National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

 

Tornadoes have been common across central Illinois over the years, with lesser totals reported across southeast portions of the state.  The map below shows the number of tornadoes reported across the Lincoln NWS's County Warning Area between 1950 and 2021.  

Tornadoes since 1950

Select a county for detailed listings:
Cass Champaign Clark Clay Christian Coles Crawford
Cumberland De Witt Douglas Edgar Effingham Fulton Jasper
Knox Lawrence Logan McLean Macon Marshall Mason
Menard Morgan Moultrie Peoria Piatt Richland Sangamon
Schuyler Scott Shelby Stark Tazewell Vermilion Woodford

 

(Information on other counties in Illinois can be obtained from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center's Tornado Tracks page. Data available through 2017.)

While some of the disparity can be attributed to differing weather conditions, some of it is also due to the organization of storm spotter networks, with an overall upward trend in reported tornadoes as the years progressed.  To try and account for this, we have also normalized the reports of tornadoes per 100 square miles, instead of just by county boundaries:

 

Tornado Rankings, 1950 to 2021

Rank County Tornadoes within
county boundary
Rank County Tornadoes per
100 square miles
1 McLean 112 1 Logan 10.194
2 Sangamon 87 2 Tazewell 10.169
3 Champaign 81 3 Sangamon 10.023
4 Macon 69 4 McLean 9.459
5 Tazewell 66 5 Woodford 8.902
6 (tie) Vermilion 63 6 Macon 8.244
6 (tie) Logan 63 7 Champaign 8.124
8 Christian 49 8 Piatt 7.727
9 Woodford 47 9 Vermilion 7.008
10 Fulton 43 10 Christian 6.911
11 (tie) Morgan 37 11 Mason 6.865
11 (tie) Mason 37 12 Douglas 6.715
13 (tie) Coles 34 13 Coles 6.693
13 (tie) Piatt 34 14 Morgan 6.503
15 Shelby 33 15 De Witt 5.779
16 (tie) Knox 30 16 Schuyler 5.492
16 (tie) Edgar 30 17 Effingham 5.010
18 (tie) Peoria 28 18 Fulton 4.965
18 (tie) Douglas 28 19 Edgar 4.808
20 (tie) Schuyler 24 20 Scott 4.781
20 (tie) Effingham 24 21 Richland 4.722
22 De Witt 23 22 Peoria 4.516
23 Clay 18 23 Stark 4.514
24 Richland 17 24 Shelby 4.375
25 (tie) Cass 16 25 Cumberland 4.335
25 (tie) Crawford 16 26 Cass 4.255
27 (tie) Jasper 15 27 Knox 4.190
27 (tie) Cumberland 15 28 Clay 3.838
29 Stark 13 29 Menard 3.822
30 (tie) Scott 12 30 Crawford 3.604
30 (tie) Moultrie 12 31 Moultrie 3.571
30 (tie) Menard 12 32 Marshall 3.109
30 (tie) Marshall 12 33 Jasper 3.037
34 (tie) Clark 10 34 Lawrence 2.688
34 (tie) Lawrence 10 35 Clark 1.992

 


Direction of Tornado Movement:

(click images to enlarge)

Spring season (Mar-May) tracks

Summer tracks (June-August)

Fall tornado tracks (Sep-Nov)

Winter tornado tracks (Dec-Feb)

 Spring Season
(March through May)

Summer Season
(June through August)
 

Autumn Season
(September through November)
 

Winter Season
(December through February)
 

 

"Tornado rose" for the Lincoln County Warning AreaThe image at left (click to enlarge) shows the prevailing directions that the tornadoes move from in this area.  For example, the 36% along the southwest axis of the graph means that 36% of the tornadoes moved from the southwest to the northeast.  Most of the tornadoes in this area moved toward the northeast to east.  Fewer tornadoes moved in a southeast direction.  Only a handful moved in other directions (shown in the inset at the lower right corner of the image). Click on the image to enlarge.

The database from the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) and the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) was used to create these pages.  Besides the tornado information, NCEI's Interactive Database can be used to retrieve information regarding hail, winter storms, and other hazards.  Also check out NCEI's U.S. Tornado Climatology page, and SPC's GIS-enabled Severe Weather Climatology page.  Similar maps for other Illinois counties are available at the Midwest Regional Climate Center's Tornado Tracks Tool web page.  We also maintain a separate listing of violent tornadoes (F4/F5 or EF4/EF5 strength) in our coverage area.

 

Some other items to consider when reviewing these pages:

  • Detailed storm surveys were not frequently conducted during earlier time periods.  In some cases, this resulted in apparent long tornado tracks, under the assumption that the tornado remained on the ground the entire time.  Also, changes in direction of movement were not well documented.
  • Earlier records were sketchier in terms of touchdown locations, etc.  There may be errors of a few miles in the specific locations of touchdowns.
  • The F-Scale magnitudes given are for the entire tornado track, although the peak magnitude may have only been in certain locations.