March 30, 2017  

After the trip to Southwest Missouri yesterday, the parameters were not as good for the storm chase in our own back yard in Western Illinois.  Thought long and hard about not even going out, but since Ryan was off, we decided to take the chance.  It was going to be an early show with storms approaching in the late morning.  We watched the radar from the living room as the storms approached.  As they got right on the doorstep, we headed out the door and got across the Mississippi River into Illinois.  We found an open spot on the eastern edge of the Mississippi River valley and watched the multiple cells as they came over the river.  Several cells stuck out as being a bit stronger than the others, so our focus was on them.  We eventually decided to stay in front of the cells and move up I-55 as the cells northwest of us seemed to hold the most potential.  We got off at the Hamel, Illinois, Highway 140 exit and watched the storms for a few minutes.

To keep in front on the storms, we moved a bit further north to get in a better position on the storm with the best potential.  We moved up I-55 to the Highway 4 exit and moved to a spot where we had a clear view of everything to the west.  It was here that we saw the best opportunity with a few more lightning bolts and a couple lowerings and at one point, a short, very narrow funnel came down out of the cloud.  Only lasted for a few seconds.  In playback of the video at a higher speed, you could see some rotation that matched what we were seeing on the radar.

We continued to move north on Highway 4 to Stanton, Illinois and realized we needed to work our way east again.  Got back to I-55.  At this point storms to the west were diminishing, so the only opportunity left were a few storms out in front of this line that was now moving on top of us.  A quick look at the map let us know the only reasonable way to attack the rest of the storms was to go north to the Litchfield, Illinois exit, Highway 16 then and move east to Hillsboro, Illinois.  From there, we'd move south again on Highway 127.  The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful as the clouds showed nothing of interest and passing through the cells were nothing more than a big rain event.

3.5 Hours  -  145 Miles

Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.

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