Northwest Illinois Landspouts - June 14, 2003 

Six tornadoes and one funnel cloud were observed over northwest Illinois (Stephenson and Carroll counties) during the afternoon of June 14, 2003.  


Location of Tornadoes

The location of the tornadoes in northwest Illinois is denoted by a T. The NWS Quad Cities radar is located to the southwest, in the lower left corner. (photo courtesy of NWS)


The environment on June 14, 2003 is characteristic of landspout events, where instability was moderate and shear was quite weak.  A landspout is a tornado that does not arise from organized storm-scale rotation and therefore is not associated with a wall cloud (visually) or a mesocyclone (on radar).  Landspouts typically are observed beneath towering cumulus clouds (often as no more than a dust whirl), and essentially are the land-based equivalents of waterspouts. 

The landspouts appeared to form with these storms on the lake enhanced boundary, which provided the focus for convective initiation of showers and weak thunderstorms.  The slow moving, short-lived tornadoes produced no damage (F0), though they were highly visible to the public since they occured on a Saturday afternoon when many people were outdoors.  



Landspout in Northwest IL

Photo of one of the six tornadoes that occurred in northwest Illinois. 
(Photo courtesy of Greg Munda)

Landspout in Northwest IL

Landspout in Northwest Illinois on June 14, 2003. (Photo courtesy of unknown)

Landspout in Northwest IL
Landspout in Northwest Illinois on June 14, 2003.  (Photo courtesy of unknown)


Radar Image from 2023Z
Reflectivity image from NWS Quad Cities, IA/IL at 2023Z showing storms over Stephenson and Carroll counties. (photo courtesy of NWS) is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.