April 16th, 2006 Illinois Easter Tornado Outbreak
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Easter Sunday in Central Illinois:
Simon Brewer, Lela Knight, and Shawn Maroney were tired from the day before in Nebraska. The chasers positioned themselves in Lincoln, IL ahead of a surface trough located approximately 60 miles to their west.
A vertically stacked low pressure system was slowly moving across central Iowa with a surface trough/dryline trailing to the south and east. The chasers positioned themselves on the southern edge of a thick cirrus canopy hoping for an increase in the instability in this region.
Towers fired along the surface trough not long after noon and supercells quickly developed. The chasers caught a cell north of Lincoln, IL and followed it east-northeast to Bloomington, IL. Just west of Bloomington, IL the chasers watched a brief large tornado develop under a rapidly rotating wall cloud just before the circulation was completely wrapped in rain. This supercell then became a huge HP mess, so the chasers dived south and east to a couple of LP supercells near Effingham, IL.
Near the Newton, IL area the chasers intercepted the southern supercell and witnessed rapid rotation. The wall cloud had already developed and a dusty tornado quickly developed. A bowl funnel soon became apparent over the growing and intensifying dusty ground circulation. The chasers were positioned approximately a half mile from the tornado as it passed to their south. The tornado continued to intensify and a skinny cone funnel dived into the dusty debris cloud.
The tornado then transformed from cone to elephant trunk and then to stovepipe as the chasers followed closely to its west. The tornado eventually became wrapped in rain and the meso became completely occluded. The chasers witness a very quick rope-out-stage as a new meso developed to their east.
More brief tornadoes were witnessed as the storm cycled and moved almost due east with a slight jog to the south. The storm eventually was cut off by the strong CAP and died in southwestern Indiana.
The chasers witnessed approximately 5 separate tornadoes on this day, but only one was on the ground for a significant period of time.