ILLINOIS – If it seems like you’re preparing for tornado threats a little more than usual lately, there’s some truth to that, at least if you live in Illinois.
According to the National Weather Service, Illinois is leading the nation in tornadoes this year. Eighty-six tornadoes have already rolled through the Prairie State in 2023, nearly double the state’s average of 50 twisters per year.
The National Weather Service reports, as of Saturday, Illinois has braced through more than double the number of tornadoes in any other state this year aside from Alabama (80) and Georgia (45).
Per NWS, Illinois also leads every state in severe weather reports (466) this year aside from Texas. That number represents the total of confirmed tornadoes, plus hail and wind damage reports.
Among this year’s tornadoes, some have posed threats east of St. Louis. On March 31, an EF-1 tornado ripped through Salem, Illinois, damaging dozens of homes and peaking up to 105 mph gusts. On April 14, a series of tornadoes slammed the Metro East, with winds reaching up to 100 mph again and damaging parts of Belleville, Swansea, Hecker and Valmeyer.
One tornado up north caught national attention. In Belvidere, a tornado ripped off the roof of a local theater on March 31, leading to one person’s death and dozens of injuries.
To this point, Illinois has more tornadoes this year than the four primary states of the colloquially-coined tornado alley region (Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas) combined. Data from the National Weather Service indicates tornadoes are happening more frequently in states east of that specific region, including dozens in neighboring states Iowa, Indiana and Kentucky.
Recent trends may seem to support one recent report published by climate and atmospheric science research teams for NPJ, indicating that tornado frequency has increased east of the conventional tornado alley in recent years.
Another study from the University of Illinois suggests that twisters are most frequent in the state between April and June from 3-7 p.m.
For future reference, here are some considerations to take in mind when tornado watches and warnings roll through your area. Also make sure to stay up-to-date with FOX 2’s news and weather apps.