CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WTVO) — The state climatologist says data suggests that “tornado alley” may be shifting eastward to include Illinois.
Dr. Trent Ford, who has been the Illinois State Climatologist since 2019, said the state has seen an unusually high number of tornadoes this year.
According to the National Weather Service, Illinois leads the nation in the number of confirmed tornadoes, with 86 so far this year and 22 in March alone.
Illinois also leads every state in severe weather reports this year aside from Texas.
“Our peak is between April and June climatologically, so to get that many tornadoes, basically a year’s worth of tornadoes just in January, February, and March is really incredible,” Ford said, according to The Center Square.
“This area here in Illinois and especially further south as you get into parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and down to the Gulf Coast has seen an increase in at least a frequency of those tornado days,” he said.
In Belvidere, an EF-1 tornado ripped off the roof of a local theater on March 31, leading to one person’s death and dozens of injuries.
An EF-1 tornado is rated on the Enhanced Fujita scale to have had 3-second wind gusts between 86 and 110 miles per hour.