Continuing with the seemingly endless task of sorting through old pictures, I stumbled upon a series of unpublished images from an event I did not bother with as it wasn't very photogenic or interesting at the time. Since there isn't much going on right now I figured it might be worth another look.
On the morning of January 2, 2006 while watching TWC at work, an approaching system producing tornado warnings from outside of St. Louis was top news for the 6 o'clock hour (click for more info). Lifting out of the SW and expected to maintain intensity, a tornado watch was issued for the greater Central IL region. Timing as such to coincide with when my shift ended, I headed S to just N of Moweaqua IL in an attempt to observe a cell that appeared promising upon final glance before leaving. I wouldn't have data for another two years and instead, relied exclusively upon my Oregon Scientific Weather Radio for updates. Unable to get far enough S on US 51 so to be in the best position for the cell I was most concerned with, I pulled off and allowed it to pass to my S. The motion with the incoming line N of this area was still very intense and as later learned via conversation with the Weather Service, an unconfirmed tornado report was made with this particular cell. No mention of it appears on the SPC page for this day but to know that I may have missed something significant despite being so close is still disappointing. This could have potentially been the day of my first tornado observation but then again, who is really expecting to see such on a January morning? Looking back to the time before now when weather information is so easily available to anyone with a smartphone or laptop, I have to wonder how many people would still be involved considering the effort it once took to make informed decisions. Likewise, what I wouldn't give to go back to 2006 and the banner year it was for Illinois with the mobile data capability we have at our fingertips now.
Initial activity (archived radar c/o IEM).
Later, I'm at the white dot. Note the area of greatest intensity just below me.
Incoming facing W
Upon passage facing W