April 29 Wood River, IL Mini-chase

by John Farley
Wrapped things up at work at 6:00. Sun was shining in my window so boy was I surprised when I checked COD and saw SVR warning for St. Louis city and County! Checked radar and sure enough there was a slow-moving, intense cell just southwest of the city drifting, slowly NE. When I got out to the car I could see the hardest towers I had seen since last summer off to the SW, with a big, somewhat knuckled anvil spreading out above. So I booked it home, and around 6:30 Alice and I headed out to intercept this hailer somewhere in western or southwestern Madison Co. Slow movement should make it easy to intercept but stay out of the hail, especially if it crossed into Illinois, but it had other ideas.

Both my visuals and updates on wx radio as we headed toward the storm indicated that the storm was builiding to the NW as it drifted NE very slowly, leading to almost a northward motion. Around 6:45 we heard new SVR warning for NE St. Louis Co. and E. St. Charles Co. This meant the storm would stay in MO rather than crossing into IL, at least until it moved north into the Alton area.from north St. Louis Co. No way was I going into N. St. Louis Co. traffic, but we could approach to the river and look across at the storm, which still had a nice hard updraft.

Around 6:50, as we had a nice view from the river bottomlands south of Wood River, I took one pic through the windshield. That did it! Within 5 minutes the updraft eroded away to the point of nothingness. I told Alice the show was over, we made a U turn, and 5 minutes later the SVR warning was cancelled just 15 minutes after it was issued. Nobody can compete with me when it comes to killing a nice storm!

Return to Severe Weather Observations page