8/3/97 Chase by Doug Sefried

Illinois chase report

         Although the situation wasn't very good for tornadic type storms, I
was still planning on a chase this day.
At 2pm severe thunderstorm watch # 672 was issued for northwest and north
central Illinois.  I was at Tim's, my cousin, in Kickapoo (about 5 miles west
of Peoria) waiting for my brother, Mark, to finally get off work.  I informed
him of the situation and we finally left Kickapoo with our cousin around
2:30. (after a 15 minute delay becasue my Aunt had to pack a cooler full of
soda and snacks, at least we didn't have dinner there like in Twister:))  We
headed west on US 150 then north on 78.
        At 3pm a tornado warning was issued Clinton county in Iowa moving
east at 25 MPH.  We turned west on IL 17 then north through Galva.  After
turning north on 82 we found ourselves in Cambridge in central Henry county
at 3:42.
We finally came to a stop on a country road about 4 milles northwest of
Cambridge or 18 miles SE of Moline.
       At 3:50  spotter-net radar out of the Quad Cities reported a large
cell developing over the Quad Cities  with a tornado warning issued for Rock
Island county at 3:51 moving SE at 25.  A spotter reported rotation in the
clouds over East Moline at 3:54.  A severe tunderstrom warning  was issued at
4:02 for Henry county.
          There seemed to be a severe storm just to our NNE with another one
just to our WNW. In between the two there was an area of lighter precip. I
noticed a lowering left of the  NNE storm that may or may not of been part of
the gust front.  At 4:18 Rock Island reported a 91 MPH wind gust with
widespread wind damage throughout the city.
Then at 4:30, almost out of nowhere and without warning, a huge dust swirl
formed on the cornfield just northwest of us.  Yikes!  We zipped east with
the growing cloud on our tail while being blasted with 65-70 MPH winds and
with flying tree braches.  Then as we out ran it heading east, another cloud
developed about 1/2 mile south of us with still another about 1.5 miles SW.
The dust that was behind us disapeared.  We turned south on some county road
and I got a better look at the little swirls and clouds.  There indeed seemed
to be vortexes along the gustfornt and below them mini dust swirls,
gustnadoes! (got some video).  Then yet another one appeared just south about
1/2 mile with cars slamming on their brakes (we pulled off and parked) to
avoid driving into it.  I said enough is enough and we decided to head SE
towards Kewanee on highway 81.  The plan was to outflank the storm by heading
east then south (which was becoming harder to do with the storm now forming a
bow echo and heading almost  due south at 40). 
         At 4:50 a tornado warning was issued for northren Knox county. With
a severe thunderstorm warning issued for Peoria county at 5pm.   We were now
just west of Bradford (Stark county) on 93.  At 5:05 a brief tornado
touchdown was reported 5 miles west of Toulon which was about 15 SW of our
location. (one of the gustnadoes?).  We entered Bradford at 5:10 and the
warning for Peoria County was upgraded to a tornado warning at 5:13.  
        We were now heading south on IL 40(old 88) towards Peoria county with
the storm to our southwest. Then as we moved further south the storm was west
then finally WNW. At 5:20 a large wall cloud was reported with rotation near
Princeville about 10 miles SW of our present location.   The view on the
horizan was blocked by corn until a few minutes later.  The wallcloud was
indeed very large and now about 7 miles WSW of us.  Some small funnels
appeared to form and a spotter also reported funnels around 5:30.
 Unfortunately, rain  began to move in between us and the wallcloud blocking
our view as we continued south on IL 40.  It turned out we didn''t missed
much as the storm began to weaken as it approached Peoria. We continued our
chase into Tazewell county but not much else happened.
            To sum it up we saw two or three possible gustnadoes, a wall
cloud with small funnels, and 65-70 MPH wind gust.  All in all not a bad

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