Illinois is leading the nation in tornadoes

It's only early May and Illinois has nearly twice as many tornadoes compared to an average year. As of May 2nd our state leads the country in the number of tornadoes reported in 2023 with 86 twisters. 

Here is a list of the top six states with the most tornadoes so far:

  1. 86 in Illinois
  2. 80 in Alabama
  3. 45 in Georgia
  4. 40 in Mississippi
  5. 36 in Iowas, Texas

It has been a busy year for tornadoes with nearly 600 reported across the country so far. 

The solid black line on the chart above is the average running total of tornadoes for the US. The solid red line is the running total for 2023 so far. That means we have already seen more than half the total number of tornadoes we average for a year. 

For the past three years the country has averaged 1179 tornadoes annually, and 63 people have been killed by tornadoes so far.

Illinois ranks second in the nation for the total number of severe weather reports through May 2nd.  These include not just tornadoes but also hail an inch diameter or bigger and damaging winds of 58 mph or greater.

Here are the top five states ranked by number of severe weather reports:

  1. 711 in Texas
  2. 466 in Illinois
  3. 377 in Alabama
  4. 376 in Georgia
  5. 263 in Mississippi

The plot of tornado reports through early May shows higher concentrations in a couple of parts of our country. Eastern Iowa, southern Wisconsin and northwest Illinois has had a higher density of reports along with portions of southwestern Tennessee and both the central and northern part of Alabama. 

The timeline bar graph shows a couple of spikes of tornado reports. The biggest in late March but also an unusually high number in early January.

Chicago's office of the National Weather Service has a chart that shows in bar graph form the average number of days with one or more severe weather reports per month. We have a long way to go in our "severe weather season." The peak months include May, June and July with August not too far behind.

This is a good time to remind you about a special the Fox 32 weather team put together to help keep you "Safe From The Storm." It airs tonight for the first time at 6 then again at 10 pm Thursday night. It will also air twice Saturday and again Sunday. Check your local listings for more details.

For additional information on keeping you and your family safe you can check out my recent post on our active start to severe weather season.