Case Study: June 22nd, 2016: Deja Vu Part Two

Can lightning hit the same spot twice? What are the odds that a tornado hits your house one time in your lifetime? What about twice? The weather is one giant puzzle with patterns that meteorologists can sometimes decipher. What happens when a familiar pattern resurfaces? The event of June 22nd, 2016 across northern and central Illinois can best be described as deja vu part two. A hybrid of two significant events in our history. The event itself evolved like June 5th, 2010, but followed virtually the same paths as June 22nd, 2015. No, that is not a typo. Exactly one year to the date another severe weather outbreak struck the state of Illinois. This one was every bit as significant as it’s aforementioned relatives.

 

Fast Facts:

*18 tornadoes touched down across northern and central Illinois

*Top twenty tornado event in state history (#16 on the all time list)

*No deaths occurred with this outbreak

*Same areas affected by this event as the one a year prior

*2 EF-2 tornadoes, 9 EF-1 tornadoes, 7 EF-0 tornadoes

*I-55 corridor hit hard once again

The Forecast: 

Capture

Severe weather and June have become synonymous across the state of Illinois. Recently June has become Illinois’ top month for reported tornadoes. Events like June 5th, 2010 and June 22nd, 2015 have cemented their places into Illinois tornado infamy. As the forecast for June 22nd, 2016 was becoming more clear, it appeared that it would also join the ranks of Illinois infamy.  For days it looked like portions of the state would be under the gun for severe weather. As a forecaster, I zeroed in on recent history and one date came to mind. June 5th, 2010. Synoptically it had some differences, but on the mesoscale there were a ton of similarities. We’ll take a step by step look at some of the features that evolved to make this event noteworthy.

20160622h323z 20160622h523z 20160622h8523z 20160622mslp23zThese images (click to enlarge) are depicting the vast amount of wind shear in the environment across northern and central Illinois. From left to right we see the H3, H5, H85, and surface flow. One thing to note just on models alone is the amount of directional shear present. Most forecasters that don’t have too much experience with northwest flow events will be quick to write off southerly surface flow and southwest h85 winds. They see this and my think “linear”, “upscale growth”, “unidirectional.” Taking a look at the soundings from ILX and DVN, we clearly see a primed environment for severe weather. (below)

DVN ILXWhile CAPE values were not overly impressive, the turning in wind with height across both balloon sites depict a volatile environment for rotating updrafts. Enough dry air was working into the mid levels which is a good thing and there was bit of a cap. Some caveats with the system was the lack of oppressive instability across northern Illinois. Early morning thunderstorms moved across the area and acted to stabilize the atmosphere for a good amount of the day.

20160622mlc23z 20160622muc23z 20160622sbc23z 2016062203km23zThemodynamically speaking, it’s about as classic as it gets when looking for a sharp instability gradient and axis for supercells to ride along. Storms would develop on the northern edge of the instability axis and ride southeast along the effective warm front. Taking a look below at a few critical values that I look for when forecasting, we see an impressive environment conducive for violent thunderstorms.

20160622lllr23z 20160622mllr23z 20160622srh23z 20160622stp23zWe see on the far left a plot of low level lapse rates at 23z (6:00 P.M). This is when the first discernible echos popped up on radar. Initially these were not surface based due to the relatively stable low level lapse rates at around 6.0. These storms started producing hail, but didn’t have enough low level instability at the time. If you look at the next image, you will see a steep area of near 8.5 in the mid levels. When better lapse rates became realized at the surface, the effective storm relative helicity (third image) was very conducive to tornadoes across northern and central Illinois. The last image is a plot of the “significant tornado parameter” which show very high values along and south of the warm front. This was nearly juxtaposed with the majority of tornado reports. The last image below shows 50-60 kt bulk shear across the region. When you have April level shear combined with June level instability, you are primed for a severe weather event that will be talked about for years to come.

20160622bs23z

Forecasting Timeline:

June 19th, 4:00 A.M. – The Storm Prediction Center highlights northern and central Illinois under a risk for severe thunderstorms as early as Sunday morning. Cite all weather hazards possible.day4prob_20160619_1200

June 20th, 3:30 A.M. – The Storm Prediction Center upgrades most of northern and central Illinois to an enhanced risk on their day three outlook. Cite severe weather outbreak possible with all hazards possible.day3otlk_20160620_0730_prt

June 21st, 1:00 A,M. & 12:30 P.M. – The Storm Prediction Center upgrades northern and central Illinois to a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms. A day two moderate is rare across the region and concern grows for violent supercells with tornadoes, high winds, and hail being the threats.day2otlk_20160621_1730_prt

June 21st, 12:00 P.M. – The National Weather Service in Chicago and Illinois Storm Chasers issue threat updates regarding the situation for the evening of the 22nd.

LOTbrief3 LOTbrief2 LOTBrief1 DNEALDay3

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 22nd, 1:00 A.M. & 3:00 P.M. – Storm Prediction Center continues moderate risk across the region with 10% hatched tornado probabilities. This means that the area is primed for supercells and tornadoes with a few significant tornadoes possible across the area.day1probotlk_20160622_2000_torn_prt

June 22nd, 12:05 P.M. – The National Weather Service office in Chicago issues a graphic outlining the significant risk that the area will be under and highlights the specific threat level.wxstory

Event Timeline:

June 22nd, 1:00 P.M. – Showers and thunderstorms have developed and moved across northern Illinois. This acts to stabilize the atmosphere and reinforce the warm front to the I-80 corridor. These thunderstorms played a key factor in limiting the overall severe threat north of I 88 and east of I 39. While thunderstorms did develop later on, the overall severe threat was much lower than areas to the south and west. Photo credit below: Kelly Standfield (top) Tracey Rees (bottom)

June 22nd, 3:39 P.M. – The Storm Prediction Center has issued a mesoscale discussion for all of northern Illinois highlighting the probable issuance of a tornado watch. The talk of a few stronger tornadoes is noted.

June 22nd, 5:00 P.M. – Activity has been slow to develop across the region. A strato-cumulus deck has evolved over much of the region and some doubt has seeped into the minds of the locals whether or not a severe weather event will be likely this evening. On radar some festering showers signal a slowly evolving uptick in convection across eastern Iowa.

June 22nd, 6:00 P.M. – Radar echoes are rapidly deepening across eastern Iowa and northern Illinois. No watch has been issued after nearly two and a half hours since the mesoscale discussion. Activity has been slow to develop, a look at mesoscale analysis shows low level lapse rates barely up to 6.0. This says a stable boundary layer is still present. 

June 22nd, 6:09 P.M. – Tornado watch #286 has been issued across northern and central Illinois until 1:00 A.M. CDT. Strong tornadoes mentioned as well as eventual upscale growth.

June 22nd, 6:25 P.M – DVN issues A STRONG THUNDERSTORM WILL AFFECT LOCATIONS NEAR THE WAPSIPINICON RIVER AND WHITESIDE COUNTY for Clinton, Scott [IA] and Rock Island, Whiteside [IL] till 7:00 PM CDT

June 22nd, 6:28 P.M. – Storm Chaser Joel Wright pulls up to Tampico, IL and snaps a photo of the developing base of the supercell as it was off to his northwest (photo below) 

June 22nd, 6:30 P.M. –  DVN issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [wind: 60 MPH, hail: 1.00 IN] for Whiteside [IL] till 7:30 PM CDT

June 22nd, 6:34 P.M. – LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [tornado: POSSIBLE, wind: 70 MPH, hail: <.75 IN] for Lee [IL] 

June 22nd, 6:36 P.M. – Mid-level rotation is increasing with supercell over Lee County. Storm is very near Dixon and has recently gained severe characteristics for wind. Storm spotters and chasers are moving into positions as this storm takes an eerily similar path to a year ago.

June 22nd, 6:38 P.M. – National Weather Service Chicago issues mesoscale discussion (below)

.MESOSCALE DISCUSSION...
638 PM CDT

Storms are showing a quick upward progression early this evening
across northwest/north central Illinois and expect that trend to
continue. Mode has already appeared supercellular as storms ride a
sharp wind shift boundary that is becoming the dominant warm
front from near Dixon to the far southwest Chicago metro at
present. Given the growth of the storms, it is likely they are
becoming rooted lower and a surface-based threat may develop. In
the next hour, just based on radar trends, one of two of the
storms across Lee and Whiteside Counties may become a more
dominant supercell with a tornado threat. Environmental
parameters and the rate they are changing are at the level of
concern for a significant tornado threat along this corridor of
Lee County into northern LaSalle County and southern DeKalb
County.

Given the amount of storms that have already fired, it is possible
multi-cell clusters may try to develop somewhat quickly. That
said, the tornado threat will remain further east given an
increasing low-level jet...strong helicity...and high dew point
air keeping low-level CAPE present as well as low LCLs.

MTF


June 22nd, 6:47 P.M. – Mid-level rotation has increased in the Whiteside County supercell as it passes near Prophetstown. The storm is severe warned, but have received no reports of rotation or significant wind/hail.

June 22nd, 6:55 P.M. – Supercell is rapidly evolving near Tampico in southeastern Whiteside County. Radar shows an astounding bounded weak echo region and weak rotation. Video below from Winston Wells shows how this supercell has evolved in both definition as well as rotation!

June 22nd, 6:56 P.M. – Storm Chaser Joel Wright finishes his time lapse of the supercell as it approaches his location near Tampico. Video below.

June 22nd, 7:00 P.M. – Several supercells have formed across northern and northwest Illinois. A couple of severe thunderstorm warnings, a handful of rotating wall cloud reports, but no tornadoes. As the low level jet kicks in and the storms latch onto the warm front, the supercell quickly begin to show low level rotation.

June 22nd, 7:08 P.M. – Storm Chaser Taylor Wright documents the first tornado from the day as the rotation near Amboy tightened up and planted a brief multiple vortex tornado. Very few chasers witnessed this tornado. The tornado was reported into the National Weather Service Chicago office. Video below.

*Note – This tornado has not been surveyed and was not rated so it will not be counted in the official records at this time

June 22nd, 7:16 P.M. – NWS Chicago issues the first tornado warning of the day for Lee County until 7:45 P.M. AT 715 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR AMBOY…OR 11 MILES EAST OF WALTON…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:19 P.M. – An EF-1 tornado touches down 1.1 miles west-northwest of West Brooklyn. Video below from JWSevereWeather

June 22nd, 7:21 P.M. –  LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: <.75 IN] for Lee [IL] till 7:45 PM CDT …AT 721 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED 8 MILES EAST OF AMBOY…OR 10 MILES NORTH OF MENDOTA…MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH.

June 22nd. 7:27 P.M. – High end EF-1 tornado continues to move along Shaw Road northeast of West Brooklyn, storm chaser Max Olson snapped the picture of the tornado below at this time.

June 22nd, 7:29 P.M. –  LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 0.00 IN] for De Kalb, La Salle, Lee [IL] till 8:15 PM CDT …AT 729 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED 7 MILES WEST OF PAW PAW…OR 10 MILES NORTH OF MENDOTA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:30 P.M. – DVN issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [wind: <50 MPH, hail: 1.25 IN] for Henry [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 7:31 P.M. – Satellite tornado touches down northwest of Compton. Two tornadoes in progress at once in Lee County. Photo credit: Ethan Schisler 

June 22nd, 7:32 P.M. – Satellite tornado lifts 1.8 miles northeast of West Brooklyn

June 22nd, 7:33 P.M. – Storm spotters report a funnel cloud near Ohio in Bureau County

June 22nd, 7:34 P.M. – DVN issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau [IL] till 8:00 PM CDT …AT 733 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 7  MILES WEST OF LA MOILLE…OR 11 MILES SOUTH OF WALTON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:35 P.M. – West Brooklyn tornado dissipates 2.6 east-northeast of West Brooklyn. Tornado was rated EF-1 with 110 MPH winds and a 4.1 mile long path, max width 300 yards.

June 22nd, 7:38 P.M. – DVN issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau, Whiteside [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT …AT 738 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HOOPPOLE…OR 17 MILES SOUTH OF MORRISON… MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH. 

June 22nd, 7:40 P.M. – An EF-0 tornado touched down near La Moille in Bureau County. Photo below by Robin Tanamachi

June 22nd, 7:43 P.M. – La Moille EF-0 tornado lifts. Tornado was on the ground for half a mile was 25 yards wide.

June 22nd, 7:48 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: <.75 IN] for De Kalb, La Salle, Lee [IL] till 8:15 PM CDT …AT 747 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED SOUTH OF PAW PAW…OR 9 MILES SOUTHWEST OF SHABBONA…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:51 P.M. – LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [tornado: POSSIBLE, wind: 70 MPH, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 7:52 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT …AT 752 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HOOPPOLE…OR 17 MILES SOUTH OF ROCK FALLS…MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 30 MPH

June 22nd, 7:56 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: <.75 IN] for Henry [IL] till 8:15 PM CDT …AT 754 PM CDT…THE PUBLIC REPORTED TWO FUNNEL CLOUDS EAST OF HOOPPOLE…OR 19 MILES NORTH OF KEWANEE…MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:58 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT …AT 757 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR THOMAS…OR 18 MILES NORTHWEST OF PRINCETON… MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:58 P.M. –  LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: <.75 IN] for De Kalb, La Salle, Lee [IL] till 8:15 PM CDT …AT 757 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER EARLVILLE…OR 9 MILES SOUTH OF SHABBONA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH. 

June 22nd, 7:58 P.M. – Earlville EF-1 tornado touches down 0.7 northeast of Earlville. Video below by Alec Scholten

June 22nd, 7:59 P.M. – Second Earlville tornado touches down briefly, an EF-0 with 80 MPH winds.

June 22nd, 8:00 P.M. – LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:45 PM CDT …AT 759 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR LA MOILLE…OR NEAR MENDOTA…MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH. 

June 22nd, 8:01 P.M. –

.MESOSCALE DISCUSSION...
800 PM CDT

Localized tornado threat along the warm front continues with
supercell storms training along or near this feature from just
east of the Quad Cities to southern DeKalb County/northern LaSalle
County. With the storm that had tracked now into far southwestern
DeKalb / far northern LaSalle County we have received multiple
reports of a tornado with /most recent north of Earlville/ and
has had a more persistent mesocyclone with it. This storm has
taken on a much more HP nature and spotter reports have confirmed
rain-wrapped nature of this low-level mesocyclone.

Other supercell storms to the west-southwest have shown signs of
tornado producers as well. Overall the warm sector winds have
become a bit less gusty and the boundary appears to have become
stationary across northern LaSalle County toward Morris. With
increasing flow on the LOT VWP /25 kt now at 2000 ft/ and
continued turning profiles along the boundary...the tornado
potential should continue in this corridor near the boundary 
especially if the storms can maintain a semi-discrete mode.
Parameters remain in place for the possibility of a briefly
stronger tornado.

Further to the north, elevated storms have shown an increase and
are approaching the heart of the Chicago area. These look to move
into the city starting 8:25-8:50 pm. Some of these storms are
starting to congeal and may bring gradually increasing wind gust
potential higher than 35 mph. Certainly lightning and heavy
downpours look like a given.

MTF

June 22nd, 8:02 P.M. – Third Earlville tornado touches down near town. Rated EF-1 with 95 MPH winds.

June 22nd, 8:04 P.M. – An EF-0 tornado touches down near Manilus. This tornado was documented by storm chasers and lasted only a few minutes. Photos below by Andrew Pritchard and Victor Gensini

June 22nd, 8:05 P.M. –  LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for De Kalb, La Salle [IL] till 9:00 PM CDT …AT 804 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER EARLVILLE…OR 10 MILES SOUTH OF SHABBONA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH

June 22nd, 8:07 P.M. – Tornado #1 and #3 from Earlville have both lifted at this time. Widespread wind damage is evident around the mesocyclone of this supercell.

June 22nd, 8:10 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:45 PM CDT …AT 809 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR TROY GROVE…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:11 P.M. – An EF-1 tornado touches down near Troy Grove in La Salle County. Tornado lasted one minute and had winds up to 110 MPH. Videos below of the supercell approaching Troy Grove with intense lightning and tornado

June 22nd, 8:11 P.M. –  LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [wind: 60 MPH, hail: 0.75 IN] for Cook, DuPage [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 8:12 P.M. – Troy Grove tornado lifts.

June 22nd, 8:17 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 9:00 PM CDT …AT 816 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED JUST SOUTH OF LELAND…OR 7 MILES NORTHWEST OF SERENA…MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH. 

June 22nd, 8:19 P.M, –  DVN issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 0.00 IN] for Bureau, Putnam [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT …AT 817 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR WALNUT…OR 8 MILES NORTHWEST OF PRINCETON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:21 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:45 PM CDT …AT 820 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED JUST EAST OF TROY GROVE…OR 8 MILES NORTHEAST OF LA SALLE… MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 25 MPH. THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING A TORNADO.

June 22nd, 8:22 P.M. – Sheridan EF-1 tornado touches down and does damage to several farmsteads.

June 22nd, 8:26 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau, Putnam [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT …AT 824 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR PRINCETON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:27 P.M. – Sheridan tornado dissipates after a 1.7 mile long path. Max width 250 yards.

June 22nd, 8:28 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 9:00 PM CDT …AT 826 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NORTHWEST OF SHERIDAN…OR NEAR SERENA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH. 

June 22nd, 8:31 P.M. –  LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:45 PM CDT …AT 830 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 1 MILE EAST OF TROY GROVE..OR 8 MILES NORTHWEST OF OTTAWA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:33 P.M. – An EF-1 tornado touched down northwest of Ottawa. This tornado was very brief, with winds to 95 MPH and a tenth of a mile long path.

June 22nd, 8:33 P.M. – An EF-0 tornado touches down near Malden and lasts half a mile with a 100 yard wide path

June 22nd, 8:34 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau, Putnam [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT …AT 833 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR PRINCETON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:35 P.M. – LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [tornado: POSSIBLE, wind: 60 MPH, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 8:37 P.M. – Malden tornado lifts and dissipates.

June 22nd, 8:38 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 9:00 PM CDT …AT 838 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER SHERIDAN…OR NEAR SERENA…MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 20 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:43 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau, Putnam [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT …AT 841 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR LADD…OR 7 MILES EAST OF PRINCETON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:47 P.M. – LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [wind: 60 MPH, hail: 1.00 IN] for Cook, DuPage [IL] and Lake [IN] till 9:45 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 8:48 P.M. – An EF-1 tornado developed near Ottawa and traveled 4.5 miles and had wind speeds of 90 MPH.

 

 

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Case Study: November 17th, 2013: A Perfect Setup For Disaster

November 17th, 2013: A day that resonates with so many of us across the great state of Illinois. Typically dates that are remembered in the weather world are not ones that bring on a positive connotation. With this paper I plan on giving an overview of the event, an in depth look at the meteorology behind it, a timeline of events, and also the efforts to restore the hardest hit areas back to normalcy. This type of severe weather episode could be considered a “once in a career” type event for a local forecaster. What made it so unusual was not only the time of year it occurred, but the time of day that many of the tornadoes happened. One listen to the live weather overview [above] will really help you understand how volatile the situation really was.

Some fast facts about the outbreak below:

  • 4th largest outbreak in Illinois history
  • Most tornadoes in the month of November in Illinois history
  • Previous record was 8 in 1965
  • First violent November tornadoes in Illinois since 1885
  • Longest track tornado was 46.2 (Tornado #2)
  • 8 deaths and 181 injuries
  • 10 tornadoes had tracks of 10 miles or more
  • Most severe weather was out of the region by 3 P.M.

day48prob_20131114_1200A bit of a brief overview of the weather leading up to November 17th. Illinois had been a little colder than average in the days leading up to the outbreak. I remember temperatures were well below freezing with even some snow flurries observed preceding this monster trough. To the average person, it was the signs of an early winter. Meanwhile, forecasters were closely watching the spread of weather models for an incoming system progged to impact the Great Lakes over the weekend. Local forecasts showed a warming trend and many people would grow excited at the prospects of a late Indian Summer. While the general public was preparing to enjoy a warm weekend, weather forecasters were fearing the potential for a late season severe weather outbreak. The Storm Prediction Center was one of those concerned parties and placed most of Illinois under a risk for severe thunderstorms four days out.

day3otlk_20131115_0830_prtAs time wore on and we transitioned into Friday, a slight risk had been placed over the Eastern half of Illinois. Still, the weather conditions present across Illinois were not what one would expect preceding an outbreak. From a personal standpoint, I was extremely concerned about the risk for severe weather dating back to Monday or Tuesday [November 12th]. Many times these systems display themselves on weather models, but often fizzle out and end up being a non-event. Many amateur forecasters will hype these events well in advance and end up looking foolish when they do not verify. I tried to be careful with my wording, but I mentioned the potential for some bad weather impacting our area. The next picture below has to be the most ominous “mid to long range” forecast I have given.

Capture

 

day2otlk_20131116_1730_prtBy Saturday it was growing increasingly likely that a major severe weather episode was likely across at least half of the state. Not only would damaging winds be likely, but the increasing potential for strong, long track, and damaging tornadoes.  The Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms with the mention of a possible upgrade to high risk. Strong warm air advection was already occurring and there seemed to be a change in the air. No longer was there this cold and wintry feel, but a strong southerly gale ushered in a several degree temperature spike by late night Saturday. As the strong warm front passed through, it sparked a few thunderstorms during the overnight hours. These storms brought heavy rain, hail, and frequent lightning but not much in the way of severe weather. Normally a forecaster would be concerned with these early morning storms. They have a tendency to throw a giant wrench in the going forecast for later in the day. Below are some posts I made leading up to the event.

Capture2 Capture3 Capture4 Capture5From a meteorological stand point it’s hard to find a more classic tornado outbreak for Northern and Central Illinois. Impressive kinematics are common with fall systems, but what makes this so odd was the off the chart thermodynamics. Generally transitional season storms have an abundance of shear but not much instability. When you get a power system with shear and instability, that’s when all the red flags are raised. By early morning the writing was on the wall proverbially speaking. The Storm Prediction Center had upgraded much of the area to a high risk, previous night convection had cleared the area, and skies were mainly clear. A disastrous set of ingredients were about to align themselves across our beautiful prairies.

17_500mb 17_850mb 17_ttd 17_300mbMesoscale and upper air analysis of the kinematic fields revealed an incredibly sheared environment not only favorable for damaging winds, but also tornadoes. A negatively-tilted trough was digging into the Midwest by morning under an amplified pattern. When speaking in meteorological terms…. a pattern can either be zonal or amplified. In a zonal flow, the 500 MB flow is generally characterized by ripples while amplified flow by waves. November 17th’s system originated in an amplified flow with a negative tilt to the trough axis. Negative tilt systems generally have the axis in a northwest to southeast orientation and suggest a stronger storm system. Looking at the 300 MB flow, we can see some great divergence occurring across Northern Illinois by mid morning. Divergence allows the air to rise. Toward the surface, impressive low level wind shear was present with deep layer shear closing in on 60 knots. Low level wind shear was upwards of 35-40 knots. I was a bit surprised at the lack of directional shear. If I could find one caveat with the set up, it would be the areas with the strongest tornadoes lacked the real backed winds you would expect to see in a normal tornado outbreak. Nevertheless anytime you get high amounts of bulk shear, SRH, plus the presence of a boundary  in advance of a power storm system; troubles a brewin’.

16_ehi3 17_lllr 17_sbcp 17_storThermodynamically speaking, this system would be more reminiscent of a late spring/early summer type event over a late fall. By mid-morning, surface based convective available potential energy values [SBCAPE] were nearing 2,000 J/KG which signifies a moderately unstable atmosphere. Low level lapse rates were also steep. EHI or energy helicity index values were at 5 and 6. By definition, EHI values are the combination of CAPE and storm relative helicity values. When you have values 4 or above the potential for violent tornadoes exist. Significant tornado values were also focused across Central Illinois.

  • Negatively tilted trough
  • Strong divergence
  • 35-40 kt of low level shear
  • SRH of 400-600
  • 60 kt bulk shear
  • 2,000 J/KG SBCAPE
  • EHI values of 5-6
  • LCL heights under 750M
  • High Shear/Moderately Unstable

The stage was set, now let’s take an in depth look of what actually happened:

7:00 A.M.: A high risk of severe thunderstorms was issued at the 13z update

A high risk of severe thunderstorms was issued at the 13z update

7:47 A.M.: Just before 8:00 A.M. the Storm Prediction Center released MD 2010 acknowledging the increasing threat for tornadoes across Illinois.

At 7:47 A.M. the SPC issued MCD 2010 highlighting the increasing risk for tornadoes across a huge portion of Illinois

 

8:39 A.M.: A particularly dangerous situation tornado watch is issued for most of Illinois until 4:00 P.M.

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9:36 A.M.: LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Boone, McHenry [IL] till 10:15 AM CST …AT 933 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 5 MILES NORTHEAST OF BELVIDERE…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH.

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9:50 A.M.: TOR ISSUED FOR NW MCHENRY COUNTY DUE TO BRIEF RAPID TIGHTENING OF THE ROTATION ALOFT NE OF BELVIDERE ON THE 1533Z SCAN. ENVIRONMENT REMAINS EXTREMELY CONDUCIVE FOR TORNADOES AND HAD ALREADY GOTTEN CONFIRMED ROTATION AND WALL CLOUD WITH SPOTTER SUBMITTED PHOTO WITH OTHER REPORTS OF FUNNELS AS WELL. ROTATION HAS SINCE WEAKENED BUT THE THREAT FOR RAPID INTENSIFICATION OF ROTATION IN THESE STORMS REMAINS HIGH. 

10:01 A.M.: ILX issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [wind: 70 MPH, hail: 1.00 IN] for Fulton, Knox, Peoria [IL] till 10:45 AM CST *This storm would be the one to impact Washington*

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10:04 A.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS LOT: 3 W Hebron [Mchenry Co, IL] trained spotter reports FUNNEL CLOUD at 09:50 AM CST

10:17 A.M.:  LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 0.00 IN] for McHenry [IL] till 11:00 AM CST …AT 1013 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES SOUTH OF CAPRON…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH.

radar310:30 A.M.: Trained spotter reporting funnel cloud approx. 1/2 mile east of Rte 14 & Oak Grove in Harvard moving NNE. Funnel half way to ground

10:42 A.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Logan, Mason, Menard, Sangamon [IL] till 11:15 AM CST …AT 1039 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR ASHLAND…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

radar410:50 A.M.: Storm Prediction Center issues MD 2013 highlighting increasing risk for damaging tornadoes

mcd2013

10:50 A.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford [IL] till 11:15 AM CST …AT 1049 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR PEKIN…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

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10:58 A.M.: AT 1058 AM CST…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR EAST PEORIA… AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH

11:00 A.M.: Multiple damage reports have come in from Pekin.

11:02 A.M.: Spotter reports “FUNNEL BACK IN CLOUDS. TIGHT ROTATION IN CLOUDS AT COLE HOLLOW AND MUELLER, HEADED TOWARDS WASHINGTON IL AT 35 MPH”

11:04 A.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS ILX: 3 NW Morton [Tazewell Co, IL] emergency mngr reports TORNADO at 11:04 AM CST — at intersection of i-74 and i-474

Just after 11 A.M. TORNADO BEGINS TO IMPACT WASHINGTON

11:06 A.M.: ILX continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 0.00 IN] for Tazewell, Woodford [IL] till 11:15 AM CST …AT 1103 AM CST…A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR WASHINGTON…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

11:11 A.M.: LSX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Macoupin, Montgomery [IL] till 11:30 AM CST …AT 1106 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR PALMYRA…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.radar6

11:12 A.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 0.00 IN] for Marshall, Tazewell, Woodford [IL] till 11:45 AM CST …AT 1107 AM CST…A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR WASHINGTON…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.

LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle, Livingston [IL] till 12:00 PM CST …AT 1107 AM CST…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR WASHINGTON… AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

radar711:12 A.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Christian, Sangamon [IL]
till 11:45 AM CST …AT 1107 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR PALMYRA…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

radar811:12 A.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS ILX: 3 WNW Morton [Tazewell Co, IL] broadcast media reports TORNADO at 11:03 AM CST — roof damage to week-tv

11:13 A.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS ILX: 4 S Metamora [Tazewell Co, IL] emergency mngr reports TORNADO at 11:11 AM CST — large tornado

11:20 P.M.: Violent tornado passes just west of Roanoke, documented by Adam Lucio – Aerostorms

11:22 A.M.: LSX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Macoupin, Montgomery [IL] till 11:45 AM CST …AT 1119 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR CARLINVILLE…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

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ILX continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Marshall, Woodford [IL] till 11:45 AM CST …AT 1117 AM CST…A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR ROANOKE…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.

11:24 A.M.: LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle, Livingston [IL] till 12:00 PM CST …AT 1117 AM CST…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR METAMORA…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

Video of tornado crossing near Benson, Illinois just before 11:30 A.M.

Aftermath images of Washington now flooding into social media

tornadodamage

Tornado_damage_near_Washington_Illinois_20131117180911_320_240 article-0-197E878300000578-579_964x634 ap_Tornado_ac_131117.jpg_16x9_992 1384830078017-inidc5-6cridit38ee138to0f8a-original

 

 

 

 

 

11:29 A.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Christian, Macon [IL] till 12:00 PM CST …AT 1126 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR KINCAID…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.

radar1011:31 A.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Logan, McLean, Tazewell [IL] till 12:00 PM CST …AT 1126 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HARTSBURG…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

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11:32 A.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS ILX: Washington [Tazewell Co, IL] public reports TORNADO at 11:05 AM CST — numerous homes damaged

11:33 A.M.: LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Grundy, La Salle, Livingston [IL] till 12:15 PM CST …AT 1128 AM CST…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED 5 MILES WEST OF MINONK…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH. Video below is of tornado near Minonk.

11:34 A.M.: ILX continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Christian, Sangamon [IL] till 11:45 AM CST …AT 1131 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES NORTH OF PAWNEE…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

11:39 A.M.:  LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle, Livingston [IL] till 12:00 PM CST …AT 1138 AM CST…A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR DANA…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH. Below storm chasers document a large rain wrapped tornado near Dana while another satellite tornado forms

11:43 A.M.: LSX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Montgomery [IL] till 12:00 PM CST …AT 1139 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR RAYMOND…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.

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Local Storm Report by NWS LOT: Dana [La Salle Co, IL] trained spotter reports TORNADO at 11:36 AM CST — tornado on the ground north of the woodford – lasalle county line. power flashes occurring.

11:46 A.M.: ILX continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Logan, McLean, Tazewell [IL] till 12:00 PM CST …AT 1145 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES WEST OF BLOOMINGTON…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

11:50 A.M.: LSX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Randolph [IL] till 12:15 PM CST …AT 1147 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR EVANSVILLE…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.

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11:53 A.M.: LSX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Clinton, Washington [IL] till 12:30 PM CST …AT 1152 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES SOUTH OF NEW MEMPHIS…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.

11:54 A.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for McLean [IL] till 12:30 PM CST …AT 1150 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR BLOOMINGTON…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

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LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Grundy, La Salle, Livingston [IL] till 12:15 PM CST …AT 1152 AM CST…A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES SOUTHEAST OF STREATOR…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH. RADAR INDICATED THAT THE INITIAL TORNADO MAY BE WEAKENING WHILE A NEW TORNADO WAS DEVELOPING  JUST TO THE SOUTH OF THE FIRST ONE.

11:55 A.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Christian, Shelby [IL] till 12:45 PM CST …AT 1150 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES NORTHWEST OF NOKOMIS…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

11:56 A.M.: LSX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bond, Clinton, Fayette [IL] till 12:30 PM CST …AT 1152 AM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR BEAVER CREEK…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH.

11:57 A.M.: Storm Prediction Center issues MD 2015

mcd2015

 

12:04 P.M: Tornado touches down just outside of New Minden, Illinois

12:07 P.M.: Reports of debris falling from sky Mazon, Morris and near Minooka at 12:07 hours

ILX continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for McLean [IL] till 12:30 PM CST …AT 1204 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR LEXINGTON…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

12:08 P.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS LSX: New Minden [Washington Co, IL] trained spotter reports TORNADO at 12:07 PM CST — tornado rapidly moving northeast

12:09 P.M.: LSX continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 2.50 IN] for Clinton, Washington[IL] till 12:30 PM CST …AT 1204 PM CST…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES EAST OF OKAWVILLE…AND MOVING EAST AT 75 MPH

12:10 P.M.: LSX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Randolph [IL] till 12:30 PM CST …AT 1209 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR BREMEN…AND MOVING EAST AT 60 MPH.

12:14 P.M.: LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 0.00 IN] for Grundy, Kankakee, Will [IL] till 1:00 PM CST …AT 1210 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR MAZON…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

radar15Tornado damage from New Minden:

newmindenphoto

12:15 P.M.: Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens game delayed due to tornadic weather

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12:18 P.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS LSX: 2 W Hoyleton [Washington Co, IL] law enforcement reports TORNADO at
12:15 PM CST — tornado on the ground along highway 177 heading towards Hoyleton. location estimated

12:19 P.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Champaign, Piatt [IL] till 1:00 PM CST …AT 1214 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR DE LAND…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.

12:22 P.M.: Coal City/Diamond Tornado touches down

12:24 P.M.: LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Grundy, Kankakee, Will [IL] till 1:00 PM CST …AT 1220 PM CST…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR COAL CITY…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

Local Storm Report by NWS LOT: Braceville [Grundy Co, IL] law enforcement reports TORNADO at 12:20 PM CST — il-113 at will/grundy county line.

12:26 P.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Cumberland, Effingham, Jasper, Shelby [IL] till 1:15 PM CST …AT 1223 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR BROWNSTOWN…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

12:29 P.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS LOT: Wilmington [Will Co, IL] law enforcement reports TORNADO at 12:25 PM CST — at il-53 and wilmington and peotone road.

12:32 P.M.: LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Grundy, Kankakee, Will [IL] till 1:00 PM CST …AT 1229 PM CST…A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR WILMINGTON…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

Local Storm Report by NWS LOT: Diamond [Grundy Co, IL] law enforcement reports TSTM WND DMG at 12:26 PM CST — houses damaged on lowell lane.

12:36 P.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Champaign, Douglas, Piatt [IL] till 1:15 PM CST …AT 1232 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HAMMOND…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH

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12:37 P.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS ILX: 1 N Altamont [Effingham Co, IL] law enforcement reports TORNADO at 12:34 PM CST — estimated half mile wide

12:39 P.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for Clay, Effingham [IL] till 1:30 PM CST …AT 1237 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR OMEGA…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.

12:44 P.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Champaign [IL] till 1:15 PM CST …AT 1242 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR CHAMPAIGN…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 70 MPH.

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12:45 P.M.: Gifford Tornado touches down and heads for town

12:46 P.M.: LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 0.00 IN] for Cook, Will [IL] and Lake [IN] till 1:30 PM CST …AT 1240 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR MANHATTAN…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

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12:48 P.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS LOT: 2 S Manhattan [Will Co, IL] storm chaser reports TORNADO at 12:39 PM
CST — south of manhattan

12:50 P.M.: ILX issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Vermilion [IL] till 1:30 PM CST …AT 1246 PM CST…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR THOMASBORO…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 65 MPH.

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12:53 P.M.: Local Storm Report by NWS LSX: 1 SW Centralia [Marion Co, IL] amateur radio reports TORNADO at 12:21 PM CST — significant structural damage to numerous homes with vehicles overturned. unknown number of minior injuries on noltings road. amateur radio reports TORNADO at 12:21 PM CST — significant structural damage to numerous homes with vehicles overturned. unknown number of minior injuries on noltings road hoffman road and sycamore.

12:54 P.M.: LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.75 IN] for Cook, Will [IL] and Lake [IN] till 1:30 PM CST …AT 1251 PM CST…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR FRANKFORT…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

Tornado damage from Gifford hits social media

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette Destruction in Gifford Monday November 18, 2013.

Tornado damage from Coal City/Diamond hit social media

528a4a0bb7979.image1:07 P.M.: Major outbreak shifting eastward into Indiana

mcd2018

Just like that, the fourth largest tornado outbreak in Illinois’ history has exited the state. Behind it a trail of 25 tornadoes, 8 deaths, and hundreds of injuries. The towns of Washington, Diamond, Gifford, New Minden, and others were highly impacted by these tornadoes. Below I will assemble information on all of the tornadoes from that day.

Tornado #1: Pekin, Peoria County – 10:52 A.M. – EF-2 

pekin

Survey Results:

This tornado crossed the Illinois River from Peoria County at 10:53 AM CST. It tracked through the northwest side of Pekin before lifting 2 miles northeast of Pekin at 10:54 AM CST. Approximately 179 houses and 6 businesses suffered major damage, while 182 houses experienced minor roof damage. In addition, 3 apartment buildings lost their roofs, a power substation had minor damage, and hundreds of cars were damaged. Ten people were injured.

Tornado #2: Washington to Dana, Peoria-Livingston Counties – 10:59 A.M. – EF-4

washington

Survey teams from the NWS offices in Lincoln and Chicago surveyed this tornado.

The tornado initially developed over the southeast portion of East Peoria, and then headed northeast. It reached a maximum intensity of EF-4 as it entered the city of Washington.  It then continued northeast, moving through Woodford County, reaching the Woodford/LaSalle County border near Minonk, a total of 34.5 miles. The tornado then continued northeast into far southern LaSalle County near Dana, then moved into Livingston County, finally diminshing 2 miles east of Long Point. The track length in LaSalle and Livingston Counties was 11.7 miles, with the peak intensity in these two counties as EF-2.  The total tornado path on the ground was 46.2 miles.

Central Illinois Tornado Survey: Washington

Tazewell_Woodford_111713 washington_ge6 washington-tazewell washington

 

 

 

 

 

damage

Tornado #3: Litchfield, Macoupin County – 11:30 A.M.EF-1

MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING: EF-1
FATALITIES: NONE
INJURIES: NONE
BEGIN TIME/LOCATION: 1130 AM CST 6 MILES NORTHWEST OF LITCHFIELD
END TIME/LOCATION: 1134 AM CST 6 MILES NORTHWEST OF LITCHFIELD
MAXIMUM ESTIMATED WIND SPEED: 75 MPH
PATH LENGTH: 4 MILES
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH: 50 YARDS

Despite photographic evidence of a large tornado northwest of Litchfield, only minor damage to power poles and one barn was observed. Most of the area where the tornado occurred was bare farm fields which did not have any damage indicators.

Tornado #4: Dana – Long Point, LaSalle-Livingston Counties – 11:43 A.M. – EF-0

LaSalle_Livingston

.SATELLITE TORNADO EAST OF DANA ILLINOIS SOUTH OF LONG TRACKED TORNADO…
RATING: EF-0
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND: 75 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/: 3 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/: 50 YARDS
FATALITIES: NONE
INJURIES: NONE
START DATE: NOV 17 2013
START TIME: 1143 AM CST
START LOCATION: 1 E DANA IL
START LAT/LON: 40.9587 / -88.9251
END DATE: NOV 17 2013
END TIME: 1146 AM CST
END LOCATION: 2 SSE LONG POINT IL
END_LAT/LON: 40.9800 / -88.8840

* DISCUSSION: THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS RECEIVED STORM
CHASER VIDEO OF A SATELLITE TORNADO WHICH FORMED SOUTH OF THE
LONG TRACKED TORNADO THAT MOVED FROM WASHINGTON ILLINOIS INTO
EXTREME SOUTHERN LASALLE AND SOUTHWEST LIVINGSTON COUNTY. THIS
TORNADO ONLY LAST A FEW MINUTES AND NO DAMAGE HAS BEEN CONFIRMED
WITH THIS SECOND BRIEF TORNADO.

Tornado #5: Breese, Clinton County – 11:47 A.M. EF-1

breesetrack

MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING: EF-1 
FATALITIES: NONE 
INJURIES:   NONE
BEGIN TIME/LOCATION:  1147 AM CST  7 MILES NORTH OF BREESE
END TIME/LOCATION:    1148 AM CST  7 MILES NORTH-NORTHEAST OF BREESE
MAXIMUM ESTIMATED WIND SPEED:  100 MPH
PATH LENGTH:                   0.4 MILES
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH:             50 YARDS

A weak tornado touched down near the intersection of Jamestown Road and Low Bridge Road and moved east nearly a half mile before dissipating.  It destroyed a garage, removed shingles from a house, destroyed a pole barn and snapped a number of large trees. This tornado was photographed by numerous people.

breese_02

Tornado #6: New Minden, Washington County – 12:04 P.M.EF-4

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MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING: EF-4
FATALITIES: 2
INJURIES: 2

BEGIN TIME/LOCATION: 12:04 PM CST 4.4 MILES SOUTHWEST OF NEW MINDEN.
END TIME/LOCATION: 12:13 PM CST 2.6 MILES NORTH-NORTHEAST OF HOYLETON.

MAXIMUM ESTIMATED WIND SPEED: AT LEAST 166 MPH
PATH LENGTH: 10.6 MILES
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH: 200 YARDS

The initial tornado touchdown occurred near Interstate 64, about 4.4 miles southwest of New Minden, blowing a tractor trailer off the interstate and causing minor injuries to the driver.  The tornado then began moving towards New Minden.  The worst damage was a few miles southwest of New Minden, where a small farm sustained a direct hit.  The outbuildings and barns sustained varying degrees of damage, but the homestead was totally destroyed with only the foundation remaining.  The damage at the homestead was rated EF-4, and two fatalities occurred at this location.

The tornado then raced northeast, hitting New Minden, and producing significant damage to the Lutheran Church and to several homes just northwest of the church. Damage to the two homes was rated EF-3.  The tornado continued northeast, producing sporadic damage to just north of Hoyleton. A farm 2 miles west-northwest of Hoyleton sustained significant damage, as did a newly constructed home 2 miles north of Hoyleton.  Damage at these two locations were rated EF-2.  The tornado then veered a bit northwest and dissipated.

Tornado #7: Hoyleton, Washington County – 12:14 P.M.EF-1

MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING: EF-1
FATALITIES: NONE
INJURIES:   NONE
BEGIN TIME/LOCATION:  1214 PM CST 3 MILES NORTHEAST OF HOYLETON
END TIME/LOCATION:    1218 PM CST 3 MILES SOUTHWEST OF CENTRALIA 

MAXIMUM ESTIMATED WIND SPEED:  95-100 MPH 
PATH LENGTH:                   4.9 MILES 
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH:            100 YARDS

As the EF-4 tornado dissipated another tornado formed one mile to the east.  This second tornado produced sporadic damage nearly 5 miles. The damage was rated EF-0 to EF-1, with the most widespread damage occuring near the Flying M Ranch, 3 miles southwest of the city limits of Centralia, Illinois.  The tornado dissipated only 3/4 mile west of a large mobile home park in Wamac.

Tornado #8: Pana, Christian County – 12:15 P.M. – EF-1

pana

The tornado developed near the intersection of Almond and Elm Streets on the north side of Pana. Damage was done to siding and roofs of homes. Several trees were knocked down, damaging 3 cars. Power lines were also downed. The tornado continued to the north-northeast doing damage to a home and destroying an outbuilding at East 400 North Road. The tornado dissipated about 2 miles to the north-northeast in an open field.

Tornado #9: St. Elmo-Altamont, Fayette-Effingham Counties – 12:22 P.M. EF-2

stelmotrack

MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING: EF-2 
FATALITIES: NONE 
INJURIES:   NONE
BEGIN TIME/LOCATION:  1222 PM CST  4.6 SOUTHWEST OF ST. ELMO
END TIME/LOCATION:    1232 PM CST  6.9 NORTHEAST OF ST. ELMO
MAXIMUM ESTIMATED WIND SPEED:  120 MPH
PATH LENGTH:                  11.5 MILES
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH:            200 YARDS

A strong tornado developed between Highway 40 and Interstate 70 about 5 miles southwest of St. Elmo.  The tornado destroyed a barn, depositing the debris downstream into the adjacent open field.  The tornado continued northeast across Highway 40 damaging a few outbuildings and silos on a farmstead.  The tornado strengthened and grew in size as it moved just to the west of St. Elmo.  Here it caused significant damage to three homes and severe damage/complete destruction to numerous outbuildings.  Two of the houses were moved from their foundations. This damage was rated EF-2.

The tornado continued northeast toward the St. Elmo Golf Club, causing singificant damage to trees and destroying a garage and two outbuildings at a residence located on St. Elmo Country Club Road.  The tornado continued northeast crossing County Highway 2150, County Road 2300, Illinois Highway 128 (Fayette/Effingham County Line), and finally dissipating just northeast of the intersection of North 200th Street and East 1300th Avenue.  Most of the damage observed along the remainder of the path was to trees and small outbuildings.

weststelmo

Tornado #10: Coal City – Wilmington, Grundy-Will Counties – 12:22 P.M.EF-2

Coal City_Diamond

* EVENT TYPE: EF-2 TORNADO

* INJURIES: 3

* ESTIMATED BEGIN TIME/LOCATION: 11/17/2013...1222 PM CST
                                 3 MILES SSW OF COAL CITY IL
                                 LAT 41.24 LON -88.30

* ESTIMATED END TIME/LOCATION:  11/17/2013...1233 PM CST
                                4 MILES NNE OF WILMINGTON IL
                                LAT 41.35 LON -88.13

* PATH LENGTH:  12.9 MILES

* MAXIMUM ESTIMATED WIND SPEED: 122 MPH

* MAXIMUM ESTIMATED PATH WIDTH:  200 YARDS

* DISCUSSION:  THE TORNADO FORMED JUST NORTHWEST OF THE INTERSECTION
OF E BRACEVILLE RD AND S CARBON HILL RD WHERE SEVERAL SOFTWOOD TREES
WERE UPROOTED. THE TORNADO THEN QUICKLY MOVED NORTHEAST JUST NORTH
OF E REED RD WHERE A FAMILY RESIDENCE SUSTAINED VISIBLE DAMAGE TO
ITS EXTERIOR...AND A METAL BUILDING SUSTAINED ROOF AND EXTERIOR WALL
DAMAGE. DAMAGE AT THIS LOCATION WAS CONSISTENT WITH ESTIMATED WINDS
OF 95 MPH OBSERVED AT THIS LOCATION.

A SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE SUSTAINED CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE NEAR THE
INTERSECTION OF BERTA ROAD AND SPRING ROAD WHERE TWO PEOPLE WERE
INJURED. THE TORNADO CONTINUED INTO A SUBDIVISION NORTH OF SPRING
ROAD WHERE WIDESPREAD MINOR DAMAGE OCCURRED. SEVERAL HOMES RECEIVED
MORE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE INCLUDING PARTIAL LOSS OF ROOFS AND SECOND
STORY WALLS. THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST ACROSS COUNTY LINE
ROAD. CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE OCCURRED TO BUSINESSES ALONG DIVISION
STREET BETWEEN COUNTY LINE ROAD AND I-55 INCLUDING AN RV STORE WHERE
NUMEROUS VEHICLES WERE DAMAGED.

CONSISTENT EF-2 DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED JUST NORTHWEST OF THE RT 113 AND
I-55 INTERSECTION...WHERE A HOUSE OBSERVED SIGNIFICANT EXTERIOR
DAMAGE. THE TORNADO LOST INTENSITY AS IT TRACKED JUST WEST
OF I-55 CAUSING WIDESPREAD TREE DAMAGE...BEFORE CROSSING I-55 NEAR
WIDOWS RD WHERE SEVERAL HARDWOOD TREES WERE UPROOTED. THE TORNADO
CONTINUED NORTHEAST AFFECTING A PHEASANT FARM...BEFORE FURTHER
WEAKENING AS IT MOVED NORTHEAST INTO THE MIDEWIN TALLGRASS PRAIRIE.
FURTHER DAMAGE TO SEVERAL METAL STRUCTURES WERE OBSERVED JUST WEST
OF RT 53 WITHIN THE MIDEWIN PRAIRIE...BEFORE LIFTING EAST OF RT 53.

Tornado #11: West Liberty, Jasper County – 12:25 – EF-1

westliberty

Touch down occurred in village of West Liberty, along northern two roads of town.  Traveled east-northeast about 3.5 miles across Ste. Marie Rd.  Damage in town included several homes with roof damage, siding blown off, trees uprooted and broken at the trunk, and three utility poles broken.  An older one story house with a weak roof had roof blown off and two exterior walls collapsed. Semi trailer turned over.  About 1 mile to the east, several barn roofs blown off; at least one barn demolished. At least one pole broken a mile east, along 1700th Street.

Tornado #12: Garrett, Moultrie-Douglas Counties – 12:30 P.M. – EF-1

garrett

The tornado touched down in an open field about 3.5 miles northeast of Lovington, then tracked northeastward and crossed into Douglas County about 5 miles north of Arthur at 12:37 PM CST.  In Moultrie County,  major roof damage occurred to 8 homes, while 1 garage was destroyed and 17 outbuildings were severely damaged. Numerous trees and power poles were snapped.  In Douglas County southwest of Garrett, the tornado damaged the roofs of 3 homes and 5 outbuildings, as well as numerous trees and power poles. It crossed U.S. Highway 36 and tracked into the town of Garrett where it damaged the roofs of about two dozen homes and mobile homes before dissipating.

Tornado #13: Manhattan-Frankfort, Will County – 12:42 P.M. – EF-2

Manhattan_Frankfort

* EVENT TYPE:  EF-2 TORNADO.

* INJURIES:  NONE.

* ESTIMATED BEGIN TIME/LOCATION: 11/17/2013...1242 PM CST
                                 3 MILES SE OF MANHATTAN IL
                                 LAT 41.41 LON -87.93

* ESTIMATED END TIME/LOCATION:  11/17/2013...1248 PM CST
                                2 MILES SSW OF FRANKFORT IL
                                LAT 41.47 LON -87.87

* PATH LENGTH:  5.5 MILES

* MAXIMUM ESTIMATED WIND SPEED: 125 MPH

* MAXIMUM ESTIMATED PATH WIDTH:  200 YARDS.

* DISCUSSION: A SEPARATE TORNADO FORMED FROM THE SAME THUNDERSTORM
WHICH PRODUCED THE COAL CITY TORNADO...TOUCHING DOWN SOUTH OF W
BRUNS RD AND EAST OF S KANKAKEE ST SOUTHEAST OF MANHATTAN ILLINOIS.
THIS SEPARATE TORNADO RAPIDLY INTENSIFIED CAUSING EXTENSIVE DAMAGE
TO 5 HOUSES ALONG W BRUNS RD...WITH THIS DAMAGE CAUSING THEM TO BE
UNINHABITABLE. NORTH OF THIS HOUSE DAMAGE...4 HIGH TENSION POWER
LINE TOWERS WERE BENT. EF-2 DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED AT THIS LOCATION
WITH WINDS ESTIMATED AT 125 MPH. DAMAGE TO MULTIPLE TREES AND POWER
LINES WERE OBSERVED AS THIS TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST...BEFORE
REACHING W DRALLE RD WHERE CONSISTENT STRUCTURE DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED.
DAMAGE TO TWO HOUSES WAS OBSERVED ALONG THIS ROAD WITH DAMAGE ALSO
SUSTAINED TO AN ADJACENT BARN TO THE NORTH. A SEPARATE FARM TO THE
NORTHEAST ALONG S SCHEER RD HAD ROOF DAMAGE TO THE
RESIDENCE...DAMAGE TO A METAL BARN...AND TREE DAMAGE ALL CONSISTENT
OF EF-1 INTENSITY. AS THE TORNADO WEAKENED ALONG RT 45...DAMAGE TO
ONE METAL STRUCTURE WAS ALSO OBSERVED...BEFORE THIS TORNADO LIFTED
JUST SOUTH OF W STEGER RD.

Tornado #14: Villa Grove-Broadlands, Douglas-Champaign Counties – 12:44 P.M. – EF-3

villagrove

A tornado touched down 3.7 miles northwest of Tuscola at 12:44 PM CST, and was on the ground for 18 miles.  The roof of a house and 2 outbuildings were damaged during the first 2 miles of the track. The tornado strengthened after it crossed U.S. Highway 45 doing major damage to 2 homes, several large farm buildings, numerous power poles, and a garage. The tornado then turned to the east, damaging the roofs of two homes and destroying several outbuildings. It then crossed I-57 near mile marker 218, where it destroyed a mobile home just east of the highway. The tornado did major damage to several more roofs and outbuildings before it merged with another tornado 2 miles west-northwest of Villa Grove, turned back to the northeast, and crossed into Champaign County about 1.5 miles northwest of Villa Grove at 12:52 PM.  The tornado continued across southern Champaign County before lifting 2.7 miles north-northwest of Broadlands at 1:02 PM CST. The tornado moved through open fields for the first 2.5 miles in Champaign County, then took the roof off 1 home, destroyed about a dozen outbuildings, snapped numerous power poles and trees, and did roof damage to 6 homes.

Tornado #15: Tuscola, Douglas County – 12:45 P.M.- EF-1

Touch down occurred in the country north of Tuscola, just west of I-57. The tornado crossed the interstate and did minor damage to two residents and destroyed several farm out buildings. The tornado then traveled northeast and merged with the Villa Grove tornado, just northwest of Villa Grove.

Tornado #16: Gifford-Wellington, Champaign-Iroquois Counties – 12:45 P.M. – EF-3

gifford

A tornado touched down in an open field about 1 mile southeast of Thomasboro at 12:45 PM CST and rapidly moved to the northeast. In less than a minute it increased in intensity, causing damage to 3 nearby farms and pushing 2 farm houses off their foundations. The tornado moved through open fields for about 2 miles at which time it widened to nearly 1/4 mile wide and became wrapped in rain. It destroyed 3 homes, several outbuildings, and damaged a few other homes before it moved into the town of Gifford. The rain-wrapped tornado was about 1/2 mile wide when it moved through the center of Gifford. Nearly 30 homes were destroyed, more than 40 suffered major damage, and around 125 had minor damage. Around 15 businesses sustained moderate to major damage and the roof of a school was peeled back. Hundreds of vehicles were damaged or destroyed. The tornado tracked for another 5 miles to the northeast, destroying 3 homes and numerous outbuildings, damaging several other homes, and snapping many trees and power poles. Six people were injured in Champaign County, with damage estimated around $60 million.

The tornado then crossed into Vermilion County about 3 miles north-northeast of Penfield at 1:00 PM CST, tracking northeastward across rural northwest Vermilion County. The tornado destroyed 1 home, 20 outbuildings, and a camper. It also damaged 7 other homes and snapped numerous power poles and trees. The tornado weakened as it moved out of Vermilion County into Iroquois County about 3.7 miles west-northwest of Hoopeston at 1:14PM CST.  Damage in the Vermilion County portion of the track was around $2.5 million.

Tornado #17: Beecher, Will County – 1:01 P.M. – EF-1

Beecher

* EVENT TYPE:  EF-1 TORNADO.

* INJURIES:  NONE.

* ESTIMATED BEGIN TIME/LOCATION: 11/17/2013...101 PM CST
                                 5 MILES SE OF BEECHER IL
                                 LAT 41.30 LON -87.55

* ESTIMATED END TIME/LOCATION:  11/17/2013...102 PM CST
                                6 MILES SE OF BEECHER IL
                                LAT 41.31 LON -87.54

* PATH LENGTH:  0.8 MILES

* MAXIMUM ESTIMATED WIND SPEED: 100 MPH

* MAXIMUM ESTIMATED PATH WIDTH:  150 YARDS.

* DISCUSSION: THIS BRIEF TORNADO QUICKLY DEVELOPED SOUTH OF E 12000N
RD CAUSING DAMAGE TO SEVERAL HARDWOOD TREES...THEN MOVING NORTHEAST
WHILE SNAPPING A SOFTWOOD TREE. THE MORE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE CAUSED
BY THIS TORNADO WAS TO A FARM JUST NORTHEAST TO THE INITIAL
TOUCHDOWN...WITH A LARGE BARN SUSTAINING SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO ITS
ROOF AND OUTER WALLS. CONSISTENT DAMAGE WAS NOTED WITH TWO ADJACENT
METAL BUILDINGS SUSTAINING PARTIAL ROOF LOSS...SEVERAL SOFTWOOD
TREES SNAPPED AT THE BASE OR HALF WAY UP...AND WITH DEBRIS TOSSED
ALMOST 1000 YARDS TO THE NORTHEAST. IN ADDITION...A TRACTOR BLADE
WEIGHING ABOUT 400 POUNDS WAS MOVED 60 FEET AND A GRAIN PIPE THAT
HAD BEEN RIVETED TO THE SILO NEXT TO THE BARN WAS RIPPED AWAY AND
MANGLED AND LOFTED INTO THE FIELD. DAMAGE AT THIS LOCATION WAS
CONSISTENT WITH ESTIMATED WINDS OF 100 MPH. THE TORNADO THEN
CONTINUED NORTHEAST THROUGH A FARM FIELD WHILE WEAKENING...THEN
CAUSING MINOR STRUCTURE AND TREE DAMAGE ALONG E DELITE INN RD.
NORTHEAST OF E DELITE RD...THE TORNADO LIFTED IN AN ADJACENT FARM
FIELD.

Tornado #18: Allerton – Westville, Vermillion County – 1:03 P.M. – EF-2

westville

This tornado touched down in an open field 2.8 miles northeast of Allerton at 1:03 PM CST. The tornado tracked to the northeast for about 15 miles and did major damage to 2 homes, roof damage to 4 other homes, and destroyed 9 outbuildings, 4 garages, and 2 grain bins. Numerous trees and power poles were also snapped. The tornado crossed State Route 1 about 2 miles north of Westville, impacting the villages of Belgium and Hegeler where 1 person was injured. Nine homes sustained major damage, 26 had significant roof damage, and more than 100 had minor roof damage. The tornado also damaged more than 50 mobile homes, numerous garages and vehicles, and destroyed about 25 outbuildings. The tornado crossed the Vermilion River and moved through about a mile of forested area before dissipating 4.4 miles northeast of Westville and 3 miles west of the Indiana border. Total damage was estimated at $9.5 million.

Tornado #19: Opdyke, Jefferson County – 1:05 P.M. – EF-1

* EVENT TYPE………EF1 TORNADO

* EVENT DATE………SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013

* EVENT TIME………105 PM

* EVENT LOCATION…..1.5 NE OF OPDYKE

* PEAK WIND……….107 MPH

* MAX PATH WIDTH…..25 YARDS

* PATH LENGTH……..0 MILES

* INJURIES………..0

* FATALITIES………0

* DAMAGE DETAIL……BRIEF TOUCHDOWN ON THE NORTH SIDE OF

INTERSTATE 64. SEVERAL TREES WERE SNAPPED.

Tornado #20: Sims – Fairfield, Wayne County – 1:08 P.M. – EF-2

* EVENT TYPE………EF2 TORNADO
* EVENT DATE………SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013
* EVENT TIME………108 PM – 120 PM
* EVENT LOCATION…..SIMS TO FAIRFIELD
* PEAK WIND……….134 MPH
* MAX PATH WIDTH…..150 YARDS
* PATH LENGTH……..10 MILES
* INJURIES………..0
* FATALITIES………0

* DAMAGE DETAIL……TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN IN THE SOUTHWEST SIDE OF
SIMS. QUICKLY INTENSIFIED AND DESTROYED A DOUBLE WIDE MOBILE HOME ON
THE NORTHEAST SIDE OF SIMS. THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST AND
CROSSED HIGHWAY 15…PRODUCING TREE AND POWER POLE DAMAGE. THE
TORNADO MOVED EAST AND MOVED ACROSS THE WAYNE COUNTY
LANDFILL…DAMAGING THE BUILDING ON THE GROUNDS. THE TORNADO
CONTINUED INTO THE NORTH SIDE OF FAIRFIELD AND PRODUCED MAINLY MINOR
DAMAGE TO HOMES.

Tornado #21: Wellington, Iroquois County – 1:19 P.M. – EF-0

Iroquois_2_Wellington

RATING:                 EF-0
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:    80 MPH
PATH LENGTH:            4.6 MILES
PATH WIDTH:             75 YARDS
FATALITIES:             NONE.
INJURIES:               NONE.

START DATE:             NOV 17 2013
START TIME:             119 PM CST
START LOCATION:         1 MILE SE OF WELLINGTON IL
START LAT/LON:          40.5283/-87.6691

END DATE:               NOV 17 2013
END TIME:               123 PM CST
END LOCATION:           4 MILES NE OF WELLINGTON IL
END LAT/LON:            40.5805/-87.6171

DAMAGE: FOUR FARMSTEADS WERE IMPACTED WITH SEVERAL LARGE TREES
DOWNED OR WITH THEIR TOPS SNAPPED. ONE OUTBUILDING HAD ITS ROOF
TORN OFF.

Tornado #22: Albion [North], Wayne-Edwards Counties – 1:29 P.M. – EF-2

* EVENT TYPE………EF2 TORNADO
* EVENT DATE………SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013
* EVENT TIME………130 PM – 144 PM
* EVENT LOCATION…..7 NW OF ALBION TO 6 NE OF ALBION
* PEAK WIND……….130 MPH
* MAX PATH WIDTH…..300 YARDS
* PATH LENGTH……..8 MILES
* INJURIES………..0
* FATALITIES………0

* DAMAGE DETAIL……MAIN DAMAGE WAS TO TREES WITH NUMEROUS ONES
SNAPPED. A NEW ADDITION TO A HOUSE DESTROYED. ATTACHED GARAGE
DESTROYED WITH 2 VEHICLES TURNED 180 DEGREES. TWO OTHER 100 YEAR OLD
BARNS…STILL IN USE…TOTALLY DESTROYED. SEVERAL 100 YEAR OLD TREES
SNAPPED OR UPROOTED ALONG BONE GAP ROAD. OTHER RESIDENCES IN THE
AREA HAD MINOR DAMAGE.

Tornado #23: Albion [South], Wayne-Edwards Counties – 1:30 P.M. – EF-2

* EVENT TYPE………EF2 TORNADO
* EVENT DATE………SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013
* EVENT TIME………133 PM – 138 PM
* EVENT LOCATION…..6 NW OF ALBION TO 4 N OF ALBION
* PEAK WIND……….112 MPH
* MAX PATH WIDTH…..100 YARDS
* PATH LENGTH……..5 MILES
* INJURIES………..0
* FATALITIES………0

* DAMAGE DETAIL……THIS TORNADO WHICH TRAVELED JUST SOUTH OF THE
FIRST TORNADO DESTROYED 2 MACHINE SHEDS AND A BARN WITH A HIP ROOF.
SEVERAL TREES WERE SNAPPED ALONG THE PATH. MORE THAN ONE EYEWITNESS
TO 2 TORNADOES ON THE GROUND AT THE SAME TIME.

Tornado #24: Bellmont-Allendale, Wabash County – 1:44 P.M. – EF-2

* EVENT TYPE………EF2 TORNADO
* EVENT DATE………SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013
* EVENT TIME………144 PM – 154 PM
* EVENT LOCATION…..7 N OF BELLMONT TO 3 S ALLENDALE
* PEAK WIND……….127 MPH
* MAX PATH WIDTH…..225 YARDS
* PATH LENGTH……..10 MILES
* INJURIES………..1
* FATALITIES………0

* DAMAGE DETAIL……4 HOMES WERE DAMAGED AND TWO MOBILE HOMES WERE
DESTROYED. ONE MOBILE HOME WAS THROWN ACROSS THE ROAD AND THE FRAME
WAS WRAPPED AROUND A TREE. ONE WOMEN INSIDE WAS INJURED. ANOTHER
NEARBY MOBILE HOME WAS TURNED ON ITS SIDE. ONE HOME HAD PART OF THE
ROOD LIFTED OFF. GARAGE OF THE RESIDENCE WAS DESTROYED BUT MOST OF
THE ARTICLES INSIDE WERE LEFT UNHARMED. DEBRIS FROM THIS RESIDENCE
WAS THROWN SEVERAL HUNDRED YARDS. SEVERAL OUTBUILDINGS WERE
DESTROYED.

Tornado #25: Brookport-New Liberty, Pope-Massac Counties – 2:23 P.M. – EF-3

* EVENT TYPE………EF3 TORNADO
* EVENT DATE………SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013
* EVENT TIME………205 PM-256 PM
* EVENT LOCATION…..WOODVILLE KY TO 3 MILES NW OF EDDYVILLE KY
* PEAK WIND……….145 MPH
* MAX PATH WIDTH…..500 YARDS (AVERAGE WIDTH APPROX. 225 YARDS)
* PATH LENGTH……..42 MILES
* INJURIES………..13 PLUS
* FATALITIES………3 (Massac County, IL)

* DAMAGE DETAIL……IN MASSAC/POPE COUNTIES: DOZENS OF MOBILE HOMES DESTROYED, MANY BLOWN 100
FEET OR MORE. ONE HOME LEVELLED WITH DOZENS OF HOMES, GARAGES,
STORAGE BUILDINGS, BUSINESSES AND OTHER BUILDINGS STRUCTURALLY
DAMAGED. SEVERAL CARS AND A SCHOOL BUS TOSSED AROUND. AT LEAST
HUNDREDS OF TREES SNAPPED AND UPROOTED. DAMAGE WAS IN BROOKPORT AND
ALONG AND NORTH OF UNIONVILLE ROAD TO THE OHIO RIVER SOUTHWEST OF
HAMLETSBURG, AND RATED EF-3. ONE FATALITY OCCURRED IN BROOKPORT…WITH THE
OTHER TWO OCCURRING BETWEEN BROOKPORT AND UNIONVILLE.

So what have we learned from the November 17th outbreak? There were many wins to take away from this event from a forecasting standpoint. This event was very well advertised! Not only did I hit the event hard in the days leading up to it, but the National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center really brought their A game as well. Hundreds of tornado warnings were issued with a very acceptable false alarm ratio. The general motto is to “not miss the big ones” and I believe as a whole the NWS was at 100% on warning accuracy for strong or violent tornadoes.  We can chalk this up as a case where hype, continual reminders, and even a little fear was warranted. A tornado outbreak that occurred during the off-season, on a Sunday, and in the morning is as unusual as our weather gets!

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Case Study: Why I Didn’t Chase Super Outbreak II

This passage I am about to type is going to partially replay the events of a historically tragic tornado outbreak …. the likes of which may never be duplicated. In this piece I will overview the event, incorporate a timeline, interject my own thoughts, and discuss why I did not chase. Super Outbreak 2011.

Overview:

110427_rptsApril 27th had many factors going against it on the onset of the day. What I most amazed is how those negative factors ultimately proved meaningless in terms of detouring an outbreak, but in fact aided in it’s destructiveness. For example….. when chasing we look for boundaries, a trigger, clearing, moisture convergence, etc. April 27th started off stormy for portions of the outbreak area… many of those areas stayed stormy all day. A tornadic linear MCS was traversing MS/AL region at the start of the period seriously complicating matters. SPC forecasters nailed this setup many days in advance, but it is impossible to predict mesoscale anomalies 3-4 days in advance. All signs were pointing at a widespread severe weather outbreak with associated risk for tornadoes, but the question was how this MCS came into play. As it turns out only half the risk area was affected, in turn sparing much of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia from a memorable severe weather episode. Further south wasn’t so lucky. In the end 300+ lives were lost, thousands injured, billions of billions of dollars of destruction, cities changed forever, and a new found respect for Mother Nature.One word to describe the event on 4/27/11. Textbook. Everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING fell into place. Normally in terms of tornado outbreaks, all ingredients come together partially enough to kick off a few supercells with associated tornadoes. Some of the better known outbreaks have a lot of those ingredients put together but a little to much of one thing and not enough of the other usually makes those outbreaks significant but not historically epic. This wasn’t the case on April 27th. Every single ingredient was present for an outbreak of epic proportions. Furthermore, each quantity of every ingredient far surpassed the minimum quantity to get things going for a sustained period of time. What does this mean? In terms of an outbreak, a lot of vital ingredients need to be put together and utilized at the right time or else one will wane and wreck the setup. It does no good to have 3,000 CAPE with zero forcing from a shortwave ejecting out or outflow boundary to name a few. Furthermore it also does no good to have non-zero CAPE with 800 m2/s2 helicity values and no trigger. There are a lot of potential days that have a few thousand CAPE, several hundred helicities, exceptional divergence in the upper levels, but a badly timed shortwave.

Mesoscale and Stormscale features and synopsis:

As alluded to earlier, this outbreak feature all of the right ingredients. Telling you is one thing, showing you is another. I am going to provide sets of data from before initiation, during initiation, and during the most violent of tornadoes. I will post the images and make captions underneath them and then below that I will explain the significance of such a model and what to look for when looking to forecast major tornadoes and severe weather. April 27th was the 3rd day of 3 consecutive severe weather outbreak days. It was unknown the extent this outbreak would be, but it had the potential to be huge. At the onset a tornadic MCS was moving through the outbreak area producing winds over 80 mph and many strong tornadoes. Normally when an MCS moves through early in the morning it kind of puts a damper on things knowing it had to be timed just right to kick a boundary, clear out and allow for destabilization, and hopefully not contaminate the atmosphere. As the MCS was moving through and causing severe damage it was becoming increasingly feared that all this MCS would do was kick down a boundary somewhere for the inevitable barrage of tornadic supercells to train on. Areas hit hardest by the MCS were hit 100x’s worse by violent tornadoes no more than 6-8 hours later.

day1otlk_20110427_1200_prtww0230_radarJAN_12_obs250_110427_12

In this we have established that upper level winds were strong and diverging promoting maximum lift over the outlook area. The 500mb chart shows a significant trough digging into the mid-south and an impressive jet max speeding around the base of the trough just before peak heating. Speed shear was there… but that doesn’t make a set up alone. Many times there have been impressive speed shear, but no directional shear and storms fire up and line out right away. Below I will show you the lower level wind fields and explain just how INSANE this set up was.Important to not the classic divergence in the upper levels promoting maximum lift. At 12z this was located just behind the MCS with maximum lift occurring over N. MS. You can see divergence by winds in C AR blowing out of the SSW and winds in C MS blowing WSW. 125 kts of shear rounding the base of the trough.

300_110427_12500_110427_1212_700mb

Shear is just one piece of the puzzle. High shear events are common in the early months and generally produce a low visibility, grungy, sloppy mess of rainshowers that rotate and produce tornadoes. While the environment is conducive to producing tornadoes, it is less than desirable from a chasing stand point. We have already established shear was off the charts…. how about some other factors into the development of thunderstorms.It is important to note that each of the 4 charts I have shown have featured winds blowing mainly out of the WSW or SW at varying intensities. Again… exemplifying speed shear. What this means is if a storm goes up it will have the capability to move along but since there is no turning with height and only a uni-directional profile… storms will basically form into lines with attendant potential to bring down some of those powerful winds through downdrafts. There was plenty of strong speed shear with 4/27, but was there directional shear?12_850mb
To review there are four ingredients to the development of sustained thunderstorms… shear, instability, lift, and moisture. Shear was MORE than adequate. What about instability? As early morning storms were moving through the north-central regions of Alabama…. most of southern Alabama and Mississippi were allowed to clear out and warm into the 80’s.  Even at 7a most of the areas clear of cloud cover were baking and very conducive to supercell development as evidenced by this plot of EHI values.You better believe there was directional shear…. even early on. The most STUNNING map I have seen was an H85 plot about 22-23z of winds out of the south at 75 KTs!!!!!!!!! That is nearly 90 mph south winds overlaid by a H50 jet max blowing out of the west at 100 mph and upper diverging upper level winds at a similar speed. Classic. Now a lot of times the upper level winds will be weak, but mid level winds and low level winds will be strong so a storm will be able to form, but rain on itself and eventually commit suicide. On the flip side there is a lot of times where shear is just to strong and every tower will just topple over on itself. In the case of 4/27 upper level winds supported sustained storms, mid level winds promoted updraft rotation, and low-level winds were EXTREMELY conducive to violent rotation and/or tornadoes. So visualize a south easterly surface wind, a southerly low level jet, a southwesterly H70 wind, a westerly H50 wind and a diverging H25 flow… all at increasing speeds the higher up you go. You may visualize a hodograph that looks something like this.

12_ehi3

 

It was clear to where the boundary was and associated convection to the north.This was worrisome to forecasters as that airmass would have a long way to go in just a few hours. Without instability thunderstorms may not form in northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, and southern Tennessee. This was also another pretty stunning occurrence. Normally a warm front will slowly usher in warm moist air into areas that had previous storms… basically a battle between cool stable air and warm unstable air. On the 27th the ENTIRE air mass basically shifted. There was no battle. By 16z EHI values in previously storm ravaged area were already very high. Way before peak heating.

16_cpsh

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
To go off topic a smidge…. a lot of days have these ingredients in place. Not to the magnitude and quantity, but still have ingredients in place. How many Iowa days out there will have temperatures in the 80’s, dews in the 70’s, very good shear, but no spark? The key to most severe weather episodes is the spark…. whether it is a surface low, dry line, pre-frontal convergence boundary, out flow boundary, shortwave, sea breeze… ANYTHING to induce lift. A poorly timed shortwave or frontal passage will result on many a busted chase. Unfortunately for residents of the south…. there were 3 main sources of lift at the WORST possible time (peak heating)The stage is becoming set. Insane shear with moderate to extremely unstable instability give us 2 values of severe weather formation. Moisture was already pooling into the region. With such a strong low level flow and the Gulf within sneezing distance, it wasn’t hard for upper 60/low 70 dew points to shift with the air mass. Temperatures in the 80’s and dews in the 70’s provided an extremely volatile environment. Would there be a spark? The last thing missing is lift.
 
 

Source of lift #1 – Outflow boundary laid down by previous day thunderstorms. After the MCS moved across northern Alabama it left a remnant boundary that slowly drifted north and stalled out near the AL/TN border SW toward the Tuscaloosa area.

Source of lift #2 – Cold front/surface low/warm front. An intense center of low pressure was churning in the ArkLaTex area and started ejected NE toward the Ohio Valley ….

Source of lift #3 – Upper level shortwave overspreading the area during peak heating which steepened lapse rates

Some days you can’t buy a source of lift, others (like 4/27) you don’t have a shortage of them. Unfortunately all three of these sources of lift erupted during peak heating and with more than adequate instability and shear in place the favored mode was supercells. On top of all four ingredients being more than sufficient, that aforementioned outflow boundary just added MORE low level turning and likely was the culprit of the most violent of tornadoes in N. AL.

Just after the 1700z time frame the jet streak was just entering MS overriding the surface low, on top of the short wave over spreading the area . The result? Thunderstorm development in SE AR/N MS. While storms weren’t very organized to start the second they started to race ENE into better wind profiles they quickly turned supercellular and started dropping tornadoes. As the day progressed the already impressive parameters turned into unfathomable.

22_eshr 21_srh3 21_stpc 22_ehi3
It was tough to bear…. at the second it was happening I was numb and just stood frozen. I had to be at work in a few minutes but I stood there. One pant leg on, toothbrush in mouth, completely frozen in time. I thought for sure that was an EF-5. I thought for sure I watched an EF-5 hit a city live and destroy a major college campus. It wasn’t easy to take. Later it was ultimately rated a strong EF4 but no matter the strength or size… it changed the face of Tuscaloosa forever.Textbook historic tornado outbreak plots above. Notice the effective bulk shear numbers… supercells generally thrive in the 25-40 kt range….. when you have 90 kts of bulk shear…. a puff of smoke from a camp fire will rotate. There was one point in time where a 30dbz rain shower with no lightning was tornado warned. Some times weather models like to pre-cast these values 10 days in advance and you throw them out because you think “no way that could ever happen.” As I was watching this event unfold I was looking at these values REAL TIME and thinking “no way IS this happening.” As the low level jet ramped up …. winds just above the surface were gusting to more than 90 mph aiding intense low level turning and basically guaranteeing major tornadoes. In the end this outbreak will probably be the biggest on record and will live in infamy.

Thoughts/Personal reflection:

Days leading up to this event, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to chase it due to starting my new job. I had been closely monitoring the situation and knew some where in the south SOMEONE was going to “get it”. Models did an extremely good job at handling this storm system as well as the Storm Prediction Center, local NWS offices, and local media outlets. This event was predicted more than 5 days in advance. Everyone had sniffed out what mother nature had up her  sleeve. She decided to throw a major curve ball though. That line of storms that formed in MS overnight and raced across MS and AL was an event within itself that was overshadowed by the tremendous tornado outbreak that soon followed. That MCS produced many strong tornadoes and killed people. Had the 4/27 outbreak not occurred, the early MCS would have been a pretty big story. Not only did it injure and kill people, but it destroyed vital lifelines by knocking out power to more than half the residents of N. AL. Not only were residents without power, tv, and radio…. but the storm also knocked out NWR transmitters all over N. AL. The recipe for disaster was there in an atmospheric level and a sociological one too. It would be almost impossible to say whether or not more lives would have been spared had that earlier line of storms not destroyed many lifelines…. but one would assume that it wouldn’t hurt the chances they had to survive. As storms developed, news webcams captured amazing footage of tornadoes affecting Cullman, Tuscaloosa, and Birmingham. Perhaps the most HORRIFYING sight I have ever seen was watching ABC 33/40 live as a major tornado touched down just outside of Tuscaloosa and ground it’s way through the southern business district toward the University mall area and points northeast. I had seen tornadoes on webcams before, I even watched the one that hit Cullman earlier. To see this 3/4 mile wide tornado churning into a major population center sent chills up and down my spine. I inevitably knew people were dying live. I couldn’t see them dying, but I knew they were. With each mile this monster moved, it threw roofs, vehicles, houses, everything miles away from it. Amazingly enough many of these tornadoes had tentacle like vorticies streaming out a mile or two ahead of the main vortex. It was the fabled “dead man walking” that legend has it you see before you die.

A bright side on the outbreak (if there was one) was it brought national attention to one of the great tv meteorologists of all time …. James Spann. I am a member of NWSchat and have seen James in there from time to time. He came off as a brash, no nonsense type of guy that carried an attitude about him. I didn’t know what to think of him. I had watched some of his archived newscasts of tornadoes hitting the Tuscaloosa/Birmingham areas in the past, but never got a good feel. I must say though, watching all the coverage of 4/27 live with James Spann made me respect the man an infinite amount. You don’t get much better than that. He kept his cool during the worst tornado outbreak anyone is ever going to see in their lifetimes. His own family at risks, friends and coworkers potentially set up to be killed, he carried about his business in a professional way and undoubtedly saved thousands of lives…. I will never forget his words during the Tuscaloosa tornado…. “All you can do is pray for those people!” Another bright spot was the SPC and NWS offices that coordinated the event. Amazing job forecasting, amazing job getting warnings out, and exceptional teamwork. Most will say “well with such a text book outbreak, it should have been a slam dunk anyway”…. It was that and so much more. Everything was executed to near perfection… the only gripe I have is that some offices totally abandoned the tornado warning and started issuing tornado emergencies. While it was a dire situation, it seemed like everything was a tornado emergency and I fear in the future events that people will think it is “only” a tornado warning. To recap my thoughts on 4/27…. This day was the biggest of the big. The most textbook outbreak I have ever seen, the scariest one I could have fathomed, and the most emotionally taxing situation I have ever witnessed live. A day I do not care to repeat.

My decision not to chase: 

I have chased for 15 years now. It was always my dream to chase that classic tornado outbreak with amazing supercells, huge wedges, and any storm I choose. It was supposed to be like that. I guess I was semi blinded by my own personal gain that I didn’t realize for such an outbreak to occur… many will die and many mores lives changed forever. I had always pictured an outbreak like this to occur in the middle of no where, where you can see for miles, and the only thing disturbed was cows, trees, and wildland. I like to think I am a pretty recognized chaser, and pretty recognized chasers chase just about anything anywhere. Multiple factors prohibited me from chasing anyway, but with this set up… I just had no desire to. Since I started my new job, I didn’t have enough time accumulated to call off so right off the bat I was down in the count. Coupled with the fact I was on limited funds all year and couldn’t get out that much it was a no brainer that I couldn’t chase. I didn’t want to chase this dream set up anyway and I will explain why…..

Reason #1 – Terrain –  I knew this set up was going to be in heavily hilled and wooded areas of the south. There is something unsettling about chasing a major tornado outbreak when 90% of the time I will be looking at trees.

Reason #2 – Human Impact – This had a huge potential to effect millions of people throughout the south…. What happens if multiple major cities were hit? What happens if I have another field incident in the path of one of these monsters in the middle of an area I can’t see?

Reason #3 – Storm Motion – This was probably my main deterring factor, coupled with #1. This was such a classic tornado set up, but was not ideal for those chasing it. Storms moving 70 mph with 1-2 mile wide tornadoes on windy roads up on mtn tops and valleys. Even if I did catch a glimpse of a tornado I wouldn’t get a good view without being in a dangerous position. If I had chased I would have targeted W. AL west of Tuscaloosa on I 20 at the MS/AL border. Would I have gotten tornadoes? It was hard not to that day, but I can’t say with certainty that I would come home satisfied… especially knowing those tornadoes killed.

Reason #4 – Documentation – Eluding back to #3… I chase storms for personal passion. To document Mother Nature and to do my part in helping the warning process. With such fast storm motions, dangerous roads, and populated areas being nuked… I don’t think any worthwhile documentation would have justified the trip down there. I cannot justify a trip down there simply because it is “my passion” and I want to be a part of “history”. Sorry that is just not the type of chaser I am…. Furthermore I think it pretty shallow to use the “it fuels my passion to chase every single set up” line. Please. Most of the people saying that are the ones that never had to work a day of their lives or lift a finger without something falling into their laps. If I don’t think I can successfully document a weather event and do so safely then I just sit it out…. there will be other storms. Maybe not another outbreak like this, but you can’t see every single tornado of an outbreak and most of the people I know got crappy footage for 3 minutes while dodging trees and low visibility.

Reason #5 – Mentally – Perhaps the longest lasting impact of chasing a set up like this would be how it affects me afterward. Had I been on I 20 chasing the supercell into Tuscaloosa, the things I would have encountered after 5:10 P.M. would have lasted me an eternity. Greensburg/Moore/Hallam/ choose your tornado disaster and talk to the people who saw it first hand. That type of memory doesn’t go away. I would for sure have not been the same chaser. I am used to seeing people at their worst working as a firefighter and assisting with the ambulance. Those are mostly medical issues…. not gruesome tornado aftermath injuries….. How would I deal with seeing a 6 year old missing half their body or an 83 year old with a 2×4 impaled through their chest. I get the risks every time I go out and chase, but most of those set ups are in the middle of no where and away from towns . 4/27 seemed to have something personal with everybody in the south. No towns in the areas went completely unaffected and communities that took a direct hit will never be the same. I honestly think I would enjoy chasing a little bit less had I been witness to that.

You may or may not agree with my reasoning not to chase even if I was capable to. It is just my opinion and doesn’t take any of my passion away. If I had unlimited funds or rich parents I would be out there every single chase day in the plains. I am not a huge fan of deep south chasing based on sour experiences in 2002. I am not a storm snob and definitely possess the knowledge to keep up with chasing in unfavorable areas, but it really isn’t worth it to go out of my way to prove to others that I can do it. I have seen many people commenting on how others are “afraid” to go chasing in the deep south. Such asinine statements hold no water with me. I could just as easily say most people don’t have the balls to crawl into a burning building. Take what I have written as a learning resource, wise words from someone who has done it, or just as garbage from someone who likes weather.

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