September 09, 2016 

Was sitting at work today around 1:00pm and got a text from Ryan letting me know that we were in a slight risk for storms and the tornado percentage was at 5%.   I had not been watching, so this came as a bit of a surprise.  

As I looked over the data, my initial target was Bond County, IL at around 6:00pm right on Interstate 70.  The HRRR model placed a nice supercell with tornadic potential in that area, but as I took a look at the radar, there were already storms firing at 2:00pm.  I decided to leave work to gather equipment and meet up with Ryan.  By 3:00, we were on the road. 

As the storms were already moving across the Mississippi River into Illinois to our south, I deviated from the original plan to head out Interstate 270 and went south to get on Interstate 64.  We were able to catch the lead storm at the Mid America Airport of what was now two storms.  We got off the Highway as we noticed some wall cloud activity under the base.

As the storm moved away, we got back on the Highway and moved east, but began taking notice of the storm behind us as well.  Both of the storms had a nice looking wall cloud.  The next stop, we had both wall clouds in view.

Front Storm
Front Storm Back Storm

As we moved again, the front storm was falling apart, but the back storm remained strong, so we turned our attention to watching that storm full time.  The wall cloud remained very prominent.  Every now and then it would grab our attention with a "finger" dropping out of the cloud.

Again, we scooted east as the storm got near.  We pulled off and parked in between a train track and the road.  The storm was extremely electrical at this point with numerous cloud to ground lightning strikes.  One of the bolts we believe struck within feet right behind us.  We nearly jumped out of our skin with the bolt and sound simultaneously.  That bolt activated the train crossing gate.

Shortly after this, the storm began to weaken and eventually lost the wall cloud.  We began hearing of the tornadoes about a 100-150 miles to the north of us.  We had no Tornado Warnings and only one Severe Thunderstorm Warning in our area.  We stopped for dinner in Mount Vernon, IL and then made our way home and enjoyed the electrical show in the storms that continued to work their way eastward as we crossed their path. 

241 Miles - 6 Hours

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

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