Severe Weather Outbreak of August 19, 2009
Quick Links: Synoptic Overview, Tornado Details (Manchester/Murrayville, Loami, Williamsville/Beason), Radar Images, Local Storm Reports, Photos,
Google - Storm Survey of the Manchester, Loami, Lake Springfield, Williamsville & rural Waynesville Tornadoes.
Severe thunderstorms moved across central Illinois during the afternoon hours of August 19. Damage was widespread over a large area (click on the image above). The greatest concentration of damage was across areas west and north of Springfield.
Weak high pressure moved into northern Illinois on Tuesday, August 18th, allowing slightly cooler and drier conditions to settle southward into central Illinois. As this high moved off to the east, the warm and very humid airmass that had been temporarily suppressed southward into the Ohio River Valley began making its northward return on August 19th. Scattered showers and thunderstorms began developing along the advancing warm front around midday, then became much more numerous during the afternoon, as an upper-level disturbance approached from the west. In addition, a Mesoscale Convective Vortex (MCV), associated with the remnants of a large thunderstorm complex across Kansas and Oklahoma during the previous night, tracked into central Illinois. This feature provided an extra kick, which enhanced lift and created vigorous updrafts within the developing thunderstorm cells.
More details can be found on the SWOP Severe Weather Event summary.
The Lincoln NWS conducted damage surveys by two survey teams on Thursday, August 20, plus an additional survey on Saturday. Also, county emergency management conducted damage surveys in their respective areas. The following is a summary of the findings:
Seven tornadoes hit central Illinois on August 19th. These are depicted on the map below. Click the image to enlarge. (Google Earth image used under license.)
NWS personnel from Lincoln and St. Louis determined this tornado touched down in extreme northern Greene County (St. Louis NWS coverage area) at 2:10 pm, approximately 4.5 miles south of Alsey. It crossed into Scott County (Lincoln NWS coverage area) and moved east-northeast through the extreme northern portion of Manchester. Continuing on this path, it crossed into Morgan County and passed about 1/2 mile south of Murrayville, before lifting 3.5 miles southwest of Franklin around 2:37 pm.
The tornado started out around 100 yards wide, and peaked at 250 yards wide in western Morgan County. It produced severe damage to a mobile home north of Manchester, damage to grain bins and machine sheds, and major tree and crop damage.
This tornado touched down in extreme eastern Morgan County, about 2 miles northeast of Franklin, at 2:46 pm. It crossed into Sangamon County and moved east-northeast through the southern portion of Loami. It lifted 4 miles northeast of Chatham at 3:16 pm.
The tornado started out around 200 yards wide, and peaked around a quarter mile wide in rural portions of eastern Morgan and western Sangamon Counties. It was about 200 yards wide as it passed through Loami, where 9 homes were destroyed and 15 others severely damaged. Along the remainder of the path, the tornado produced damage to several homes, machine sheds, and major tree and crop damage.
Tornado #3: Sangamon County (Lake Springfield)
Max Intensity: EF1 (100 mph)
Path Length: 13 miles
Max Width: 200 yards
This tornado first touched down 6 miles south-southeast of downtown Springfield (on the west bank of Lake Springfield) at 3:17 pm. The tornado crossed the lake and tracked to a point southeast of Rochester, then lifted 2 miles south-southeast of Mechanicsburg at 3:37 pm.
This tornado touched down on the west side of Williamsville, just west of I-55, at 3:19 pm. It destroyed an antique mall, damaged the Casey's and collapsed the canopy over the gas pumps. One person was injured at the mall, while 2 motorcyclists were injured when they were thrown from their bikes. The tornado moved northeast through Williamsville and hit a church, throwing a 2-horse trailer onto the roof and collapsing the roof over half of the building. One person inside the church was injured. The tornado then continued through the northern portion of town, doing damage to trees and some houses. Two homes lost their roofs and several others lost portions of their roofs. The tornado also caved in the southern end of a metal building, part of an agricultural business on the edge of town. The width of the tornado through town ranged from 100 to 150 yards. The max wind speed of 135 mph (EF2) in Williamsville was determined from the damage to the church.
Continuing east-northeast, the tornado flattened cornfields, damaged farm outbuildings and machine sheds, and damaged homes, garages, and vehicles on Lester Rd. One home was completely destroyed, and another had extensive damage, as the tornado widened to 600 yards at this point. A 19-month-old baby was injured as the family home was hit by the tornado. Maximum wind speed at this point was estimated at 140 mph (EF3). The tornado continued through fields, causing extensive crop damage, until crossing into Logan County around 3:26 pm. Path length through Sangamon County was 4.5 miles.
In Logan County, the tornado continued to move northeast, and widened to close to 1/2 mile at several places. Multiple homes had roofs and walls gone, outbuildings blown over a mile away, and grain bins blown away. The tornado continued to produce widespread tree damage and flattened many corn fields. In some places, the corn was laying in different directions, indicating the strength of the winds as it moved past. At some places, the tornado did weaken, which coincides with the rotation weakening on radar, but remained on the ground.
Wind speeds were estimated at 140 mph as the tornado crossed from Sangamon County, decreasing to 110 to 120 mph as it moved to areas between Lincoln and Mt. Pulaski. Two injuries occurred in Logan County, when two men were thrown from a maintenance building as the tornado hit. The tornado continued northeast before weakening to speeds of 90 to 100 mph, with a width of 50 to 100 yards. The tornado finally dissipated just east of Beason at 4:02 pm. The path length in Logan County was 20.7 miles.
Tornado #5: Dewitt County (Rural Waynesville tornado)
Max Intensity: EF0 (70 mph)
Path Length: 2.4 miles
Max Width: 15 yards
This tornado developed about 1.5 miles northeast of where the previous tornado dissipated. It formed at 4:04 pm in an open field about 5.2 miles south-southwest of Waynesville, or about 0.2 mile east of the Logan/DeWitt County line and 1 mile north of Illinois Route 10. The tornado did damage to crops and trees before it dissipated about 3.5 miles south-southeast of Waynesville at 4:09 pm.
Tornado #6: McLean County (Holder tornado)
Max Intensity: EF0 (70 mph)
Path Length: 2.5 miles
Max Width: 20 yards
This tornado touched down 3 miles south of Holder at 4:27 pm. It lifted 2.5 miles southeast of Holder at 4:34 pm.
Tornado #7: Vermilion County (Henning tornado)
Max Intensity: EF0 (80 mph)
Path Length: 4.5 miles
Max Width: 50 yards
This tornado touched down 3.5 miles northeast of Collision at 5:10 pm, and lifted at 5:18 pm one-half mile southeast of Henning.
Additional wind damage surveyed by county Emergency Managers:
Trees and crops were blown down...damage to pole barns and minor roof damage to a few homes. The damage area was from west of Secor to around 2 miles south of Minonk.
Trees blown down damaging 2 houses. Shingles torn off and additional house and 2 pole barns were blown down. Damage occurred 1.5 miles southwest of Weldon Springs State Park.
Numerous trees blown down in Mattoon and minor damage to roofs of homes and businesses. Additional trees blown down around Charleston.
|2:23 pm: The line of storms (shown on the reflectivity image on the left) was progressing through Morgan County. Along the border of southwest Morgan and southeast Scott Counties, the velocity image (right) shows a strong circulation, as indicated by the bright red and bright green echoes right next to each other, between Murrayville and Manchester. The tornado had been on the ground for 13 minutes at this point.|
|2:48 pm: The storms have begun entering western Sangamon County. The tornado, which touched down 2 minutes prior, is indicated by the circulation in the center of the right image, centered along the Morgan/Sangamon County line north of Waverly.|
|3:01 pm: As the line of storms pushes further into Sangamon County, the circulation center is located just east of Loami. A very broad circulation is indicated in northwest Sangamon County near Salisbury.|
3:18 pm: The line of storms is pushing through the Springfield area. Near Lake Springfield, a circulation is beginning to appear southwest of Rochester.
Further north, a strong circulation is shown in the velocity imagery just west of Williamsville. A tornado touches down a minute later on the west side of Williamsville.
|3:27 pm: The strong circulation signature continues as the northern storm has crossed into Logan County northeast of Williamsville. The reflectivy image on the left shows a strong curl south of Elkhart. However, the circulation signature east of Rochester has begun to weaken.|
|3:35 pm: The circulation from the Williamsville storm has reached to about midway between Elkhart and Mount Pulaski; the tornado has been on the ground for 17 minutes at this point. Futher south along the line of storms, some rotation continues to be seen from the Rochester storm, now located south of Mechanicsburg.|
PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LINCOLN IL 1032 PM CDT WED AUG 19 2009 ..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON... ..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE.... ..REMARKS.. 0214 PM TSTM WND DMG WOODSON 39.63N 90.22W 08/19/2009 MORGAN IL EMERGENCY MNGR POWERLINES DOWN ON CROW ROAD AND WOODSON BLACKTOP...TIME ESTIMATED BASED ON RADAR 0220 PM TORNADO 1 NE MANCHESTER 39.55N 90.32W 08/19/2009 SCOTT IL EMERGENCY MNGR *** 1 INJ *** MOBILE HOME DAMAGED...1 INJURY 0220 PM TORNADO 1 N MANCHESTER 39.56N 90.33W 08/19/2009 SCOTT IL TRAINED SPOTTER POWERLINES DOWN...MOBILE HOMES DAMAGED 0222 PM TORNADO 4 WSW MURRAYVILLE 39.56N 90.32W 08/19/2009 SCOTT IL TRAINED SPOTTER LOCATION ESTIMATED 0240 PM HEAVY RAIN VIRGINIA 39.95N 90.21W 08/19/2009 M1.20 INCH CASS IL CO-OP OBSERVER RAINFALL IN 20 MINUTES 0255 PM TORNADO LOAMI 39.67N 89.85W 08/19/2009 SANGAMON IL EMERGENCY MNGR POSSIBLE TORNADO TOUCHDOWN...DEBRIS REPORTED IN LOAMI 0300 PM TSTM WND GST LOAMI 39.67N 89.85W 08/19/2009 E60.00 MPH SANGAMON IL EMERGENCY MNGR ESTIMATED WIND GUST...TIME ESTIMATED 0300 PM TORNADO LOAMI 39.67N 89.85W 08/19/2009 SANGAMON IL EMERGENCY MNGR HOMES DAMAGED 0313 PM HEAVY RAIN ST. DAVID 40.49N 90.05W 08/19/2009 M2.32 INCH FULTON IL CO-OP OBSERVER 1 HOUR RAINFALL 0318 PM TSTM WND DMG PEORIA 40.74N 89.61W 08/19/2009 PEORIA IL EMERGENCY MNGR 9 INCH TREE DOWN ON GRANDVIEW DRIVE...TIME ESTIMATED 0318 PM FLOOD LEWISTOWN 40.40N 90.16W 08/19/2009 FULTON IL LAW ENFORCEMENT ROUTE 100 AND TAYLOR ROAD...STEET FLOODING IN LEWISTOWN 0323 PM TORNADO 3 E ROCHESTER 39.75N 89.49W 08/19/2009 SANGAMON IL NWS EMPLOYEE ROOFS AND SIDING DAMAGED ON HOME...TREES DOWN...COUPLE TREES LIFTED INTO CORN FIELD. 0325 PM TORNADO WILLIAMSVILLE 39.95N 89.56W 08/19/2009 SANGAMON IL EMERGENCY MNGR HOMES DAMAGED 0327 PM TORNADO 3 S ELKHART 39.98N 89.48W 08/19/2009 LOGAN IL EMERGENCY MNGR 15 HOMES DAMAGED IN ELKHART...1 INJURY 0330 PM TSTM WND DMG EUREKA 40.72N 89.28W 08/19/2009 WOODFORD IL EMERGENCY MNGR NUMEROUS TREES BROKEN 15-20 FEET IN THE AIR...SOME TREES 3 FEET IN DIAMETER...NEAR EUREKA COLLEGE...TIME ESTIMATED 0330 PM TSTM WND DMG MACKINAW 40.53N 89.36W 08/19/2009 TAZEWELL IL CO-OP OBSERVER 9 INCH TREE LIMBS DOWN...1.09 RAINFALL IN 30 MINUTE PERIOD...TIME ESTIMATED. 0330 PM TSTM WND DMG WASHINGTON 40.70N 89.44W 08/19/2009 TAZEWELL IL MESONET NUMEROUS TREE LIMBS DOWN. 0334 PM TSTM WND DMG LOAMI 39.67N 89.85W 08/19/2009 SANGAMON IL BROADCAST MEDIA TREES AND POWER LINES DOWN 0340 PM HEAVY RAIN LINCOLN 40.15N 89.37W 08/19/2009 M0.83 INCH LOGAN IL MESONET IN THE PAST 20 MINUTES...COCORAHS REPORT 0344 PM TSTM WND DMG EUREKA 40.72N 89.28W 08/19/2009 WOODFORD IL EMERGENCY MNGR TREES AND POWER LINES DOWN. 0345 PM TSTM WND DMG 3 E BENSON 40.85N 89.06W 08/19/2009 WOODFORD IL EMERGENCY MNGR BUILDING DAMAGED. ROOFING MATERIAL OFF BUILDING. CORNFIELD FLATTENED. NEAR MILE MARKER 23 ON INTERSTATE 39. REPORT FROM COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. 0350 PM TSTM WND DMG MANITO 40.42N 89.78W 08/19/2009 MASON IL MESONET 12 INCH DIAMETER TREE BLOWN DOWN. ADD ON PORCH WAS DAMAGED. MEASURE RAINFALL AT 1.42 INCHES. 0403 PM TSTM WND GST DECATUR 39.85N 88.93W 08/19/2009 M61.00 MPH MACON IL ASOS GUST MEASURED AT DECATUR AIRPORT ASOS 0405 PM TSTM WND DMG DECATUR 39.85N 88.93W 08/19/2009 MACON IL LAW ENFORCEMENT SEVERAL TREES ON POWER LINES. 0406 PM TSTM WND GST TAYLORVILLE 39.52N 89.26W 08/19/2009 M56.00 MPH CHRISTIAN IL AWOS REPORTED AT TAYLORVILLE AIRPORT...TIME ESTIMATED 0418 PM TSTM WND DMG 4 SE CLINTON 40.11N 88.91W 08/19/2009 DE WITT IL LAW ENFORCEMENT BETWEEN 418 AND 422...NEAR WELDON SPRING STATE PARK AND LANE...TREES DOWN ACROSS ROAD...HOMES DAMAGED...NEW SHED DAMAGED. 0420 PM TSTM WND DMG MONTICELLO 40.03N 88.57W 08/19/2009 PIATT IL MESONET NUMEROUS TREE LIMBS DOWN. AVERAGE 3 INCH DIAMETER. 0427 PM FLOOD NORMAL 40.52N 89.00W 08/19/2009 MCLEAN IL NWS EMPLOYEE FOOT OF WATER OVER ROAD IN NORMAL ON VERNON AVE. 0430 PM TSTM WND DMG HAMMOND 39.80N 88.59W 08/19/2009 PIATT IL CO-OP OBSERVER LARGE TREE FELL ON APARTMENT BUILDING. 0515 PM TSTM WND GST HENNING 40.31N 87.70W 08/19/2009 E70.00 MPH VERMILION IL EMERGENCY MNGR 0515 PM TORNADO 2 S HENNING 40.28N 87.70W 08/19/2009 VERMILION IL EMERGENCY MNGR HOME DAMAGED...2 MILES SOUTH OF HENNING NEAR COUNTY ROAD 2750 NORTH...REPORTED BY EMERGENCY MANAGER. 0515 PM TSTM WND DMG WINDSOR 39.44N 88.60W 08/19/2009 SHELBY IL LAW ENFORCEMENT POWER LINES DOWN IN WINDSOR AND SOUTH OF WINDSOR 0518 PM TORNADO 3 SSW HENNING 40.27N 87.72W 08/19/2009 VERMILION IL EMERGENCY MNGR FROM 518 PM TO 522 PM...PRELIMINARY DAMAGE SURVEY FROM EMERGENCY MANAGER OF A TOUCHDOWN 3 MILES SSW OF HENNING TO 1 MILE NE OF HENNING...CROPS...TREES...2 HOUSES AND NUMEROUS OUT BUILDINGS DAMAGED. 0520 PM HAIL DANVILLE 40.14N 87.62W 08/19/2009 M1.00 INCH VERMILION IL EMERGENCY MNGR INTERSECTION OF VERMILION AND ENGLISH STREET 0530 PM TSTM WND DMG MATTOON 39.48N 88.37W 08/19/2009 COLES IL TRAINED SPOTTER TREE DOWN NEAR MATTOON HIGH SCHOOL...WIND DAMAGE TO MATTOON DISPATCH CENTER. 0535 PM TSTM WND DMG MATTOON 39.48N 88.37W 08/19/2009 COLES IL BROADCAST MEDIA 21ST AND MARSHALL AVE...DAMAGE TO SEMI TRAILER TANKERS...METAL AROUND POLE...GAS STATION MAY HAVE BEEN DAMAGED. 0548 PM TSTM WND DMG NEOGA 39.32N 88.45W 08/19/2009 CUMBERLAND IL LAW ENFORCEMENT TREES AND POWER LINES DOWN 0826 PM FLASH FLOOD EFFINGHAM 39.12N 88.55W 08/19/2009 EFFINGHAM IL MESONET 1.99 INCHES OF RAIN IN 2 HOURS...FLOODED STREETS...OVERFLOWING DITCHES...TREE LIMBS DOWN...SWOP
Here is a listing of the 10 strongest tornadoes in Central Illinois since 1995:
1) F4 7/13/04 Roanoke - Parsons Plant...No damage estimate, 0 dead 3 injured
2) F4 5/13/95 Ipava - Lewistown......... $6 Million damage, 0 dead 45 injured
3) F3 4/19/96 Ogden.....................No damage estimate, 1 dead 13 injured
4) F3 5/10/03 South Pekin-Morton........$10 Million damage, 0 dead 32 injured
5) F3 4/19/96 Niantic - Decatur......... $9 Million damage, 0 dead 29 injured
6) F3 5/13/95 South Pekin - Tremont..... $4 Million damage, 0 dead 25 injured
7) F3 8/19/09 Williamsville - Beason....$18 Million damage, 0 dead 19 injured
8) F3 4/19/96 Savoy - Urbana............ $9 Million damage, 0 dead 12 injured
9) F3 5/09/95 Cantrall - Beason.........$10 Million damage, 0 dead 6 injured
10)F3 4/19/96 Armington - Funks Grove... $1 Million damage, 0 dead 0 injured