4/7/98 Chase Summary by Jerry Funfsinn

    The day started with a slight risk for part of IL. I wanted to chase but the northern half of IL was under rain showers most of the day and dew points were in the low 40's.The better dynamics were in S IL but the area has a lot of trees and hills so I decided to wait and see what developed. The clouds started to clear around noon in southern IL and dew points were up to 57 in Springfield.
    At 2:00 I was in the middle of selling a motorcycle when my tone alarm alerted me to a tornado watch for central IL. Well no sale today the weather is more important then money right? After gathering my gear and fumbling trying to install a tripod into my truck, I headed S from SpringValley on Rte 29. 
    At around 3:20 I broke out of the cloud's and rain and could see towers to the S. I decided to take Rte 24 S because storms were already firing to the SW. I crossed the bridge at Pekin and waited in case the storm crossed the river. Looking to my SW I could see part of an anvil and spotters were reporting hail with this storm. Well, I gambled and crossed the river again hoping it would stay to the W. 
    3:34 Lincoln office reports TVS with this storm. I took Cameron rd W to view the situation. Lots of trees and hills to block my view to the west, but winds were blowing strong from the SW. 3:37 at intersection of Tapping rd and Cameron lane I spotted a wall cloud. I could see cloud tags with rotation under it but the view of the base was blocked by tree's. After taking a few still pictures and filming with the camcorder on pause(oop's!). I headed W on Lancaster rd and stopped at 10300 W rd to get a better view.
    3:43 I came out of the tree's and had a good view to the W to see a developing funnel. At first I thought it was a rain shaft until I saw dancing funnels rotating around it. Sirens immediately went off and spotters were reporting a tornado on the ground at 3:45. I continued to view until it moved behind more tree's. I got back on Cameron lane and headed N and heard more reports of touch downs S of Hanna City. 
    I stopped at the intersection of Plank rd, and was amazed at the updraft. The base looked like a huge bowl and the tower looked like a heap of cotton balls. There were more reports of touchdowns, but all I could see was the wall cloud with the ground obscured by tree's. 
    I continued to follow the wall cloud on Taylor rd to Kickapoo and watch numerous funnels drop and disapate along the way. N of Kickapoo the storm weakened and died.
    I tried to pick up on the storms firing to the E, but blinding rain, hail and falling daylight cut off my chase. I pulled into my sisters house in German town hills just as marble hail was falling. I decided I had seen enough for one day.
    All in all a great chase with some lessons learned along the way.It was'nt the best chase country but considering what I saw I can't complain.Hats off to the spotters in the Peoria area ,they did an excellent job in reporting and they had a lot of participation due to it being late in the day.
   I tried to look for damage the next day but did'nt see any thing except broken tree tops. My view of the tornado was from three miles away and it appeared to touchdown in open feilds and wooded area I could'nt tell for sure. If anyone has pictures or video from another veiw I would be glad to swap.
    Stay tuned for my 4-15-98 Ohio,IL chase report. Happy Chasing!
   > Jerry Funfsinn  wdozfun@ivnet.com

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