May 19, 2022  

With the limited amount of tornadic storm opportunities so for this year, my son Ryan and I took the chance on a day that looked to be more of a line of severe storms rather than a supercell situation. Ryan needed to put in a full day of work, so as we hit the road in the mid afternoon, a line of severe storms was already on-going in southern Missouri. Our hope was that we could get some isolated cells forming out in front of this complex as it worked its way eastward giving us a better chance at getting a tornado.

We made the decision to head over to the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. As we made our way eastward on Interstate 64 getting out in front of the line, there were a couple cells that formed out ahead of the advancing line. These isolated cells were right along the Mississippi River and moving north toward Interstate 64. Our original thought was to get east of the projected path and in a position to intercept on these northerly moving cells as they intesified.

As we watched those cells along the river, several new cells began forming a little further east of the other isolated cells, also south of the Interstate, so we adjusted our position a little further east. Then we noticed another cell intensifying further east down the highway near Sparta, Illinois. We decided to take our chance at that point and go after that storm. As we got up to the storm, it visually did not have a good look to it and definitely was not intesifying any longer, so we turned around at the next exit.
On a side note about this time, we find out that there is a tornado warning with a confirmed tornado back near home.  Ooof!!!!

We came back west toward those isolated storms we left earlier. On the way, we came upon a quickly intensifying cell right in front of us over the highway just west of Okawville, Illinois. Unlike the previous cell, this cell was well structured and had a solid look to it. We met the cell at the Damiansville, Illinois exit.  We exited the highway and followed the storm north.

Although this storm was not warned, there was a lot of movement and some rotation visable. At one point, a funnel cloud dipped down and remained persistent until it disappeared into the wrapping rain.

As we knew there were no more options for visuals on that storm, we looked at the radar for any other options. Just behind us to the south on the fast approaching line of storms, we see an extremely striking couplet. The couplet at this point was not tornado warned. We made sure we stayed just out of reach as now torrential rain was falling making any visuals impossible as the couplet worked its way north. The circulation became tornado warned as we moved along with it. The circulation moved just to the east of us as it passed by us hidden in the rain as we reached Interstate 70. This tornado was solidly on the ground near the town of St. Rose, Illinois and did damage to several farmsteads.

Couplet coming up behind us.  No warning.
Couplet along side. No visual. Now warned.
Right next to couplet.  Still hidden in rain.

As we hit Interstate 70, the intense line of severe storms with its hidden circulation had caught us and passed us.  From this point on, heavy rain was the only thing on the storm menu putting an end to our storm chase on this day.

UPDATE:  The Tornado hidden in the rain was declared an EF1 by the National Weather Service in their survey.

5 Hours  -  204 Miles

Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.

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