north end of the bowing storm. Either way, I wanted to have some more fun so I punched back through the ass end of the bow echo on 72 and was quickly back ahead. From then on I kept stopping for lightning photos and and then getting back ahead of it back to Champaign.

Actually stopped right by the Champaign airport and let the gust front hit me again where a 67 mph gust was measured about 200 yards away from where I was sitting. For whatever reason, I didn't really notice the severity of the winds this time. Was a good deal of tree damage on the south end of Champaign once I got back in town.

Anyway... here's a short video clip with terrible compression and some photos I took. The first being the Springfield storm, and the rest obviously lightning photos between Decatur and Champaign.

Fun day I suppose after I initially thought it would be a total bust, but am ready for some discrete supercells.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 10th Photos / Upcoming Week

It's been fairly quiet lately so I figured I'd throw up a few photos from the April 10th chase in western Illinois. Instability dropped off quickly as you moved into Illinois from Missouri so the storms quickly turned from rotating supercells to mushy garbage. The first photos were taken as the storms crossed into Illinois near Payson, Illinois southeast of Quincy. The final two were taken further north near Macomb as storms tried to line out.

It appears there will be chances for thunderstorms across the midwest here and there for the upcoming week. At this point nothing is looking very impressive however, and the models have been all over the place so I've not taken off work and set aside any time to chase at this point. If I had to guess now, I'd say Tuesday and Friday look like the best shots in Illinois' area with Friday being the best, but with the changing of the models and the lack of any really deep system I'm not at all impressed with the end of April.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Multimedia message

Multimedia message

Near payson illinois.

Multimedia message

Supercell in view near quincy

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Multimedia message

Not what you want to see hen merging onto the interstate.

Chase Forecast Update

Well it's never fun to wake up to a blanket of clouds, but the models continue to insist that the system will wrap up and that warm front will really surge north here after about 9 am. I still don't think that it will take a ton of instability to set off a low topped supercell or two and the RUC is lifting an area of nearly 1000 j/kg up to Interstate 72 by 21z. Low level shear is still bonkers in that area along the warm front so I can't pass up the chance that something does develop in that area beings how it would be about an hours drive for me. I'm not sacrificing much at all today so it's a no brainer to at least give it a shot.

I'll probably hang here in Champaign a little longer and let things get their act together, but plan to hit up a Springfield to Litchfield line on Interstate 55 by around the lunch hour, possibly a little further west towards Jacksonville depending on where initiation looks to occur. Interstate 55 will give a nice north and south option to adjust to the low track and warm front position. It's hard to believe how fast the models want to lift us into the warm sector, but they've been consistent so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt at this point. I guess I'd rather they be consistently wrong, rather than all over the place and making me throw a dart at the ole map.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tuesday Chase Forecast

I've held off on jinxing the setup by posting a forecast, but figure the night before I've waited long enough.

We're dealing with a low cape/high shear setup tomorrow. I've still got two possible targets in mind. A northern target which would basically hug the track of the surface low right on the warm front. With low instability, this may be just enough to kick off robust convection. Any deep convection that forms in that area will rotate given the insane amounts of low level wind shear that will be present in the area. The second area I had pondered is further south where better instability may exist, but once you start getting too far away from the surface low the winds begin veering and that amazing turning is gone and you'll be left with an outflow dominant mess.

Most likely wherever the low tracks, I will be. At this point I'm thinking about heading towards the Springfield to Litchfield area along Interstate 55 to await initiation and then commence the trek back northeast. Being along Interstate 55 should allow easy N-S adjustments should the track of the low change from current forecasts.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Severe Weather This Week?

The models continue to show the possibility of several severe weather episodes across the midwest and the southern plains for the week of April 6-12th. Most noteworthy in the Mississippi Valley are Tuesday and Thursday. While Thursday is still some distance off and the models could change considerably between now and then, the strong system has been on the models the entire time, and has not changed much run to run so I'm starting to buy into a possible severe weather outbreak scenario on the 10th. Tuesday is much closer, but hasn't been quite as concrete on the models. However, it is also much closer and has shown stability over the past few runs.

The GFS has been consistent in swinging an approx. 998-1002 mb low through Illinois during the day on Tuesday. Airmass recovery ahead of the system will be key in determining if we see robust convection or a heavy rain event. At this point, areas that seem most likely to destabilize sufficiently for severe weather lie across southeastern Missouri into the southern half of Illinois.

Thursday is a little harder to pinpoint as it seems it could be a much more widespread event. However, at this time anyone in eastern Iowa or Missouri, all over Illinois and parts of the lower Ohio River Valley should be keeping an eye on this one. ECMWF now wanting to deepen a 988 mb low over Minnesota and Iowa on Thursday with a wide open Gulf of Mexico creating a widespread severe weather scenario.

As stated though earlier, this event is still a good 5 days out so I'm not sold. The consistency has me concerned though. For now, I'm keeping my attention on Tuesday as it looks like our best bet for severe weather since the early January outbreak this year. (feels weird to reference January as the most recent severe weather outbreak locally)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Multimedia message

Neat roll clouds near muscatene iowa. Subpar end to a subpar chase