November tornadoes are rare in greater Chicago - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

November tornadoes are rare in greater Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Only 12 November tornadoes have been confirmed in the greater Chicago area between 1951 and last Saturday, November 16th.

However, tornadoes that do occur during November are usually strong or violent. Many are long track tornadoes that can travel dozens of miles on the ground. Of those 12 previous November tornadoes 8 were rated at EF-2 or higher with winds between 111-165 mph.

Sunday's tornado outbreak was significant and historical for several reasons. To begin with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma placed the Chicago area in a bull's eye of High Risk for severe weather including strong tornadoes. Why is that important? Because High Risk outlooks are rare and before Sunday there had never been a High Risk or even a lesser Moderate Risk for severe weather issued during the month of November for areas north of the Tennessee Valley.

Secondly, this November has now become the deadliest for tornadoes in Illinois with 6 confirmed deaths on Sunday and possibly additional fatalities in the days ahead.

Thirdly, there have also been 194 tornado warnings issued for Illinois during the month of November since 1996 and 101 of those took place on Sunday.

On Sunday there were 81 confirmed storm spotter reports of tornadoes across the Midwest and Ohio valley. Most of those were in Illinois and Indiana. The final number may vary due to duplicated reports.

The deadliest and most destructive of Sunday's tornadoes were spawned at different times from one long-track super cell storm that traveled northeast at 50-60 mph from Pekin through Peoria, Washington, Roanoke, Minonk, Streator, Dana, Coal City, Diamond and Frankfort.

At this point the tornado in Washington has a preliminary EF-4 rating with winds between 166-200 mph. As the National Weather Service teams make their ground surveys that rating could climb to an EF-5 with winds above 200 mph. The tornado which tore through Coal City has also already been rated as an EF-2 with winds between 111-135 mph. Additional tornado confirmations, EF ratings and track length will be released over the next few days.

There were also confirmed tornadoes in Jasper County, Illinois and in Lebanon and Rensselaer, in Indiana.

The most recent November tornado in the Chicago area before Sunday was an EF-2 in New Caledonia (Winnebago County) in November 22, 2010.

In an eerie coincidence Sunday's path of damage from Peoria through Frankfort is almost identical to the June 7, 2008 tornado that traveled from Peoria through Frankfort and Green Gardens through Richton Park and lifting along Lake Michigan near Gary, Indiana.

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