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Midwest Tornado Outbreak June 5th, 2010 and Battle Creek Tornado Survey

Chase Stats
SPC Outlook: MDT
States Driven: MI, IL, IA
Departure City: Battle Creek, MI
Target City: Peoria, IL
Ending City: Joliet, IL
Outcome: Tornadoes (7), Wall Cloud
Chase Pics: Gallery

The SPC had a MDT risk for central Illinois, and after looking at the models the night before, and morning of, I decided that Peoria, IL was a good target. We left in the early afternoon, and headed west on I-94, and then continued on I-80. After looking at the visible satellite, most of Illinois was socked in clouds, so I made the decision to keep heading west, and go towards Galesburg, IL where it appeared there was a little bit more clearing. After arriving in Galesburg, I noticed it was also pretty cloudy, so we fueled up, and put rain-x on the windshield, and kept heading west. Eventually we made our way into Iowa, we headed just outside of Burlington, and parked. Now we would play the waiting game, which didn't take long as outside my window, I could see the base of a small storm. I looked on radar, and it was indeed showing up, but I waited a few more scans to see if it would mature. It did in fact mature, and eventually went on to become the supercell that produced all the tornadoes I saw that day.

We followed the storm back into Illinois, and watched it produce a few unorganized wall clouds. Finally, near Abingdon, IL, it produced an almost ground-scraping wall cloud. This "textbook" wall cloud was rotating, and we continued to follow it east. Just east of Maquon and south of the small town of Douglas on State Route 8, I looked to the north, and a long elephant trunk tornado was dancing its way in the field. Continuing east, we eventually took Highway 22 south, and pulled off to view the tornado.

I didn't even have time to grab my tripod, so I braced myself against the car, and shot video. Unfortunately we watched the tornado hit a barn on the north side of Yates city, and the wavy elephant trunk tornado kept on moving, and plowed right into Elmwood. We did not see any debris in the air or damage from our viewpoint, but downtown Elmwood got hit pretty hard with EF-2 damage.

Heading east again, we continued on the storm zig-zagging our way on the roads, dropping south when needed to account for a ESE storm movement. We observed multiple tornadoes including multi-vortex, and stovepipe. The storm was heading right for Peoria, and daylight was fading. It was becoming a dangerous situation for both chasers, and the citizens of Peoria. We were unable to view the storm by the time it got into Peoria due to roads and traffic as well as fading daylight. A tornado did touch down in the northwest outskirts of Peoria which was rated EF-0.

By this time, the chase was pretty much over, and we headed north for the night to find a hotel. On the way I edited some video, got it uploaded. We pulled into Dwight, IL to look for a hotel, but it was pitch black everywhere, and the only lights where from emergency vehicles. I was confused, but scanned back on the radar, and seen that they had taken a direct hit from a tornado. So we continued north to Joliet where we got a hotel and tried to get some sleep-which was a little difficult with Good Morning America calling wanting to do interviews in the morning, but that's just what happens. I finally did get to sleep, and GMA never did get back with me, although I did have to get up somewhat early to do two phone interviews with The Weather Channel.

Here is a Google Map I made of the Moderate Risk, Significant Tornado Risk, and some of the tornado tracks.

Later on in the night, the tornado threat shifted eastward into parts of MI, IN, and OH. My Mom called while we were headed towards Joliet, and said there was tornado warnings, and rotation within the storms. I quickly pulled up the GRR radar, and didnt notice any real strong rotation, and the line looked pretty linear in fashion, making it more of a high wind threat. I checked the radar again after a few minutes, and my jaw dropped. Never before had I seen a velocity couplet like this in Michigan, let alone four miles from my house. I called my Mom back, who was already at my Grandma's in the basement, and told her there had to be a tornado on the ground with that signature. Sure enough, it was confirmed that an EF-1 tornado did touchdown, and do damage in a residential area of Battle Creek. It blew out a garage on a house, and took the roofs off of a few houses, and a church. Nobody was hurt, but there was a lot to clean up afterwords. I have a gallery of pictures of the damage in Battle Creek, which can be found here.