Sunday's surreal outbreak of tornadoes, some as strong as EF-4, may have been the most violent seen so far north, coming so late in the season. Tornadoes aren't exactly top-of-mind in Illinois in November.
Two thoughts: you can retrofit any ground-floor closet into a "safe room" for a few thousand dollars. If you don't have a basement this is a good option, for the price of a family vacation to Disneyworld. The slow, uncertain evacuation of Soldier Field during Sunday's Bears game was a reminder that you can't depend on anyone else for your family's safety. It all comes down to personal responsibility & being "weather-aware".
My best advice: load up a few radar and warning apps on your phone and be proactive. Head inside LONG before you get the official order. Stay ahead of the severe weather curve.
The pattern favors a series of glancing blows of arctic air for Minnesota, with the biggest storms spinning up over the southern and eastern USA. After peaking near 50F today temperatures cool off later this week. A period of light snow may brush the state late Friday; by Saturday it'll feel like January.
Thanksgiving weather? Highs in the 30s; no mega-storms brewing into late next week. Winter mayhem may well be postponed until December.
Photo credit above: "Aerial pictures of the tornado damage at Washington, Illinois, near Peoria is seen on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013." (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/MCT).
Hardest Hit Communities:
Washington, IL - 1 death, extreme damage (outside of Peoria)
Washington County, IL - 2 additional deaths near New Minden (southeast of St. Louis)
Brookport, IL - 2 trailer parks destroyed, at least 2 deaths
Massac County - 1 death, just outside Brookport
*these deaths confirmed by multiple news sources, see NY Times below*
6 deaths total so far (all in Illinois), 12 states reporting damage
150-200 reports of injuries in Illinois alone
Pekin, IL - one of the first large tornadoes of the day
Kokomo, IN - additional extensive damage
NWS Preliminary tornado ratings:
EF-4 : New Minden, IL
EF-4 : Washington, IL
EF-2 : Coal City, IL
Filtered Tornado Count: 76. The raw number was 91 as of late Monday night. But after NOAA analyzed each tornado sighting it determined that some of these reports were the same tornado, seen from different vantage points. It may be the 3rd or 4th biggest November outbreak in U.S. history - possibly the most severe so far north, so late in the season. Map above: NOAA SPC.
"You don't need to talk about climate change per se ... Statistically, you are looking at a series of numbers. If it were a roulette wheel, you could say, 'It's coming up black more and more frequently.' Can I attribute that to black being overweighted by the croupier? Or to the pit boss, or the machine being broken? It doesn't matter. Some people will argue that ice ages have waxed and waned for tens of millennia and that this is part of a natural cycle. That doesn't change the fact that black is coming up more frequently and you will get less out of an acre of corn than you used to. The price for that land simply cannot be justified by the income it can generate."In other words, it doesn't matter what's causing it, but something's definitely not right, and investing in protection from that uncertainty now seems a must..."
Photo credit above: "A resident bikes past the devastation in Tacloban, central Philippines."
Top U.N. Official Warns Of Coal Risks. Here's the introduction to a New York Times article: "Most of the world’s coal needs to stay in the ground if greenhouse gas emissions are to be held in check, the United Nations’ top climate change official said Monday in a speech to coal industry executives here in Poland, one of the most coal-dependent nations on Earth. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change, told industry officials here that they were putting the global climate and their shareholders at risk by failing to support the search for alternative methods of producing energy..."