September 22, 2006 Monroe County, IL Chase

by John Farley

I intercepted 3 TOR-warned cells as they crossed the Mississippi River into Monroe County, IL near Valmeyer - but, alas, none of them came close to producing during the time I could watch them. With the storms hauling at 50 mph, it wasn't easy - contrats to Dan Robinson on his great catch down by Murphysboro that was shown on TWC tonight.

I considered heading down I-44 when the storms initially fired, but chasing in that hilly, wooded area is just too tough for me, especially with the storms hauling at 50 mph and, at times, even faster. So I decided to intercept the storms when they crossed the Mississippi River, where the terrain would be better. The first storm I caught was, I think, the same one that produced the Phelps Co., MO tornado that hit St. James.

This storm remained TOR-warned to the Mississippi River, but totally crapped out when it got to the river (though the LSRs would suggest that it got a second wind farther east into IL). Here is a picture of the first storm as it approached from Missouri, still well to the west. This is the point at which it looked the best. In this picture, note the light-colored lowering tilted to the right in the lower center of the picture. I thought at first this might be a funnel or tornado illuninated by the sun, but as the storm moved closer, I could see it was the tail end of a shelf cloud that formed along the RFD gust front. The meso with a bit of an RFD notch was visible as the storm approached the river, but it very quickly fizzled out at this point. The TOR was allowed to expire, and no new warnings were issued for Monroe County.

The next two storms did hold together into Monroe Co., IL, but neither came close to producing in the time I watched them, though both briefly looked pretty good, especially the second one of the three, which did produce a number of penny to nickle-size hail reports in Jefferson Co., MO and in Monroe Co., IL where I was located. I managed to totally avoid the hail, though. :-) Here is a picture of the storm as it approached. It looked a little bit linear, but did have somewhat of a corkscrew appearance:

In the photo below, you can see the wall cloud emerging from behind the hills of Jefferson Co. At ths time, the storm was showing strong rotation on radar and producing marginally severe hail:

Here is a video capture from a couple minutes or two later - it is not as clear as the photo, but the wall cloud is less hidden by the hills.

The wall cloud dissipated rather quickly after these picture were taken, and the core passed on to my north. However, the storm was backbuilding, and a new TOR was issued for a meso to the southwest. Here is a video capture taken just after this TOR warning was issued. There appeared to be a little rotation at this time, but it was not strong. Now the storms, which had been moving rapidly to the east or ENE, began turning to the southeast - not sure if I was dealing with a split or the outflow from the previous storm was just driving the storms farther south. In any case, a few minutes after I got the video capture abovethe storm did produce another interesting, but non-rotating, lowering that seemed to reach the tops of the hills to my southwest, but at that point I was quickly overtaken by the wind and rain surging southward. That was pretty much the end of the chase, though I did get a couple good pictures on the way home:

New supercell storm approaching from the west. This storm later prompted new SVR warnings for Jefferson and Monroe Counties, moving through the same general area as the previous storms - but not until after sunset.

Sunlit anvil of the storms, taken as I arrive back in Edwardsville.

Also saw a coyote in the ditch and stopped to get a pic, but was a little too far away for it to come out very good.

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