Severe storms could bring damaging winds to Central Illinois Thursday

Weather Blog

Peoria, Ill (WMBD) – A strong storms system will move out of the Central Plains and into the Midwest on Thursday bringing a risk of severe storms to Central Illinois. The Storm Prediction Center has placed Central Illinois with in a Slight Risk for severe weather for Thursday afternoon and evening.

What does a slight risk mean?

A slight risk from the Storm Prediction Center is a level 2 threat on a scale of 1-5. It means that scattered severe storms are possible in the highlighted area. These storms are usually short-lived and not widespread, but isolated intense storms are possible. In other words, while severe weather is possible over a large area they won’t impact everyone.

Key Takeaways

  • Timing: Severe storms most likely between 4 pm and 10 pm
  • Threats: 70 mph wind gusts, hail up to 1.5″ in diameter, isolated tornadoes and flash flooding
  • Greater threat of severe weather south of our region

A powerful storm system bringing severe weather to the Central Plains on Wednesday will move into the region on Thursday. Southerly winds ahead of the approaching low pressure system will send a warm front north across Illinois with the front reaching I-74 by mid afternoon with a moist and unstable air mass behind it. With strong wind shear aloft the ingredients appear to be in place for strong to severe storms across Central Illinois.

While the ingredients for severe weather appear to be in place, when and where severe storms develop will depend on the evolution of the thunderstorms coming out of the Central Plains tonight. At this point we expect a decaying line of showers and storms to move through the region late in the morning or early in the afternoon. Storms on the southern end of the line could be severe, but those severe storms should be south of the region. If the atmosphere can recover in the wake of this initial line of showers, another line of storms could develop after 4 pm and these would be the storms that could bring our local area severe weather. Should there be little to no impact from the early afternoon storms, the risk of severe weather could increase, but at this time the risk of severe storms is higher to our southwest.

As mentioned above all forms of severe weather are possible. Damaging winds up to 70 mph is the primary threat, but large hail and tornadoes are also possible. The tornado threat is highest south of I-74, mainly across Fulton, Schuyler, and McDonough Counties.

Rainfall Forecast

Widespread rainfall amounts of 1-2 inches are likely through midnight Thursday night, but locally higher amounts over 3 inches are possible. Exactly where this heavier rain will fall is not yet known, but where it falls flash flooding would be possible.

While there is uncertainty in the overall forecast it’s still good to be prepared. Here are ways to prepare now…

  • Have a plan to stay weather aware
  • Whether you’re at home, work, or school, know where you can seek shelter
  • Charge mobile devices
  • Secure patio furniture and loose lawn equipment
  • Monitor future forecasts
  • Have multiple ways to receive warnings (Weather Radio, CiProud 2 Go Weather App, WMBD on TV)

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