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  • Tim McGill

Peak Severe Weather Season Has Begun

Tornadoes have spun up in every month of the year in the Chicago area but the prime months for tornadic activity are April, May and June. 67% of tornadoes to strike northern Illinois and northwest Indiana during the years of 1950-2017 occurred in those spring months.

tornadoes by month Chicago, northern Illinois & northwest Indiana

Nationwide there have been 184 preliminary reports of tornadoes to date this year. That's above the prior three year average of 118. There have been 33 deaths compared to an average to date for the past three years of 15. The solid black line on the graph below marks this year's activity thus far and it is trending above average. AccuWeather is forecasting an active tornado season. They expect between 1350 to 1450 twisters which would be 5 to 15 percent more than average. A study conducted in 2016 linked a warm Gulf of Mexico with higher than normal tornado activity. The Gulf is warmer than average again this spring which could translate into an active season for twisters.

2020 tornado activity through early April

So far this year only one confirmed tornado in northern Illinois. An EF-1 tornado touched down near Oregon in Ogle County on Saturday with winds near 100 mph. There were no injuries and only minor damage.

Tornado Tracks For Northern Illinois & Northwest Indiana
Tornado Tracks For Northern Illinois & Northwest Indiana

Tornadoes have touched down in every county in our area. Cook county is no exception and even the city of Chicago has not been spared. There is a myth that the large buildings in the city create a buffer. The reality is the air funneled between those buildings during storms is actually accelerated. The most recent tornado to touch down in the city limits struck on September 3, 2018. It was an EF-0 with winds up to 75 mph and was on the ground for just under 2 miles. It actually swept across the Eisenhower and into Garfield park southwest of the Loop.

The map below shows all the tornado tracks from 1950 through 2017. The most deadly tornado struck Oak Lawn on April 21, 1967. 58 people lost their lives and over 1000 were inured.

Cook County & Chicago Area Tornado Tracks

We could get some rumbles of thunder here early next week but quiet weather is expected through the weekend.

Here is my 7 day forecast: Today: Partly to mostly sunny High: 59 (49 Lakefront) Friday: Partly to mostly cloudy, evening shower Low: 43 High: 62 (58 Lakefront) Saturday: Showers mainly early, mostly cloudy Low: 42 High: 51 Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 39 High: 56 (50 Lakefront) Monday: Mostly cloudy, sct. showers & t-storms Low: 44 High: 64 (59 Lakefront) Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, sct. showers & t-storms Low: 50 High: 71 (65 Lakefront)

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 48 High: 64 (60 Lakefront)


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