May 23rd, 2020 | Pontiac to Loda, IL Supercells
May 23rd showed a lot of promise with a compact wave rotating into northern Illinois. A potentially volatile day was muted some when storms erupted around lunchtime, several hours before the environment had fully primed. A highly sheared wind profile was supportive of supercell thunderstorms, but without instability being maximized the tornado threat was not fully realized. We missed a brief tornado near El Paso, but enjoyed several hours of rotating wall clouds and classic supercell structure on a superll near Pontiac, and a second near Loda.
First view of the Pontiac supercell, early wall clouds:
Pontiac storm really losing intensity, even though wall cloud + big RFD cuts continue:
New storm catches our intention to the south. Day feels old, but it's only 4 PM, a testament to how early this day erupted:
New storm near Loda is pretty, but shows no immediate tornado threat:
Unwilling to follow this storm away from home into Indiana, but stopping to snap a few pictures along the way:
Stopped to grab a photo of "the cloud mobile" in front of the sunset. Severe weather/chase days often end with spectacular sunsets. Even though the day felt like a disappointment without a tornado after such high morning hopes, moments like this offer perspective. It was wonderful to be out on the road again, watching severe storms on the open prairie. Times are tough in 2020, but these moments are sweet. Warm summer breeze, orange cumulus over a sear of emerging crops, an entire summer storm observation season ahead. Exhale...