As spring and summer weather approaches, we need to prepare for potential
severe weather – be alert to severe weather terms and what they mean
Fast facts about our most severe weather event – tornadoes
- Illinois ranks fifth in the United States for the most tornadoes per square mile.
- The majority of Illinois tornadoes have occurred between April 1 and June 30 and between the hours of 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. However, tornadoes have occurred every month of the year at all hours of the day.
- Nearly 30 percent of all tornadoes in Illinois occur after dark.
- On average, 50 tornadoes occur each year in Illinois.
- There were 50 tornadoes reported in Illinois during 2017, which resulted in three
fatalities, 17 injuries and more than $12 million in property damage.
- In Illinois since 1950: 78 percent of tornadoes have been weak with wind
estimated less than 110 mph, 21 percent of tornadoes have been strong with
wind estimated between 110-167 mph, 1 percent of tornadoes have been violent
with wind estimated greater than 167 mph. A violent tornado occurred on April 9,
2015, from just north of Rochelle to the village of Fairdale.
What can you do to reduce your risk from a severe weather event?
- Provide for advanced warning capability to monitor and alert yourself to impeding
severe weather conditions. A weather radio in your home and business along
with weather alert app on your cell phones are an excellent way to do this.
- Know the weather terminology
Please familiarize yourself with the following terms to stay alert and prepared
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch— National Weather Service meteorologists have
determined that severe thunderstorms are likely to occur in your area. Watch the
sky and stay tuned for NWS warnings.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning—National Weather Service meteorologists have
determined that a severe thunderstorm is occurring or likely to occur. Warnings
indicate imminent danger to life and property.
- Tornado Watch—National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists have
determined that tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for
- Tornado Warning— National Weather Service meteorologists have determined
that a tornado is occurring, or likely to occur within minutes, in the specified area.
Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.
If you have any questions regarding severe weather terminology, please contact Sycamore Fire Chief Peter Polarek at 815-895-4514.