A powerful system lifting out of the southwest produced multiple tornado warnings all the way from St. Louis through East Central Illinois. Initially I was going to head out and spot to the immediate south but decided against when it was clear that this was not a safe situation due to heavy rain accompanying the main line. Opting to watch from a third story balcony, a particular cell captured my interest on velocity as the area of concern to come through Macon County was within the notch of the parent mesolow where conditions tend to be most favorable for enhanced rotation. A tornado warning would soon be issued as would the sirens begin to sound. Shooting continuous but remaining cautious, I was able to capture the mesocyclone as passed to my south before it was time to exit. Per the velocity capture below, the red dot above 'Decatur' is my Spotter Network icon.
16 frame animation facing due south, note the rotation even though it is buried in rain. A prime example of why nocturnal situations can be very dangerous.
Lightning activity from behind the complex as it exited the region later.
Through the overnight I heard numerous reports of significant damage occurring 2.3 miles south of where I was shooting so at daybreak, I went for a look. A concentrated path of damage carving through Graceland Cemetery crossed Oakland and into an adjacent residential area. At the time of this post it is uncertain what the official word is on whether it was tornado or straight line wind. Given the twisting nature of the trees from their trunks/foundation coupled with a narrow path that didn't spread out as is typical with downburst winds, I'm of the opinion it was tornadic though it may very well be ruled otherwise.
The above is the other part of this and was lofted over a four lane roadway.
Note the flowers.
Sadly, on this same day, respected veteran storm chaser and pioneer in the science of meteorology Tim Samaras, his talented son Paul Samaras and their esteemed partner Carl Young were taken in a violent tornado to develop at El Reno Oklahoma. I did not know these men but their manner of observation as being both safety conscious as well as low key and professional was second to none. Even as someone to merely follow their work from afar, these gentlemen were the absolute last people anyone would expect to end up in a perilous situation. The weather and chase community is in a complete state of disbelief. My heart is heavy for those distant friends and acquaintances, most for whom I have never met that are struggling with this unfortunate event. More information c/o TWC.