Thursday, May 10, 2012

First Week of May

Without a doubt it has been a busy time since the start of the month. Beginning with Tuesday the 1st, we had an intense supercell complex mushroom up just to the east of Decatur that would produce numerous tornadoes in East Central Illinois. Going off of a generous heads up from Andrew Pritchard who saw the potential for this to occur during the night before, I made it a point to be watchful for anything that fired during the early afternoon. Just prior to initiation while running errands down near Assumption, I happened to encounter a "bugnado" which is the unofficial name for a violently rotating column of insects. I first heard of this phenomena through Mike Hollingshead though I never believed I would witness it for myself. A short while later while stopping to simply observe early towers that were the genesis of what would come later, I spotted an uninterested garter snake but not before almost stepping on it lol.

Turning attention to the tornado event, the first image sample below featuring a funnel cloud over Piatt County that would eventually produce an initial touchdown was just business as usual for the distant turkey buzzard being harassed by the red winged blackbird. The second image which is the one to go somewhat viral was from SW of Champaign and is the second tornado of the event. The third image is a driving phone pic from around the time of the third tornado touchdown. It was the best I could do to document the multiple funnels that were rapidly rotating under the parent updraft region. The video element is a slideshow of the gallery images with a time lapse clip at the end showing the departing storm as it was crossing over into Indiana.

It would only be fitting that after such an incredible experience, irony would rear it's ugly head and manifest as car problems. On the night of the 3rd, a line of strong storms with vivid lightning drifted across extreme Northern Illinois yet could be seen from down here. I stepped out early with the intent of heading into the country and shooting before work only to find that replacing a distributor cap a few days prior did not solve an ongoing starting problem. Fortunately I had access to a loaner vehicle thus enabling me to fulfill the mission of the time but until I figure out what is wrong with my truck and get the necessary funds to correct it, I am pretty much sidelined. So as for this particular session, I only had a 20 minute window which turned out to be plenty. A well timed rouge cell halfway between my location and the main activity up north developed and upon maturation kicked off a few sparks. Likewise, a meteor fired in another frame so for shooting continuous, I walked away with the material necessary for individual stills, a stack and a time lapse. The moment was made complete with the sound of killdeer as well as some other bird species off in the distance. Recording video so to obtain audio, you can experience the peacefulness for yourself.

On the overnight into the 7th we had a number of non severe but highly electrified pulse type storms develop around the region. At my location an outflow generated arcus cloud would form and go right overhead thus offering up a final time lapse opportunity before we slipped into the extended period of quiet we are currently experiencing.

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