Forecast models: Fairdale tornado vs. Today

Staff Report 

Storms are coming, even if you can’t see them on the radar yet.

Tonight’s storms will develop quickly, moving through the area from the northwest to the southeast at around 50 mph. They will not appear as a steady line on radar, the classic image we have of thunderstorms as seen on our TVs here in northern Illinois.

Instead, these storms will develop in isolation and very fast. The forecast models for today paint a bleak picture, especially if you remember how quickly the storms which produced the April 9, 2015 tornado that hit Rochelle and Fairdale formed.

Here are the Storm Prediction Center’s Day 1 Convective Outlooks from that storm:

April 9, 2015 severe weather outlook.
April 9, 2015 severe weather outlook.
April 9, 2015 tornado probability.
April 9, 2015 tornado probability.

Now, compare those to today’s and you can understand what we may be in store for over the next few hours:

June 22, 2016 severe weather outlook.
June 22, 2016 severe weather outlook.
June 22, 2016 tornado probability.
June 22, 2016 tornado probability.

These storms will develop rapidly and can become deadly in a very short span of time. The storm which produced the Fairdale tornado began as a small rain shower 40 miles west of Princeton at around 5:30 p.m. By 7 p.m. it was a massive EF-4 wedge tornado, the most powerful tornado in the nation last year.

Again, stay advised of local conditions. Check the batteries in your weather radio; if you don’t have one, buy one. Keep your cell phone charged. And if the weather turns for the worst, do not wait to hear the tornado sirens before you take cover.

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