Strong Winds of Mothers Day 2008 (May 11)
Unseasonably strong low pressure moved across Illinois early on Mothers Day (May 11) 2008. The low took a general track from Quincy, to Lincoln, to Danville. During the process, it rapidly intensified, with the central pressure falling 0.27 inches in about 7 hours. By the time the system reached Danville, the pressure had fallen to 29.08 inches (reduced to sea level), threatening May record low pressure values in some areas.
While winds were rather gusty ahead of this low, the highest winds occurred later on in the day, after the low center had passed. The strong pressure gradient (change in barometric pressure) was the source of the strong winds. During much of the day, winds were averaging in the 25 to 40 mph range. Gusts of 40 to 50 mph were common, with some areas near 60 mph at times.
The image above (click to enlarge) shows the highest wind gusts measured across the region. Wind gusts of 61 mph were recorded at the Macomb airport and near Pawnee (south of Springfield), with 60 mph on the west side of Decatur. Other high gusts included 58 mph at the Quincy airport and near Homer (southeast of Champaign), and 55 mph at the Champaign airport.
The strong winds resulted in damage to numerous tree limbs, and some structures as well. Power outages were observed in many areas.