We made a long hard dash from North Dakota to Illinois on June 22nd for what appeared to be a setup that had high tornado potential. Extreme instability, upper 70s dewpoints, strong wind shear and a warm frontal boundary would set the stage for a pretty decent tornado event. By late afternoon we arrived near Moline as storms finally got going along the boundary. Several supercells evolved along the warm front and several became tornadic. We intercepted two supercells that produced tornadoes, albeit weak tornadoes. Surprisingly there was only one tornado rated EF2 this day, which occurred well after dark. We chased along and north of I-80 from east of Moline to north of Peru, Illinois. Too many cell interactions made for a sloppy event, although the first tornadic supercell we intercepted near Hooppole had very pretty structure. I was sure this storm would drop a significant tornado. It produced a weak tornado that skipped along the ground for a couple minutes. As it continued east, it produced another tornado, a short lived multiple vortex tornado northwest of Peru. Later another supercell we saw in the dark produced the EF2 southeast of us. We couldn’t stay up with it. A long day, but a rewarding day for the tour!
April 19, 2011 Carlinville, IL Tornado
A pre-birthday present for myself brought me to a quick trip into Illinois for what appeared to be a significant tornado event. It did not disappoint! By mid afternoon, I was heading towards the Bowling Green, MO area and ended up too late for the supercell that produced 2 good tornadoes there. Heading east, I decided to get ahead of a cluster of supercells and play the southern storm.
As I was passing through Carlinville, a tornado warning was issued. Not long after heading east of of town, a funnel formed to my south. It dissipated quickly only to be replaced by another one. It also dissipated. As I stopped near the I-55, a strongly rotating mesocyclone formed, and quickly dropped a large tornado. This tornado did damage to homes, power lines, and trees and was rated EF3. Most of the shots here are video stills, as I didn’t have a chance to take still photos.