Severe Weather Outbreak of May 30, 2004

Severe weather reports from May 29
Severe weather reports from May 29
Severe Weather Reports from May 30
Severe weather reports from May 30
Day 1 severe weather outlook, issued 3 pm
Severe Weather Outlook, issued 3 pm May 30

Significant severe weather outbreaks occurred across the nation Memorial Day weekend.  This had been expected for a number of days.  The outbreak on May 29 was across the Plains, and across the Midwest on May 30.

In Illinois, there were two periods of severe weather on May 30.  The first outbreak was during the morning, covering generally the northern half of the state.  The second outbreak occurred during the afternoon, affecting much of the state.

Local Storm Reports for May 30

In the Lincoln NWS county warning area, there were several dozen reports of severe weather (tornadoes, wind damage or gusts above 58 mph, or hail at least 3/4 inch in diameter).  Three tornadoes occurred.  One was a brief touchdown near Green Valley during the morning.  The other two, near Lincoln and Secor, are detailed below.

Tornado track from Eureka to Secor Woodford County(click image to enlarge)

On Memorial Day, the NWS and ESDA conducted a damage survey of eastern Woodford County

A small tornado touched down around 5:05 pm, about 1.5 miles southeast of Eureka.  The tornado was on the ground for 9 miles, lifting 2 miles northeast of Secor around 5:25 pm.  The maximum width was about 75 yards.

At a farm 3 miles west-southwest of Secor, the tornado destroyed 2 farm buildings, one grain bin, and a corn crib.  As it tracked east-northeast, it damaged trees, destroyed two old farm buildings, moved hay bales, and threw a medium size gas tank 1/2 mile.

This tornado was ranked F1 on the Fujita scale, with estimated wind speeds around 100 mph.

Tornado track south of Lincoln Logan County (click image to enlarge)

On Memorial Day, NWS personnel also conducted a storm damage survey in areas just south of Lincoln.

A small tornado briefly touched down around 5:57 pm in the Morningside mobile home park about 2 miles south of downtown Lincoln.  This tornado was about 40 yards wide, traveled about a tenth of a mile, and was of intensity F0 (with winds around 70 mph).  Similar strength straight-line winds caused damage in the surrounding area.  The tornado moved through a trailer park, damaging 28 of the 36 trailers; three others were demolished.  Three people were injured.

At this time, a wind gust of 57 mph was measured at the NWS office on the south side of the airport grounds.


Weather and Radar Images: (click to enlarge)

Surface map at 7 am CDT Surface weather observations for Illinois and nearby areas at 7 am.  Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) is indicated by the shaded areas (blue areas range from 1000 to 2000 J/kg), and Lifted Index values are in the blue lines.
Lincoln upper-air observation for 7 am The 7 am upper-air observation for Lincoln.  At this location, CAPE value is 1935 J/kg, with a lifted index of -6.8.
Surface map for 1 pm CDT The surface weather map at 1 pm.  Areas of northern Illinois had received strong to severe thunderstorms earlier, and the map indicates the cooler air in place over northern parts of the state as a result.  Across the south, CAPE values were surpassing 3,000 J/kg, and were over 4,500 J/kg in the red and pink areas.
Lincoln upper-air observation for 1 pm A special upper-air observation was taken at Lincoln at 1 pm.  Conditions had become a bit more stable at this location, due to earlier thunderstorms.
Surface map at 4 pm CDT By 4 pm, skies had cleared somewhat over much of Illinois, helping to refuel the atmosphere for the oncoming storms.  CAPE values had surpassed 5,000 J/kg in some areas, with lifted index values of -12.
Lincoln upper-air observation for 4 pm Another special upper-air observation was taken at 4 pm.  This indicated the air was recovering from the earlier storms and clouds, to help fuel the new storms.

Illinois radar image at 4:16 pm The Lincoln radar image from 4:16 pm showed the main line of severe thunderstorms moving in from Missouri, especially in the area from Galesburg to Quincy.  Isolated storms were developing ahead of the main line.
Woodford County radar image at 4:46 pm In this radar image from 4:46 pm, one of the isolated storms was beginning to indicate a hook-shape feature in northern Tazewell County, indicating potential tornado development.  Funnel clouds were reported in this area, but no tornado was on the ground at the time.
Storm Relative Motion image:  4:51 pm CDT The Storm Relative Motion image from 4:51 pm shows 3 angles of this storm; from top left, 1.5 degrees elevation, 2.4 degrees, and 3.4 degrees.  Rotation is indicated east of Washington, where the red and green shades come together near the Woodford County line.  (The radar site is located south of this location.)
Reflectivity image at 4:56 pm At 4:56 pm, the potentially tornadic storm was crossing the Woodford/Tazewell County line between Washington and Eureka.
Reflectivity image at 5:06 pm At 5:06 pm, the hook echo was persisting as the storm was in the Eureka area.  A tornado touched down about a mile southeast of Eureka at 5:05 pm.
Reflectivity image at 5:16 pm The storm was lifting northeast across Woodford County at 5:16 pm.   A tornado is still on the ground southwest of Secor.
Reflectivity image at 5:26pm By 5:26 pm, the tornado had dissipated at a point 2 miles northeast of Secor.  Another round of storms in the lower left part of the picture would move over Woodford County a little later.
Illinois radar image at 5:15 pm At 5:15 pm, radar showed the main line of storms approaching the Illinois River, while storms were increasing across south central Illinois along the I-70 corridor.
Logan County reflectivity image at 5:59 pm This radar image of Logan County was taken at 5:59 pm.  The radar site is in the middle of the black hole in the center of the picture.  Much of Logan County was covered by storms, except for the southwest quarter.
Storm Relative Motion:  5:59 pm The Storm Relative Motion image from 5:59 pm shows a small area of high wind speeds (greater than 65 mph) in the pink shades just south of the radar.  This is in the area where the tornado touched down in the Morningside mobile home park.  At this time, a wind gust of 57 mph occurred at the NWS office.
Illinois radar image at 6:33 pm By 6:30 pm, the storms were concentrated in areas east of the I-55 corridor.


Pictures (click images to enlarge):
Secor Tornado
Near Secor
(photo by Martin Hobbs)
Developing tornado near Secor
Near Secor (photo by Mike Oltman)
Tornado near Secor
Near Secor (photo by Mike Oltman)
Tornado near Secor
Near Secor (photo by Mike Oltman)
Tornado near Secor
Near Secor (photo by Mike Oltman)
While much of the funnel is not visible, the dust swirl on the ground indicates this is a tornado.
Near Secor (photo by Chris Novy)
A close-up image of the dust swirl shown in the picture to the left.
Near Secor (photo by Chris Novy)
The tornado continues to pass behind the grain elevators.
Near Secor (photo by Chris Novy)
The tornado passes behind several grain elevators.
Near Secor (photo by Chris Novy)
Tornado striking a corn field near Secor
Secor (photo by Becca Mazur)
Photo of a tornado and lightning strike near Secor on 5/30/04
This trailer in the Morningside mobile home park was demolished.
The path of the tornado was in the gap 
			in the trees, and lifted before reaching the buildings in the foreground.
Overturned trailer in the Morningside trailer park in Lincoln
Tree trunk broken, outside the NWS office in Lincoln
The roof was torn off this trailer near 
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