CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Significant severe weather ramped up on Saturday on both sides of the Illinois River, producing at least one tornado in Bartonville.
All of Central Illinois was placed under a PDS Tornado Watch from 2 pm through at least 9 pm. This comes after Central Illinois was placed under a moderate risk (level 4 of 5) for severe storms. PDS watches are rarely issued and stand for “particularly dangerous situation.” They are usually issued when conditions prove favorable for multiple tornadoes, some being long-tracked and strong (capable of reaching EF2 level strength or greater.) Severe storms began firing within the watch area after 2:30 pm with the first few forming around Fulton and Knox Counties. One storm quickly turned tornado-warned around Knox County and raced to the northeast at a ground speed of more than 40 miles per hour. Not long after that one, another cell developed and took a very similar path, eventually making it toward Kewanee.
As the atmosphere destabilized and warmed up sufficiently, storms began treading closer to the Illinois River, including the tri-county area.
These warm temperatures and juicy dew points in the 60s from the warm front contributed to explosive storms that lasted through the early evening. This front accompanied by strong low pressure to the northwest created more than favorable conditions for widespread severe weather.
Around 9 pm a dangerous storm formed in Fulton County and moved into Peoria County, leaving a swath of damage in Bartonville. The National Weather Service confirmed Sunday that this tornado produced EF0 to EF1 damage around the Peoria International Airport.
Here are some photos of damage in the vicinity.
Storms wreaked havoc in Fulton County near Ipava where three homes sustained minor damage. A garage and machine shed also suffered damage. A report from the NWS says wind gusts maxed out around 75 miles per hour in Ipava during this time.
The tornado watch was allowed to expired for all counties after 10 pm once the cold front pushed through and brought an end to severe weather.