National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Galva IL, Tornado

Galva, IL Tornado Path

A tornado struck parts of southern Henry County, IL on April 19th, 1996. One town hit by the tornado was Galva, IL. The following is a summary of the events leading up to the Galva, IL tornado using Level II Archive Data originally created by the KDVN WSR-88D.

Event Synopsis

The Event Synopsis was provided by Brian Pierce and Jim Hladik. They are both Meteorologists here at the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities IA/IL (Davenport, IA).

A major severe weather outbreak occurred across far Eastern Iowa and Illinois during the afternoon and evening of 4/19/96. Explosive severe thunderstorm development occurred across southeast Iowa, northeast Missouri, and west central Illinois at maximum heating. Wind shear profiles throughout the atmosphere were such that tornado development was favored. Many supercell thunderstorms developed during the course of the event and many tornadoes were produced along with several reports of penny or larger sized hail and wind damage. A low end F3 tornado struck the city of Galva, IL around 7 pm causing extensive damage. In Illinois, Henry county was one of several Illinois counties declared a state disaster area.

Sequence of Events

The sequence of events is focused on conditions affecting Henry County, IL. All times are Central Daylight Time.

  • (511 PM) Tornado Watch 190 issued for parts of Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin until 11:00 PM.
  • (535 PM) Tornado Warning issued for Northern Des Moines County, IA.
  • (541 PM) Golf ball size hail reported 5 miles north of Danville, IA in Des Moines County, IA.
  • (550 PM) The storm continued moving east-northeast. A Tornado Warning was issued for Louisa County, IA and Mercer County, IL.
  • (601 PM) Tornado Warning issued for Northern Henderson County, IL.
  • (611 PM) A tornado dropped out of this storm 0.5 miles northeast of Bald Bluff, IL in northern Henderson County, IL.
  • (624 PM) Tornado Warning issued for Western Henry County, IL and Eastern Mercer County, IL.
  • (637 PM) Tornado Warning issued for Eastern Henry County, IL.
  • (639 PM) Lynn Center in western Henry County, IL reports 1.75 inch hail.
  • (650 PM) 1.75 inch hail reported at Cambridge, IL in Henry County.
  • (700 PM) Tornado reported at Bishop Hill and Galva, IL in Henry County.
  • This tornado produced no fatalities and 3 minor injuries. The Storm Damage Survey the next day revealed the town of Galva was very prepared for this type of severe weather and is likely the largest reason for no fatalities and low injuries. We would also like to think that the Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities 23 minutes before it hit Bishop Hill and Galva played a role. It takes a concerted effort between all public and private agencies to mitigate human casualties.


Here are some pictures that our Damage Survey Team took on April 20th, 1996 in Galva.