8/03/97 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 chase.
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