Tornado Watch issued for parts of Central Illinois

Weather Blog

Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) – The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for Fulton, McDonough, Schuyler and Mason Counties through 11 pm. Additional watches will likely be issued later tonight for the rest of Central Illinois.

Key Takeaways

  • Storms likely from 7PM to Midnight
  • Damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes possible
  • Nocturnal, fast moving, storms in December makes this a greater threat to the public

The Storm Prediction Center continues to expand their severe weather risk areas northwestward and most of Central Illinois now within a Level 2 Threat (Slight Risk) while and Level 3 Threat (Enhanced Risk) is in place for areas southeast of a Fairbury to Beardstown line. Storms that develop this evening will be capable of producing damaging winds, hail and tornadoes with damaging winds and tornadoes being the greatest risk. Violent and long tracked tornadoes are possible tonight along and south of I-72 where the directional wind shear will be a bit stronger.

Severe storms in December are very uncommon in Central Illinois but not unheard of. In fact just 3 years ago Illinois experienced it’s worst December tornado outbreak on record after 29 tornadoes struck the state, many of which in Central Illinois. While this is not expected to be a repeat of that event, the fact that these storms will be moving quicly through Central Illinois at night in an “off month” for severe storms, potentially makes this event a little more dangerous.

After some rain showers this afternoon thunderstorms will begin to develop near the Mississippi River after 6 pm this evening. These storms will then race to the east-northeast at 45-55 mph moving through Central Illinois between 7 pm and midnight. The fast movement of the storms will give people less time to react when the storms come through. It is imperative to remain weather aware this evening and make sure you have multiple ways of receiving life saving warnings like a NOAA Weather Radio and the CI Proud 2 Go Weather App.

Once the cold front moves through the risk of storms and severe weather will end. However, wind gusts between 40 and 50 mph from the west and northwest will be likely after midnight and will persist through Saturday afternoon.

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