I hadn’t even planned on chasing yesterday, but ended up getting in a fun last minute chase! Having been at my grandpa’s funeral and with family all day, I hadn’t looked at any models, and was really only giving thought to whether or not to make a trip out west to chase today through Wednesday. On the way home I checked my phone and noticed a MCD for northern IL into IN. So as soon as I got home I looked into a little more, and things actually looked pretty good with some good directional shear, though low-level winds were rather weak. A couple cells had already fired, and as I was looking into things, one went tornado warned. So I got my stuff together quickly and headed out the door.
I was watching the storms on radar as I was driving, and thinking about how I’m always late to the party! The initial cell looked really good, and the one to the west began to rotate as well. I knew I couldn’t get to it during the best time, however, as another cell was approaching from the southwest preparing to cut off the parent cell.
I finally caught up around Danville, IL, but it was clear to me then that I needed to get onto the southernmost cell. After dealing with some crappy roads and slow traffic (aren’t they all slow when you’re trying to get to a storm?), I finally got in position west of Chrisman, IL. I could see the wall cloud ahead of me, but I needed to get south. I took CR 1050 E just east of Metcalf, and as I got to US 36, I witnessed a brief spin-up about 2 miles to my southwest. It could have been on the ground longer, but by the time I got past some trees, I only saw it for a few seconds. There was no condensation funnel, but a rapidly rotating wall cloud above it, though it was become rather jagged. I continued south and the wall cloud lost its organization. It looked like outflow had taken over at that point.
I followed this cell all the way to Terre Haute while it was tornado warned the whole time. It probably didn’t need all of those tornado warnings, as the cloud base was rather high, and there wasn’t a wall cloud for most of the time. I had gotten behind it a little bit, then saw the back edge of the wall cloud as I came out of Paris, IL on Hwy 150. There weren’t any good road options from there, however, so I stayed on 150 and decided to get right into the core for some hail. I didn’t see any hail stones bigger than marbles, but there was a LOT of hail! It covered the road in some areas, making driving just like winter, and laying blankets of hail fog.
This was a good chance to try out my new video camera! I’m pretty happy with the way it looks, and using the base of a cheap mount along with my GPS mount works well on the windshield with the camcorder upside down. Below is my video, mainly of hail, which is actually in western Indiana. I didn’t realize I had crossed the state line on 150. At the beginning of the video is where I was approaching the wall cloud west of Chrisman. Unfortunately I wasn’t recording when I saw the spin-up, but I don’t know if it would’ve been very visible anyway, as there was some moderate rain falling in the area.