We’ve Seen the Most Tornado Warnings in Central Illinois So Far This Year Since 2011

Local News

LINCOLN, Ill. (WCIA) – If you’ve felt like there’s been more tornado weather this year than in recent years, you’d be right.

Data put together from the National Weather Service Offices in Chicago, Lincoln and St. Louis for Illinois Counties in the WCIA 3 Viewing Area show that we’ve seen the most tornado warnings issued this year so far since 2011.

This comes after Central Illinois saw the 6th slowest start to the severe weather season through May.

Data was pulled showing tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings issued by the NWS for all Illinois Counties in Central Illinois. Warnings were included if part of any Illinois county covered by WCIA was included in the warning. The data shows the most active year was 2011, which was an extremely active year for severe weather across much of the Country.

The interesting point so far this year is that for every 3 warnings issued by the NWS Offices for our viewing area, one of those (32%) has been a tornado warning. That’s double the 10 year average of 16%. That means while we’ve had our fair share of storms, more of them this year for one reason or another have had rotation and required a tornado warning, instead of a severe t-storm warning.

The next highest percentage for tornado warnings is tied for 1 out of 5 in 2011 and 2014. That number will likely go down, but it is still interesting to see such a high percentage even as we’re through our main severe weather season.

Still, so far the total warning count is running below average for all tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, as data show from as far back as 1986. So this year, we’ve just seen more tornado warnings than usual, but our severe weather season is arguably still quieter than normal when it comes to reports. We’ve been lucky so far to have primarily EF-U and EF-0 tornadoes, though a few tornadoes of EF1 status have been confirmed during damage surveys.

Statewide, the trend hasn’t really shifted much. But, the concentration of the action has been in our WCIA 3 region. In 2020, it was fairly spread out with a cluster in northwest Illinois, while in 2019 western Illinois saw the most. So far in 2021, it’s been the middle quarter of the state with the most warnings.

Here’s some links to tornadoes and storms so far in 2021.

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