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Beyond the Green Screen: Why the Illinois Tornadoes Happened

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Events like the one that took place on Sunday morning are extremely rare but when they do happen, they are likely to cause a lot of destruction. So why did we get these strong tornadoes come through in the middle of November?

During this time of year our environmental wind is a lot stronger than those that take place during what is commonly known as severe weather season. What we usually don’t have during the fall season is the warmth and moist air available. Unfortunately these ingredients were in place and came together early Sunday. A strong low pressure system pushed warm moist air from the south to take over the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys. Dewpoints were in the 60s, temperatures were in the 70s, we had strong turning wind with height and a cold front to set it all off. It was the perfect environment for a tornado to form and grow.
Most tornadoes do not exceed paths more than about 15 miles long and last less than 10 minutes. The Washington tornado took a path of 46.2 miles long. It was rated an EF-4 with peak winds of 190 miles per hour.
An aerial view shows the path of destruction caused by a tornado that touched down in Washington, Illinois,
One life was lost and there were over 100 injuries just in Washington alone. The images coming out of central Illinois are devastating and heartbreaking. I can’t possibly imagine what these families are going through and especially so close to the holidays.