Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — Your Local Weather Authority is designating Friday, March 31st a Severe Weather Alert Day for severe storms capable of destructive winds, tornadoes and large hail. Multiple rounds of storms composed of supercells and squall lines are expected to race across Central Illinois at over 60 mph.

Key Takeaways

  • Severe Storm Window: 1 pm to 8 pm Friday
  • Primary Threats
    • 75 mph Wind Gusts (potentially higher)
    • Several Tornadoes
      • Some Strong & Long Tracked
    • Hail up to 2.00″ in Diameter

The Storm Prediction Center has placed all of Central Illinois with a Moderate Risk, a Level 4 Threat on a scale of 1-5. There’s growing concern for long tracked tornadoes, destructive winds over 75 mph, and large hail. Multiple rounds of storms are expected between 1pm and 8 pm with all hazards possible.

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, though the worst of the severe weather will likely come with last round of storms.

Round 1: 1 pm to 5 pm Friday
Moderate Confidence/High Impact
The first round of storms is expected to move in from the southwest between 1 and 3 pm. These storms are likely to intensify as they approach I-74 and remain strong as they move northeast through the region. Large hail, destructive winds and long tracked tornadoes are possible.

Round 2: 4 pm to 8 pm Friday
Moderate Confidence/Widespread Medium to High Impact
This final round of storms will along and ahead of the cold in the for of a broken line of supercells. Once again, long tracked tornadoes, large and destructive winds are expected. The storms should congeal into a squall line capable of destructive winds and tornadoes as they approach I-55.

Overall, the strong winds and tornadoes within the storms are expected to impact many communities throughout Central Illinois. Downed trees and power lines could result in numerous power outages and impact cell phone service across the region while tornadoes cause significant structural damage. The storms are expected to move fast enough to mitigate the risk of flooding with only 0.50″ of rain (locally up to 1.00″) possible.

Types of Severe Weather Watches and Warnings

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Be Prepared!
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued when conditions are right for severe thunderstorms to develop. While not everyone in a watch area will experience a severe thunderstorms, storms that develop will be capable of producing damaging winds, large hail and or tornadoes.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Take Action!
A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when severe weather is occurring or imminent. These warnings are typically issued for storms capable of producing damaging wind gusts over 58 mph and/or 1.0″ diameter hail. Sometimes severe thunderstorms will produce tornadoes before a tornado warning can be issued. It’s important to note that warnings are not issued for lightning.

Tornado Watch: Be Prepared!
A Tornado Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms capable of tornadoes are likely. Storms will also be capable of large hail and damaging winds.

Tornado Warning: Take Action!
A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado is occurring or imminent. These warnings are issued when strong rotation is observed on radar or when spotters observe one. When a warning is issued you should seek shelter immediately by getting to an interior room of the lowest floor in the building you are in.

Tornado Emergency: Take Action!
This is an enhanced version of the typical Tornado Warning. While it’s not a new type of warning, Tornado Emergencies are issued when significant tornadoes are moving through populated areas. If a Tornado Emergency is issued it means widespread damage and numerous fatalities are expected with a large, strong to violent tornado.

Storm Training 101 – Storm Preparation