Tornado Climatology for Central and Southeast Illinois
Tornadoes have been common across central Illinois over the years, with lesser totals reported across southeast portions of the state. The map below shows the number of tornadoes reported across the Lincoln NWS's County Warning Area between 1950 and 2014. By clicking on any of the counties, you can get more detailed information on the tornadoes reported in those counties since 1950. (Information on other counties in Illinois can be obtained from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center's Tornado Tracks page.)
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While some of the disparity can be attributed to differing weather conditions, some of it is also due to the organization of storm spotter networks, with an overall upward trend in reported tornadoes as the years progressed. To try and account for this, we have also normalized the reports of tornadoes per 100 square miles, instead of just by county boundaries:
100 square miles
Direction of Tornado Movement
The image at left shows the prevailing directions that the tornadoes move from in this area. For example, the 36% along the southwest axis of the graph means that 36% of the tornadoes moved from the southwest to the northeast. Most of the tornadoes in this area moved toward the northeast to east. Fewer tornadoes moved in a southeast direction. Only a handful moved in other directions (shown in the inset at the lower right corner of the image). Click on the image to enlarge.
The database from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) was used to create these pages. Besides the tornado information, NCDC's Interactive Database can be used to retrieve information regarding hail, winter storms, and other hazards. Also check out NCDC's U.S. Tornado Climatology page, and SPC's GIS-enabled Severe Weather Climatology page. Similar maps for other Illinois counties are available at the Illinois State Climatologist web page.
Some other items to consider when reviewing these pages: