September Weather Trivia for Illinois

September 1, 1984
The new month started out hot in central Illinois, with temperatures near the century mark. Springfield's high of 101 degrees established a record for the month. Since weather records began in Springfield in 1879, 11 days in September have had highs of 100 degrees or higher.

September 2, 1979
A record dry month was beginning across central Illinois.  In Springfield, only a trace of rain fell during the entire month.  This broke the month's record of 0.14 inches, set in 1939.  This also marked the driest month ever in Springfield, and is the only month that has never had any measurable rainfall.  Peoria registered just 0.03 inch and Decatur 0.02 inch, a record low for September and a tie for the driest month ever.

September 3, 2002
A prolonged summer drought in southern Illinois gradually worsened, becoming severe by early September.  Many parts of southern Illinois received little measurable rainfall since July.  The main effect of the drought was on agriculture.  Crop loss estimates totaled around $53 million.  The corn crop, which was especially susceptible to the combined effects of heat and drought, took the biggest hit.  A few outdoor fires broke out, including a 20-acre blaze in Saline County, several miles west of Eldorado.  The remnants of Tropical Storm Isidore provided much-needed heavy rainfall late in September.  One to 3 inches of rain fell over most of southern Illinois from this storm, which greatly eased the drought.

September 4, 1969
A strong tornado touched down in Kankakee County, damaging 4 homes near St. Anne.  Other farm buildings were damaged along the 2.5 mile path.

September 4, 2006
A slow moving low pressure system triggered scattered thunderstorms across northern Illinois during the afternoon. A series of slow moving storms moved into and sat over the east side of Rockford. As much as 5 to 10 inches of rain fell in a localized area, while less than 3/4 inch fell nearby at the airport. The heavy rain produced severe flooding of Keith Creek in the late afternoon and early evening. Hundreds of basements were flooded and 15 homes were left uninhabitable. Streets and parking lots were flooded and cars were submerged in water. Damage was estimated around $20 million.

September 5, 1899
Peoria reported a high temperature of 104 degrees, establishing its September record high temperature. This was the first of 3 straight days of highs 100 or above. A temperature of 102 degrees at Champaign also established a September record.

September 5, 1954
An late-season 3-day heat wave began in central Illinois, with high temperatures of 100 degrees or higher widespread. The warmest readings on this date included 105 degrees at Paris and 104 at Decatur.

September 6, 1996
A thunderstorm produced very heavy rain in western and southern parts of Quincy. Local storm sewers were pushed to capacity, causing a discharge valve to automatically open to handle the overflow. This forced raw sewage into Curtis Creek, killing over 14,000 fish.

September 7, 2009
Most Illinois tornadoes tend to move from southwest to northeast at 30 to 40 mph. However, they can move as fast at 70 mph, especially in the spring. Most are small and short lived, with winds less than 100 mph. However, stronger tornadoes with 100 to 200 mph winds do occur. Tornadoes with winds over 200 mph are quite rare in the state, but have been known to occur; the last one was recorded in 1990.

September 8, 1996
A severe thunderstorm in western Douglas County blew the roof off a barn near the town of Garrett, while lightning struck a second building. Damage from the subsequent fire was near $10,000.  Numerous tree limbs and power poles were blown down as the storm moved to Tuscola. In Villa Grove, the storm blew over a tree, which fell onto a car.

September 9, 1875
A tornado touched down in the city of Normal, and moved to the northeast. Dozens of trees were uprooted, and a large brick house had its third story torn off and scattered for over a mile.  Two people were injured.

September 10, 2009
Volunteer weather observers are a significant part of the climatology program in the United States. Approximately 11,000 "cooperative observers", as they are called, take measurements daily of temperature, precipitation, and river levels. In the state of Illinois, there are approximately 300 cooperative observers, averaging about 3 per county.

September 11, 1974
A flash flood affected parts of southeast Illinois during the late night hours. Most of the flooding occurred in Clark, Crawford, and Lawrence Counties. In the town of Birds, in far northern Lawrence County, 75 families were evacuated due to flood waters. 5 bridges were washed out, causing $250,000 damage.

September 12, 1961
A two day rainstorm deluged Peoria with 6.33 inches of rain. The 4.11 inch total on the 13th was the most to ever fall in a single September day in the city.

September 13, 1939
A 4-day heat wave began across central Illinois. Springfield recorded highs of 100 degrees or higher on each day from the 13-16th. Record highs were also established in Peoria, Decatur, and Champaign during this time.

September 14, 1928
A violent tornado, estimated at F4 intensity with winds over 200 mph, tore across Rockford.  The tornado first touched down 8 miles south southwest of Rockford, and moved across the southeast part of the city.  Four factories were damaged or destroyed, including the Rockford Chair and Furniture Company.  Eight workers were killed there when the 3-story building collapsed.  About a mile downstream, 3 boys were killed in a garage.  The tornado was on the ground for 26 miles, dissipating in Boone County near Capron.  A total of 14 people were killed, with around 100 injuries reported.

September 14, 1965
A tornado moved across the northwest part of Peoria. A brick school lost its roofs and a wall. Three homes were destroyed, and several industrial buildings were damaged. 30 people were injured.

September 14, 2008
The remnants of Hurricane Ike tracked across southern Illinois, producing numerous wind gusts of 50 to 75 mph, with the strongest winds along the Ohio River.  Two to 5 inches of rain also occurred, and combined with the lingering runoff due to Hurricane Gustav remnants a few days earlier to produce widespread flooding.  Some areas received up to 9 inches of rain between the two events, southwest of Peoria and southeast of Springfield.

September 15, 1931
The Champaign/Urbana area logged its wettest September day on record. Total rainfall for the date was 3.91 inches.

September 16, 1916
Champaign's earliest freezing temperature on record was registered. A typical year in Champaign wouldn't  see a freeze occur for another month.

September 17, 1918
September of 1918 was the coldest September on record in much of central Illinois. Average temperatures of 58.2 degrees at Peoria, 58.6 degrees in Champaign and 60.4 degrees in Springfield still stand as records for these locations.

September 18, 1886
A tornado moved along the Des Plaines River in northeast Illinois, hitting the city of Joliet. The tornado destroyed 20 homes, 10 barns, two factories, and a grain elevator; a bridge was moved intact for two blocks. 20 people were injured, but the loud roar of the approaching tornado allowed residents time to take shelter, so no one was killed.

September 19, 2002
Strong to severe thunderstorms moved across parts of north central and northeast Illinois.  In McHenry County, 2.4 inches of rain fell in Harvard in 35 minutes, producing some street flooding.

September 20, 1986
Flash flooding occurred in parts of central Illinois, primarily from near Peoria and Lincoln eastward to Bloomington, as rainfall amounts ranged from 3 to 7 inches. Bloomington reported 7.12 inches between midnight and 4 am, causing significant flooding.

September 20, 1991
Peoria recorded its earliest freeze on record; the normal first freeze isn't until October 17th. This is also the only time in Peoria's recorded history that a freeze has occurred during astronomical summer.

September 21, 1961
Peoria's wettest month on record occurred in September of 1961,  when a grand total of 13.09 inches of rain fell. Nearly half of this occurred during a two day span on the 12th and 13th, when 6.33 inches of rain fell.

September 22, 2005
Scattered thunderstorms developed along an outflow boundary across northwest Illinois, in a moist to near tropical atmosphere. A lone storm developed into a supercell across Bureau County, and produced hail up to baseball size. In Princeton, a car dealership had 400 of its 500 cars damaged by the storm.

September 22, 2006
A strong tornado, which contained peak winds near 160 mph, struck between Joppa and the Metropolis airport in extreme southern Illinois. The damage path started about a mile from the Ohio River, where F1 winds uprooted numerous trees. As the tornado crossed U.S. Highway 45 near Joppa Road, a barn was destroyed. The tornado then strengthened to F3 intensity, destroying a log home. The roof and an exterior wall of the well-constructed log home were blown about 1/2 mile.Another house nearby sustained major damage. Four mobile homes were destroyed, along with garages and outbuildings. Part of a double wide mobile home blew into a church sanctuary. Two people were injured when a mobile home was destroyed. Another tornado moved into far southwest Illinois from Missouri, where it had been at F4 intensity; it produced F2 damage across portions of Jackson County, with estimated winds around 150 mph. In northeast Illinois, a tornado briefly touched down on the Loyola University campus in Chicago, then moved onto Lake Michigan.

September 23, 1977
A tornado crossing the Mississippi River into Adams County reportedly pulled water 50 feet into the air.  The tornado lifted near Marblehead, where 3 people were injured in a trailer.

September 23, 1995
Autumn was only a couple days old when Springfield recorded its earliest 32 degree temperature on record.  This normally wouldn't occur for another month.

September 24, 1881
A tornado touched down in Brown County near Clayton, and moved northeast to Camden, in western Schuyler County. 33 of the 39 homes in Camden were damaged or destroyed. One person was killed, and 10 injured.

September 25, 1942
Springfield reported a few flurries, marking the only time it has snowed in the capital city in September, since weather records began in 1879. Further north, Peoria reported a full inch of snow, the earliest snowfall on record and a record total for the month of September.

September 26, 1959
Springfield's Capital Airport was the recipient of a 5.12 inch downpour of rain. This is a record for the most rain in a single day in September.

September 27, 1926
Springfield's wettest month on record was coming to an end. A grand total of 15.16 inches of rain was measured. Champaign saw its wettest September on record during that time, with a total of 9.76 inches of rain. Peoria's 11.55 inches stands as the 3rd wettest September on record in that city, while 16.56 inches at Decatur was a month record and the second wettest month ever.

September 28, 1939
Springfield finally reported measurable precipitation, ending a 37 day streak of precipitation totals no greater than a trace.  The month finished with a total of 0.14 inches, which stood as the driest September on record until 1979.

September 28, 1942
Unseasonably cold weather brought September record low temperatures to Peoria, at 24 degrees, and Champaign, at 29 degrees. Records for the date were set at Springfield, Lincoln, and Decatur.

September 28, 1972
A strong tornado moved across Lake County, from North Chicago to Lake Michigan, around sunrise.  $1 million damage was reported, much of it to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where many barracks were destroyed.

September 29, 1927
A tornado in downtown St. Louis crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois, killing 7 people in Illinois and 72 in St. Louis before dissipating near Granite City. Six of the Illinois deaths occurred when a crucible of molten metal was overturned by the tornado. Debris was carried for 50 miles. The tornado followed a path similar to other tornadoes which occurred in 1871 and 1896.

September 29, 1986
Severe thunderstorms moved across central Illinois, causing damage along a 55 mile path. Two tornadoes occurred, but most of the damage was caused by high winds. Hundreds of structures were damaged or destroyed, including a large microwave tower near Lexington, in northern McLean County. Total damage was around $4.2 million.

September 30, 1977
A thunderstorm brought Springfield some of its heaviest short-term rainfall totals on record. 1.05 inches of rain fell in only 5 minutes. The 10-minute total was 1.42 inches, which grew to 1.5 inches by the end of the 15-minute period. Later in the day, severe thunderstorms produced $20 million damage in far east central Illinois, around Danville; 30,000 acres of crops were destroyed by hail.


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