Even though we are heading into the colder months, it is important to remember that severe weather and tornadoes can happen anytime during the year.
With the main tornado season behind us, both Illinois and Wisconsin have had less tornado activity than expected. This follows the national trend. Only 770 tornadoes (as of this blog post) have been reported across the United States, fewer than any year since 2005.
Just 20 tornadoes have been reported in the Land of Lincoln from January 1st through today (October 16th). The number is even less for Wisconsin, with 15 confirmed tornadoes. Illinois sees 54 tornadoes on average every year; Wisconsin averages 24 tornadoes.
One of the main reasons why this year’s tornado count is so low was the weather pattern during Spring. Spring was filled with extended periods of rain and slow-moving weather systems, which helped keep temperatures down. Tornadic thunderstorms often thrive when there is a clash of airmass and temperature, something which did not happen much in 2013.
As we transitioned to Summer, the jet stream–which drives our weather–moved well to the north along the Canadian border, keeping much of the nation in a 3 month period of drought.
Believe it or not, 40% of Illinois’ tornadoes this year occurred in the Stateline area! With 8 tornadoes between May 19th and June 24th, we had an above average year. Since 1950, the Stateline sees 3 or 4 tornadoes on average per year.
In 2013, most local tornadoes were brief and rated EF-0. But on June 12th, an EF-2 tornado touched down in western Carroll County near Savanna and Mount Carroll. On the same day, an EF-1 tornado pushed through southern DeKalb County near Shabbona.
The year is not over, but hopefully we will not have to endure anymore tornadoes. They can and do occur at anytime of year (Caledonia Tornado in November 2010, Poplar Grove Tornado in January 2008).
This post was written by Joe Astolfi on October 16, 2013