I hear the term “tornado alley” being used frequently. What area is being referred to? Does the Chicago area have a tornado alley?
“Tornado alley” is an often used but inconsistently applied term and, as the American Meteorological Society notes, “Since (tornado) statistics are variable on all-time scales, the term has little scientific value.”
This is especially true when the body of tornado data is restricted to a relatively small geographical area such as metropolitan Chicago. Conclusions drawn from such a limited database are meaningless.
Broadly speaking, U.S. tornadoes occur most frequently in the area from north-central Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska into central South Dakota. This area is loosely defined as tornado alley.
Tuesday evening cottony cumulus clouds are framed against the Willis Tower in this shot Michael Lyons.
Look at this remarkable array of forked lightning over downtown Tuesday evening from Adam Oles, Chicago.
A close-up of last evening's billowy, towering cumulus over Wauconda are the subject of this photo which was taken by Dirk Leahy produces quite a scene, doesn't it? The Alpenglow oranges and reds are quite fanstastic!
Latest radar trends shortly after 1:30pm indicate that the area of showers and thunderstorms that has brought some heavy rainfall to portions of the Chicago Metro area is lifting out of the area to the north and east. Skies are brightening and there may even be some sunshine this afternoon.
Here are the latest rainfall totals..
O'Hare Airport 1.56 inches
West Chicago 1.29 inches
Wheeling 1.29 inches
Aurora-Sugar Grove 0.81 inches
Midway Airport 0.65 inches
Reports from WeatherBug sites
Wilmette 1.93 inches
Niles 1.67 inches
Highland Park 1.42 inches
Morton Grove 1.41 inches
Palatine 1.05 inches
Wheaton 1.00 inch
Arlington Heights 0.95 inches
Showers and thunderstorms have been moving through the Chicago Metro area overnight and this morning and are continuing this afternoon. The National Weather Service has issued an areal flood advisory this afternoon for portions of northern Cook and northeast Du Page counties until 3:30 pm for possible flooding along streams and creeks and in low-lying areas. More than an inch of rain has fallen so far and another half inch to an inch may fall this afternoon.
I've tried to sort through the myriad of resources with information regarding the Moore tornado and selected a few that stand out.
- KFOR-TV has an interactive map that compares the tracks of tornadoes that hit Moore in 1999, 2003 and Monday
- Timeline of the events leading up to and including the touchdown in Newcastle-Moore from the Norman office of the NWS
- Excellent overview of the tornado from Dr. Jeff Master's Wunderblog that includes chaser video
- Does climate change play a role in tornadoes?
- Power of the tornado compared to an atomic bomb
- Aerial view of the devastation
- How bad is an EF-5 tornado?
- Before and after pictures from Moore
The most important link is how to help victims of the tornado.
Our once chilly spring has wasted no time in playing catch-up! 2013, with nine 80s to its credit through May 21, is now well ahead of the long term average of 5 such days. And while, sharp cooling back to April-level temps is to hit Thursday with the arrival of gusty north to northeast winds, strong warming is to return 80s and higher humidities to the area next week.
Rainy spells and sporadic thundery downpours to bolster impressive late Monday/Tuesday precip totals
Waves of showers and thunderstorms greet area residents Wednesday and Wednesday night. It’s a development likely to add to the impressive rain tallies observed over a wide swath of the area Monday and Tuesday .
Grundy County's Braceville reported 3.44" during that period while 2.11" came down at Lisle, 2.05" Glen Ellyn; 2.04" Naperville and 1.99" at Villa Park.
Weather Service storm survey teams rate the Newcastle/Moore, Oklahoma twister an EF-5; only 59 comparably strong tornadoes on the books nationwide since 1950
It’s official. The deadly and devastating tornado which roared into Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma has been rated EF-5 and joins the short list of 59 comparably devastating twisters on the books across the U.S. at the Storm Prediction Center since 1950.