Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — The weather for much of this week will be relatively quiet with partly to mostly cloudy skies and slightly cooler than average temperatures. That changes Thursday night and Friday when a strong storm approaches the area from the west bringing rain, storms and potential severe weather to Central Illinois.

Key Takeaways

  • Multiple rounds of storms possible from Thursday night through Friday night
  • All hazards possible
    • Large Hail
    • Damaging Wind Gusts
    • Tornadoes
    • Heavy Rain
  • Exact timing and storm locations remain uncertain

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a relatively rare Day 5 30% probability area over Central Illinois on Friday. This outlook area means there is a 30% chance of severe weather occurring within 25 miles of any point in the outlook area and is equivalent to a Level 3 Risk on a scale of 1 to 5, what is often referred to as an Enhanced Risk. The National Weather Service noted that the last time a Day 5 30% risk was issued for our area was ahead of the April 9th, 2015 severe weather outbreak, the day of the Rochelle Tornado.

It’s important to understand that just because you are included in the outlook area doesn’t mean you will be directly impacted by severe storms. It simply highlights the probability of severe weather happening in any given area. Exactly where individual storms will track will depend on the placement of fronts and boundaries that won’t be determined until we get a bit closer.

Multiple Rounds of Storms Possible

It is likely that there will be anywhere from one to three rounds of storms to impact Central Illinois from Thursday night through Friday night and each round could carry some severe weather risk. Exactly how many rounds develop and their severity will depend on a number of factors including the speed of storm, pre-frontal rain and cloud cover and boundary locations.

Round 1 (Moderate Confidence)
This first round could come Thursday night (exact timing not known) as the warm front lifts north across the region. These storms would primarily carry a risk of large hail and locally heavy rain.

Round 2 (Low Confidence)
Confidence on whether or not this round develops remains uncertain, but it would be most likely to develop Friday afternoon. These storms, if they were to form, would carry the greatest risk of becoming supercells (rotating thunderstorms) and would be capable of all hazards including tornadoes. Whether or not these storms develop may depend on the amount of clearing that occurs over the area Friday morning and early afternoon.

Round 3 (Moderate Confidence)
The third and final round will come along and ahead of the cold front, likely in the form of a squall line. While brief spin-up tornadoes would be possible within this line of storms, damaging winds would be the primary threat. Confidence is highest that this round of storms will impact the area.

Now’s the time to prepare

While the exact details and timing of the storms remains uncertain, the purpose of these early forecasts are to raise awareness so folks can be prepared in the event severe weather strikes close to home. If you have plans Friday night, now is the time to come up with an alternative plan in the event that severe weather appears more likely. Use this time to get reacquainted with your severe weather plan and make sure you have multiple ways to receive life saving warnings.

Storm Training 101 – Storm Preparation