Illinois Already Ahead of Annual Tornado Average

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Weather officials say storms that trace back to the first of the year and blew through again on Easter Sunday have spun up more than 60 tornadoes so far.

That's well ahead of the 39 that Illinois averages annually, and it's on pace to challenge the record 120 that touched down in 2003.

Weather officials say the outbreak has roots in a balmy winter across parts of the United States that pushed Illinois temperatures more than 12 degrees above normal in January.

The warm spell heated up Gulf waters earlier than usual, pushing moist air into the Midwest. Combined with a weak La Nina in the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf moisture has triggered the waves of storms that have battered Illinois almost weekly since early March.