Severe Weather Climatology


Jump links:  Storm Data Reports, Yearly Statistics, Top 10 Illinois Tornado Disasters, F4/F5 Tornadoes in Illinois


Central and Southeast Illinois Storm Data Reports:

This section provides monthly summaries of significant weather reports across central and southeast Illinois.  (Click here to see a map of the coverage area included in these reports.)  These files are in PDF format.  Reports can involve severe weather, unusual heat or cold, flooding, winter weather, and excessive wind. Data on this page is available back to 2001.

IMPORTANT: These reports are preliminary, unofficial, and uncertified. For official, certified reports, please refer to the publication STORM DATA , published by the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC. Copies can be obtained from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) by calling (704) 271-4800, by e-mail to orders@ncdc.noaa.gov or online at www5.ncdc.noaa.gov/pubs/publications.html#SD . Online, you can look at monthly Storm Data reports with a PDF reader.

Please note that there is usually a lag time of a few months for the most recent data.

        

 

Severe Weather Climatology


Jump links:  Storm Data Reports, Yearly Statistics, Top 10 Illinois Tornado Disasters, F4/F5 Tornadoes in Illinois


Central and Southeast Illinois Storm Data Reports:

This section provides monthly summaries of significant weather reports across central and southeast Illinois.  (Click here to see a map of the coverage area included in these reports.)  These files are in PDF format.  Reports can involve severe weather, unusual heat or cold, flooding, winter weather, and excessive wind. Data on this page is available back to 2001.

IMPORTANT: These reports are preliminary, unofficial, and uncertified. For official, certified reports, please refer to the publication STORM DATA , published by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, NC. Copies can be obtained from the NCDC by calling (828) 271-4800, by e-mail to ncdc.orders@noaa.gov or online at www.ncdc.noaa.gov/IPS/sd/sd.html . Online, you can look at monthly Storm Data reports with a PDF reader.

Please note that there is usually a lag time of a few months for the most recent data.

        

 

For reports from other parts of Illinois, you can use the following links:


Yearly Tornado Statistics:

Specific breakdowns of tornado events over central and southeast Illinois are available in the links below.  These classify each tornado by location, intensity, path length and width, and time of occurrence.

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
2011 2012 2013 2014  

National monthly and yearly tornado statistics are available from the Storm Prediction Center's storm reports page.

Some statewide tornado statistics over the period 1950 through 2012:

Illinois tornadoes 1950-2012
Tornadoes reported in Illinois
Tornadoes by month 1950-2012
Illinois tornadoes by month
Tornadoes by hour
Illinois tornadoes by time of day

Top 10 Illinois Tornado Disasters:

Rank Date Main locations affected Casualties Peak Intensity
1 Mar. 18, 1925 Murphysboro, West Frankfort, DeSoto, Gorham 541 dead, >1500 injured F5
  The Great Tri-State Tornado traveled 219 miles from near Ellington, MO, across southern Illinois to near Princeton, IN.  A collective 695 people were killed across the 3 states, with over 2,000 injured.  In the first 120 mile stretch across Illinois, 541 people were killed, including 234 at Murphysboro, 148 at West Frankfort, and 60 at De Soto.  An overview of the event can be found at the Paducah NWS's Tri-State Tornado page.
2 May 27, 1896 East St. Louis, Belleville, New Baden, Nashville 140 dead, ~500 injured F4
  The deaths were the result of 3 separate tornadoes.  The first tornado, which had already killed 137 people in St. Louis, crossed the Mississippi River into East St. Louis and killed another 113 people.  Another tornado touched down southeast of East St. Louis and killed 24 people in the Belleville and Mascoutah areas.  A third tornado killed 3 people between Nashville and Mt. Vernon.
3 May 26, 1917 White Hall, Westervelt, Mattoon, Charleston 101 dead, 638 injured F4
  Once believed to be a single tornado with a path 293 miles long, this was later determined to be at least 4 to 8 separate tornadoes.  The main damage occurred in the Mattoon/Charleston area.  Mattoon lost 700 houses in a path about 2.5 blocks by 2.5 miles; Charleston lost 220 houses in an area 600 yards by 1.5 miles.  The death total included 53 at Mattoon and 38 at Charleston. An overview of the event can be found on our Mattoon/Charleston Tornado page.
4 Apr. 21, 1967 Belvidere, Elgin, Lake Zurich, Palos Hills, Chicago 57 dead, 1123 injured F4
  This was the result of 3 separate tornadoes.  One affected Belvidere and vicinity, killing 24 people and destroying about 400 cars at the Chrysler plant.  A second tornado touched down in Elgin and moved to Lake Zurich, causing $10 million damage.  The third tornado touched down near Palos Hills and moved across southern Chicago onto Lake Michigan.  This tornado killed 33 people and injured 500; many of these casualties were in vehicles stopped at traffic lights during rush hour.  Each of the 3 tornadoes were rated at peak intensities of F4.  An overview of the event can be found at this link, courtesy of the Chicago NWS.
5 May 18, 1883 Jacksonville, Literberry, Springfield, Kenney, Capron 52 dead, 200 injured F4
  At least 14 strong to violent tornadoes touched down in this outbreak.  The two strongest ones tracked from near Jacksonville to near Petersburg (12 killed), and from Springfield to Kenney (11 killed).
6 Mar. 19, 1948 Alton, Bunker Hill, Fosterburg, Gillespie 33 dead, 449 injured F4
  This tornado touched down in the early morning near Alton and moved northeast.  The death toll included 19 at Bunker Hill, 9 at Fosterburg, and 5 at Gillespie.  The tornado destroyed about half of Fosterburg and 80% of Bunker Hill.
7 June 3, 1860 Albany, Colo, Coloma, Tampico, Shabbona 31 dead, ~110 injured Unknown
  Originally called "The Great Tornado of the West", this was later determined to be a complex family of tornadoes.  The majority of the 124 overall deaths from these tornadoes occurred in Iowa.  The Illinois casualties mostly occurred with a tornado crossing the Mississippi River at Albany, later affecting areas northeast to the Sterling and Dixon areas.  A separate tornado further east killed 8 people.  An overview of the event can be found at this link, courtesy of the Quad Cities NWS.
8 Aug. 28, 1990 Plainfield, Joliet, Crest Hill 29 dead, 350 injured F5
  The worst of this tornado affected the Plainfield and Crest Hill areas, where F5 level damage produced losses around $165 million.  Three schools were destroyed (school was not in session at the time), and millions of dollars in damage also occurred to shopping malls and apartment complexes.  An overview of the event can be found at this link, courtesy of the Chicago NWS.
9 Feb. 19, 1888 Mount Vernon 24 dead, 80 injured F4
  On the ground for about 20 miles, this tornado devastated the southeast half of Mount Vernon, damaged or destroyed 300 homes and 50 businesses.  Overturned wood stoves ignited many fires.
10 Apr. 19, 1927 Carrollton, Springfield, Riverton, Chestnut, Cornland 21 dead, 60 injured F4
  This was the result of two separate tornadoes.  The first one began in Missouri and moved into Illinois near Hardin, and moved across Carrollton before lifting west of Springfield near Loami.  Eleven people were killed in Illinois.  The second tornado touched down on the southeast side of Springfield and moved northeast, destroying Buffalo Hart and much of Cornland.  This tornado killed 10 people.


Violent Tornadoes (F4 or F5) in Illinois since 1950
(Information courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center)

Mag:
Dth:
Inj:
PrD:
Magnitude
Deaths
Injuries
Property Damage
 
Location Affected (County) Date Time of Initial Touchdown
(CST)
Mag Dth Inj PrD
1  Lemay MO, Dupo IL (St Louis MO, St. Clair IL) 02/25/1956 12:25 AM F4 MO 3, IL 0 14 2.5M
2  Summerfield (St. Clair) 02/25/1956 01:15 AM F4 3 6 2.5M
3  Springfield (Sangamon) 06/14/1957 02:00 PM F4 2 50 2.5M
4  Mt. Vernon (Jefferson) 12/18/1957 03:55 PM F4 1 45 2.5M
5  Sunfield (Perry) 12/18/1957 04:35 PM F5 1 6 N/A
6  Gorham, Murphysboro (Jackson, Williamson, Franklin) 12/18/1957 04:45 PM F4 11 200 2.5M
St. Louis MO, Venice IL (St. Louis MO, Madison IL) 02/10/1959 02:15 AM F4 MO 21, IL 0 MO 345, IL 0 MO 10.0M,
IL 250K
8  Essex, Bourbonnais, Bradley (Kankakee IL, Newton IN, Jasper IN, Pulaski IN) 04/17/1963 03:55 PM F4 IL 1, IN 0 IL 50, IN 20 2.5M
9  Illiopolis, Niantic (Sangamon, Macon) 04/22/1963 05:30 PM F4 1 5 N/A
10  Crystal Lake, Wauconda (McHenry, Lake) 04/11/1965 03:20 PM F4 6 75 1.5M
11  Cherry Valley, Belvidere (Boone, McHenry) 04/21/1967 03:50 PM F4 24 500 25.0M
12  Elgin, Barrington Hills, Lake Zurich (Kane, Cook, Lake) 04/21/1967 05:10 PM F4 1 123 10.0M
13  Palos Hills, Oak Lawn, Chicago (Cook) 04/21/1967 05:24 PM F4 33 500 25.0M
14  Bement, Ivesdale, Sadorus, Ogden, Danville (Macon, Piatt, Champaign, Vermilion) 03/20/1976 01:15 PM F4 0 18 10.0M
15  Lemont, Downers Grove (Cook, DuPage) 06/13/1976 04:18 PM F4 2 23 13.0M
16  Kickapoo, Dunlap (Peoria) 06/29/1976 01:45 PM F4 0 0 250K
17  Granite City, Edwardsville (Madison) 04/03/1981 10:50 PM F4 0 32 25.0M
18  Carterville, Marion (Williamson) 05/29/1982 02:05 PM F4 10 181 250.0M
19  Allendale IL, Patton IL, Frichton IN (Wabash IL, Knox IN) 01/07/1989 05:24 PM F4 0 IL 50, IN 5 25.0M
20  Rinard, Clay City, Noble, Olney (Wayne, Clay, Richland) 06/02/1990 04:45 PM F4 0 2 N/A
21  Newton, Hunt City (Jasper) 06/02/1990 05:07 PM F4 0 6 N/A
22  Aden, Albion, Mt. Carmel IL; Hazleton, Bowman, Huron IN (Hamilton, Wayne, Edwards, Wabash IL; Knox, Gibson, Pike, Daviess, Martin, Orange IN) 06/02/1990 05:20 PM F4 IL 1, IN 0 IL 1, IN 10 2.5M
23  Oswego, Joliet, Plainfield, Crest Hill (Kendall, Will) 08/28/1990 02:37 PM F5 29 350 250.0M
24  Dallas City, Disco, Raritan (Hancock, Henderson, Warren) 05/13/1995 03:18 PM F4 0 7 10.0M
25  Ipava, Lewistown (Fulton) 05/13/1995 04:55 PM F4 0 45 6.0M
26  Grand Chain, Hillerman (Massac, Pulaski, Pope) 05/06/2003 08:32 PM F4 1 33 10.0M
27  Metamora, Roanoke (Woodford) 07/13/2004 01:34 PM F4 0 3 N/A
28  Harrisburg, Ridgway (Saline, Gallatin) 02/29/2012 04:51 AM EF4 8 95 N/A
29  Washington (Tazewell, Woodford, La Salle, Livingston) 11/17/2013 10:59 AM EF4 3 125 N/A
30  New Minden (Washington, Clinton) 11/17/2013 12:04 PM EF4 2 2 N/A

 


 

Other Severe Weather Links:

 


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