Did Your Weather Forecaster Scare You Yesterday? Tornado Outlook for Wednesday

There was some talk in Chicagoland on Tuesday that the chance for tornadoes on Wednesday was the worst seen in decades. Let’s put this into perspective. About 24 hours before the target date, weather forecasters can tell us if we’re in a severe weather situation, but they can’t pinpoint what county or what part of a county is going to get hit by a potential tornado. Forecasters at the NWS Storm Prediction Center post a same-day TORNADO OUTLOOK GRAPHIC. They do NOT post a TORNADO OUTLOOK GRAPHIC the day before regarding the forecast for the following day.

Here is this morning’s TORNADO OUTLOOK GRAPHIC. It is NOT the worst outlook in decades. We only have to go as far back as November 17, 2013 to find a TORNADO OUTLOOK GRAPHIC that is more ominous than today’s outlook. This morning’s outlook puts Chicagoland in a 10% probability outlook. That means a 10% or greater probability of EF2 – EF5 tornadoes within 25 miles of a point in the yellow hatched area.

You can compare today’s TORNADO OUTLOOK GRAPHIC to the TORNADO OUTLOOK GRAPHIC from the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center that was issued Sunday morning November 17, 2013 before the Washington, Illinois tornado struck. Eastern Illinois and Indiana were in a 30% or greater probability of EF2 – EF5 tornadoes within 25 miles of a point. Washington, Illinois, which was in the 15% red-orange zone, was hit by a tornado that cut a path that was 200 yards wide and just over 10 miles long, and killed two people about noon. The northwest suburbs were also in the 15% red-orange zone — an area forecast with 15% greater probability of EF2 – EF5 tornadoes within 25 miles of a point.

TORNADO OUTLOOK GRAPHIC from the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.

On the Tuesday June 21, 2016 prior to the target date, the TORNADO OUTLOOK was not published (as is normal practice) regarding the following day (Wednesday). A Probabilistic Outlook was published, which put Chicagoland in a 45% “Total Severe Probability” level.

This morning forecasters have maintained the Flash Flood Watch but report that “confidence is not super high on widespread flash flooding.”

The instability line is considerably southwest of the northwest suburbs and most of Chicagoland. The severe thunderstorms are expected to ride the Warm Front, which is a considerable distance southwest of Chicagoland. The Warm Front is expected to move northeast, but the precise timing has not been specified. The movement could be this afternoon, late afternoon or tonight. Currently, the NWS reports they’re expecting the most severe weather to occur in the west and southwest suburbs or southwest of those suburbs.

Radar at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday shows storms west and northwest of Rockford, and stronger storms near Quad Cities moving southeast (Arlingtoncardinal.com/radar). Storms south of the city’s south suburbs have shown signs of diminishing since 7:00 a.m. as they move southeast.

See also …
The Cardinal NWS HIGH WIND WARNING; Tornado Outbreak Possible In Chicagoland, Illinois, Indiana




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