So I’m still not sure if the long-term plans for my chase results are blog posts or static pages. What I do know that my 13 May 2009 chase certainly doesn’t deserve anything more than a quick blog update. This being my first chase in over three years, I was a little apprehensive, and I spent most of the morning looking for my GPS and the battery for the video camera.
From the day three outlook, central Illinois was marked with a moderate risk area. By that morning, conditions were very ripe for a strong line of storms, with the possibility of some isolated cells in the late afternoon. The big concern was the clouds that didn’t seem to want to leave the area after weaker storms had moved through that morning.
In the early afternoon, Angie and I left for our initial target of Bloomington, IL. We figured it would be a little bit of a wait, so I made for the Panera on Veterans Parkway. I love Panera for their bagels and their free wi-fi. We sit there waiting and waiting for something to happen. All that happens is that my laptop battery gets lower and lower. I brought my power adapter in from the Jeep…and no electrons flowed. After trying several different outlets, I came to the conclusion that my battery life was nearly at an end.
During the last few minutes of battery I had left, I kept an eye on the ILX radar. An outflow boundary was moving east and I was hoping it would kick off some storms. With the wind fields, it wouldn’t take much to get anything that formed to start rotating. Right as the battery died, a few small cells starting popping up along a Peoria-Lincoln line. Since I wouldn’t be able to use Streets and Trips anymore, we made a run to WalMart to get a DeLorme atlas. Then we made a run to Borders to get the very last one they had.
Using my BlackBerry to get crude radar data, we followed Old Route 66 toward Pontiac. This turned out to be a very good choice, as the best looking cell was heading northeast from Peoria. After a few minutes, it got a severe thunderstorm warning. As we drove, I noticed it looked very high-based. After following it for a while, it looked crappy and high-based. By the time we reached Dwight, it was game over.
So we drove back home, with the requisite stop at The Hardees In Paxton With Sticky Floors. Despite the annoyance of a grunge bust, it was really nice to get out to central Illinois and chase again after more than three years. I also found out that Angie makes a good navigator, although on the next trip we might try switching seats.
I also have to give a shout-out to Rain-X. I heart Rain-X.
Also, my friend Drew managed to catch a tornado in Missouri. He might even update his website (http://www.prairiestormmedia.com/) soon.