Monday, March 21, 2016
Severe Weather Strikes Central Illinois Tuesday
Last Tuesday (March 15), severe storms rapidly developed across northeastern Missouri and tracked into western Illinois prompting Tornado Watches and Warnings as well as Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings. Crossing the Mississippi River near Keokuk, Iowa, Tornado Warnings were issued as reports of ping pong ball sized hail started to come in. Tornadoes would eventually be confirmed just to the north and northeast of Macomb, Illinois, the home of Western Illinois University. Other cell developed around 6:30 p.m., north of St. Louis and began tracking straight toward Illinois' capital: Springfield. Numerous local and national reporters were there as election results were starting to stream in; however, just before 7:45, the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for northern Sangamon County that included Springfield. Sirens wailed as reporters scrambled for cover. A funnel cloud was reported over downtown Springfield as lightning illuminated the sky. A tornado was confirmed Wednesday on the western edge of the city. Another tornado was confirmed within the city limits of Peoria, Illinois. A Weather Channel meteorologist was live along the river as sirens sounded across the area. These supercell thunderstorms continued to race northeast toward Chicago and joined together producing damaging winds and large hail. Locally, large hail fell in northern Clark and southern Edgar counties Tuesday night, prompting a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. TV station employees across Central Illinois had a busy night as storm warnings and election results battled for the bottom of the screens.