Terry’s Take: November Twisters, how rare are they?

Posted on: 10:42 pm, November 19, 2013, by

Terry Swails Weather Blog

A rare outbreak of November Tornadoes occurred in Illinois over the weekend. Survey crews from the National Weather Service have been out examining the destruction and have come up with some very telling figures regarding the size, intensity, and duration of the tornadoes. Below you can find the latest NWS assessments on the 3 twisters that occurred just east of Peoria.

WEDGE TORNADO NEAR WASHINGTON, ILLINOIS

WEDGE TORNADO NEAR WASHINGTON, ILLINOIS

81 TWISTERS REPORTED SUNDAY. NATIONALLY, THE AVERAGE FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH OF NOVEMBER IS 62

81 TWISTERS REPORTED SUNDAY. NATIONALLY, THE AVERAGE FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH OF NOVEMBER IS 62

1052 AM     TORNADO          PEKIN                   40.57N 89.63W
11/17/2013  F2               TAZEWELL           IL   NWS STORM SURVEY

            *** 10 INJ *** EF-2 TORNADO...PEAK WINDS 120 MPH...PATH
            LENGTH 2.5 MILES...WIDTH 100 YARDS. STARTED 1.25 MILES
            WEST-NORTHWEST OF PEKIN...ENDED AT 1054 AM...AT 2.25
            NORTH-NORTHEAST OF PEKIN.

1059 AM     TORNADO          WASHINGTON              40.70N 89.44W
11/17/2013  F4               TAZEWELL           IL   NWS STORM SURVEY

            *** 1 FATAL, 122 INJ *** EF-4 TORNADO...PEAK WIND 190
            MPH...PATH LENGTH 34.5 MILES...0.5 MILES WIDE...BEGAN 2.4
            MILES SOUTHEAST OF EAST PEORIA...ENDED 1.5 MILES NORTH OF
            MINONK AT 1134 AM.

1245 PM     TORNADO          GIFFORD                 40.31N 88.02W
11/17/2013  F3               CHAMPAIGN          IL   NWS STORM SURVEY

            *** 6 INJ *** EF-3 TORNADO...PEAK WIND 140 MPH...24 MILES
            IN LENGTH...QUARTER MILE WIDE. STARTED 2 MILES EAST OF
            THOMASBORO...ENDED 2 MILES SOUTH OF EAST LYNN AT 110 PM.

To assist in gaining perspective on all this, College of DuPage meteorology instructor Victor Ginsini found these statistics on just how rare this outbreak really was. Since  1986, including Sunday’s twisters there have been 194 tornado warnings issued during the month of November. Of those tornado warnings, 101 (or 52%) were issued during Sunday’s event.

SUNDAY'S TORNADO REPORTS

SUNDAY’S TORNADO REPORTS

Prior to yesterday, looking back to 1950, the strongest tornado in Illinois was an EF3 that occurred just east of St Louis back on November 15th, 1988. Preliminary findings from the National Weather Service indicate that two of Sunday’s tornadoes were EF4, the Washington twister and another about 50 miles east of St. Louis. These are now the strongest November tornadoes to touch down in Illinois dating back to 1950. The Washington twister, with winds of 190 mph is one of the strongest to ever strike the state of  Illinois no matter what time of year. Despite the intensity of the storms, heightened awareness and excellent warnings kept the death toll to an amazingly low number.