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 2017.  

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.)

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 2017

Rank County Tornadoes within
county boundary
Rank County Tornadoes per
100 square miles
1 McLean 104 1 Logan 9.547
2 Sangamon 78 2 Tazewell 9.245
3 Champaign 73 3 Sangamon 8.986
4 Macon 62 4 McLean 8.784
5 (tie) Vermilion 60 5 Woodford 7.955
5 (tie) Tazewell 60 6 Macon 7.407
7 Logan 59 7 Champaign 7.322
8 Woodford 42 8 Piatt 6.818
9 Christian 38 9 Douglas 6.715
10 Fulton 37 10 Vermilion 6.674
11 Mason 34 11 Mason 6.122
12 Morgan 33 12 Coles 6.102
13 Coles 31 13 Morgan 5.800
14 (tie) Shelby 30 14 De Witt 5.779
14 (tie) Piatt 30 15 Christian 5.360
16 Edgar 29 16 Scott 4.781
17 Douglas 28 17 Edgar 4.647
18 Knox 26 18 Schuyler 4.577
19 Peoria 26 19 Stark 4.514
20 Knox 23 20 Richland 4.444
21 Effingham 21 21 Effingham 4.384
22 Schuyler 20 22 Fulton 4.273
23 Richland 16 23 Peoria 4.194
24 (tie) Clay 15 24 Shelby 3.953
24 (tie) Crawford 15 25 Knox 3.771
24 (tie) Jasper 15 26 Cumberland 3.468
27 Stark 13 27 Crawford 3.378
28 (tie) Cumberland 12 28 Clay 3.198
28 (tie) Marshall 12 29 Menard 3.185
28 (tie) Scott 12 30 Jasper 3.036
31 (tie) Lawrence 10 31 Marshall 2.850
31 (tie) Menard 10 32 Lawrence 2.688
31 (tie) Clark 10 33 Cass 2.394
34 Cass 9 34 Moultrie 2.381
35 Moultrie 8 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.