East Peoria Tornado of May 18, 2004


Strong to severe thunderstorms developed in the middle Illinois River Valley late in the afternoon of May 18.  A brief tornado touched down in East Peoria (click map to enlarge):

Map of East Peoria, with track of tornado

NWS personnel conducted a storm damage survey of the area, and confirmed the touchdown.

The tornado touched down about 1/2 mile west of Fondulac Dam around 5:06 pm, and lifted about 1/4 mile west of the dam around 5:08 pm.  This tornado traveled about a quarter mile along Coventry Lane, and was about 50 yards wide.  Winds were estimated to be around 80 mph, making the tornado an F1 on the Fujita Scale.

The damage from this short lived tornado was mainly to large trees, with a number of them falling on homes.  Two homes had their roofs lifted off, with several others having minor roof damage, mainly shingles being blown off.

Radar reflectivity image at 5:00 pm
Figure 1
Storm Relative Motion image at 5:00 pm
Figure 2
Radar reflectivity image at 5:05 pm
Figure 3
Storm Relative Motion image at 5:05 pm
Figure 4

This tornado was spawned by a large thunderstorm cluster which moved across the Peoria metro area (figure 1, 5:00 pm).  At this time, a circulation was evident in radar imagery (figure 2, just south of the "Peoria" label on the map).  By 5:05 pm, the heart of the storm was moving into East Peoria (figure 3), and the circulation was present over the northeast part of East Peoria (figure 4).  In addition to the tornado, straight-line wind damage occurred along highway 116 at 5:05 pm, and wind damage occurred in the city of Peoria around 5:00 pm.

Pictures (click images to enlarge):
 
Damage to a roof Damage to a house Tree damage
Split tree falls on a roof
(photo by Bill Nowlin)
Tree damage in front of a house
(photo by Bill Nowlin)
Roof damage on house
(photo by Bill Nowlin)

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