National Weather Service issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 5:30 p.m. Friday; Tornado Watch and Wind Advisory until 10 p.m. Friday
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (March 31, 2023) – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) sent a news release at 4:30 p.m. Friday advising everyone in Illinois to prepare for severe weather. Multiple weather alerts received throughout the afternoon warned of a large and potentially severe storm system approaching.
“The entire state will be affected,” warned IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau, “and this is one of the worst predicted storms we’ve seen in years.”
Tate-Nadeau continued, “If you have a weather radio, I would definitely pull that out. Everyone in the family needs to know where to go in the case of damaging hail, heavy rain, and flooding, strong winds, and tornadoes.”
IEMA has been coordinating with the National Weather Service and local jurisdictions since the storm was identified.
Forecasters say this storm is expanding, and that several tornadoes with long damage tracks are possible. Illinois averages 53 tornadoes per year and ranks fourth in the United States for the most tornadoes per square mile.
Watches and Warnings
According to the National Weather Service, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur; it only means they are possible. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when severe thunderstorms are occurring or imminent in the warning area. Severe thunderstorms are defined as having winds of 58 mph or higher and/or hail 1 inch in diameter or larger.
A Tornado Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur; it only means they are possible. A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado is imminent. When a tornado warning is issued, seek safe shelter immediately.
An Illinois Severe Weather Preparedness Guide can be downloaded from IEMA’s website: