Illinois Logs Record 127 Tornadoes in 2003

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Weather officials reported Wednesday that 127 tornadoes have touched down in Illinois this year, eclipsing a nearly 30-year-old weather record.

The state averages 31 twisters a year, and saw its previous high in 1974, when 108 tornadoes roared across the state.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Illinois' 127 tornadoes account for nearly 12 percent of the nation's 1,030 touchdowns for the year.

Thunderstorms continued across parts of the state Wednesday, bringing heavy rains and flash flood warnings.

Dry weather is expected to return Thursday as a stationary front that has hovered over the state finally moves out.

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Tornado Safety Tips

  • In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.

  • If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.

  • Stay away from windows.

  • Get out of automobiles.

  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately.

  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.

  • Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado. Flying debris from tornadoes causes the most deaths and injuries.

Tornado Myths and Facts

  • Myth: Areas near rivers, lakes, and mountains are safe from tornadoes.

  • Fact: No place is safe from tornadoes. In the late 1980's, a tornado swept through Yellowstone National Park leaving a path of destruction up and down a 10,000 ft. mountain.

  • Myth: The low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to "explode" as the tornado passes overhead.

  • Fact: Violent winds and debris slamming into buildings cause most structural damage.

  • Myth: Windows should be opened before a tornado approaches to equalize pressure and minimize damage.

  • Fact: Opening windows allows damaging winds to enter the structure. Leave the windows alone; instead, immediately go to a safe place.

  • Myth: Highway overpasses are a safe place to shelter if you are on the road when you see a tornado coming.
  • Fact: The truth is, any time you deliberately put yourself above ground level during a tornado, you are putting yourself in harms way. The best place is to lie flat in a ditch.

  • Myth: Tornadoes never strike big cities.

  • Fact: The downtown areas of "big cities" have had tornadoes on occasion. This past spring, a tornado passed through Miami before it moved out to sea, disproving the idea that they can't form in cities. Also, Salt Lake City had a tornado run through the downtown causing thousands of dollars in damage.

  • Myth: The southwest corner of a basement is the safest location during passage of a tornado.

  • Fact: The truth is that the part of the home towards the approaching tornado (often, but not always, the southwest) is the least safe part of the basement, not the safest. Homes that are attacked from the southwest tend to shift to the northeast. The unsupported part of the house may then collapse into the basement or pull over part of the foundation, or both.

Source: www.nws.noaa.gov contributed to this report


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