Day 6 - Upside down day

06 June 2011

The day started with a rude awakening at 5:30am to hail and lightening outside the car. We didn't find it rude at all though! I pinched Tim and uttered "thunder" and we fell back asleep to rumblings all around. A few hours later and it hadn't stopped. This time, more awake, we got out to take some photos of the storm cell hanging over the Walmart car park in West Burlington, Iowa.

To see lightening that close having only been awake 15 minutes is weird and awesome. Filled with the hope of something similar to the previous day, or at least some storms, we left the vicinity of Walmart and tried to follow the storm on its journey. It was quite fast moving though and before long was out of sight.

There were a few little thunderstorms building up behind and we drove south to try to get on these, but they soon fizzled out, leaving some undulating textured clouds in their wake.

The scenery was great through and the drive took us through some proper old school mid-western towns near the Iowa / Illinois border. Local villagers waved as you drove through purely because they don't usually see many people other than their own town folk; they really are such friendly people.

We parked up in a town called Quincy in Illinois. Due to having little joy with our internet connection, we used the WiFi in a McDonalds carpark. To repay the favour we bought some fries and a strawberry milkshake, with the standard whipped cream and cherry on top of course.

Unfortunately though, the day was soon becoming like one of those most people on holiday would hope for; temperatures in the 90s and bright blue skies. We sought out the pleasantries of a riverside park, but this time took towels, sunglasses, water and a book!

It was Sunday afternoon and the local community were having a mini festival by the river in aid of supporting local fishermen (we think). The biker fraternity turned up and everyone started rocking out to the generic rock band that had rocked up to entertain the modest crowd. It was quite cute.

We bought a beer and sat in the porch area of the local bar and laughed at ourselves for a bit. Nothing was happening anywhere in the area to get excited about; clear skies across all neighbouring states. Sometimes though this can be a good thing as it gives the surface the maximum amount of time to heat up and this diurnal heating can trigger storms late in the afternoon / early evening.

We looked at the models again to see if there was any sign of this happening, but nothing was apparent. We checked to see what may be in store for the next day - there was potentially something up in Montana, but at this time in the afternoon it would mean shift driving for 24 hours and that wasn't a great idea on such little sleep. A slight risk still existed in more eastern parts of the Conus, so we decided to stick with that. This meant returning north from where we were.

On our way, we pulled up in a park to watch the sunset. Mr Pilkington is with us too on this trip. He's always keeping both eyes out for storms but today he had to make do with sliding down the seatbelt for amusement.

The sunset was beautiful and we captured a few shots.

Even though we had decided to stick with the more eastern risk for the following day, the journey to the target destination still called for 9 hours driving, so we decided to call it quits on the day and treated ourselves to a motel and a shower back in Burlington, the town where our day had started, had a beer and went to bed, setting the alarm for our 6 o'clock start.

SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Mon June 2011

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Mon June 2011

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