Case Study: June 22nd, 2016: Deja Vu Part Two

Can lightning hit the same spot twice? What are the odds that a tornado hits your house one time in your lifetime? What about twice? The weather is one giant puzzle with patterns that meteorologists can sometimes decipher. What happens when a familiar pattern resurfaces? The event of June 22nd, 2016 across northern and central Illinois can best be described as deja vu part two. A hybrid of two significant events in our history. The event itself evolved like June 5th, 2010, but followed virtually the same paths as June 22nd, 2015. No, that is not a typo. Exactly one year to the date another severe weather outbreak struck the state of Illinois. This one was every bit as significant as it’s aforementioned relatives.

 

Fast Facts:

*18 tornadoes touched down across northern and central Illinois

*Top twenty tornado event in state history (#16 on the all time list)

*No deaths occurred with this outbreak

*Same areas affected by this event as the one a year prior

*2 EF-2 tornadoes, 9 EF-1 tornadoes, 7 EF-0 tornadoes

*I-55 corridor hit hard once again

The Forecast: 

Capture

Severe weather and June have become synonymous across the state of Illinois. Recently June has become Illinois’ top month for reported tornadoes. Events like June 5th, 2010 and June 22nd, 2015 have cemented their places into Illinois tornado infamy. As the forecast for June 22nd, 2016 was becoming more clear, it appeared that it would also join the ranks of Illinois infamy.  For days it looked like portions of the state would be under the gun for severe weather. As a forecaster, I zeroed in on recent history and one date came to mind. June 5th, 2010. Synoptically it had some differences, but on the mesoscale there were a ton of similarities. We’ll take a step by step look at some of the features that evolved to make this event noteworthy.

20160622h323z 20160622h523z 20160622h8523z 20160622mslp23zThese images (click to enlarge) are depicting the vast amount of wind shear in the environment across northern and central Illinois. From left to right we see the H3, H5, H85, and surface flow. One thing to note just on models alone is the amount of directional shear present. Most forecasters that don’t have too much experience with northwest flow events will be quick to write off southerly surface flow and southwest h85 winds. They see this and my think “linear”, “upscale growth”, “unidirectional.” Taking a look at the soundings from ILX and DVN, we clearly see a primed environment for severe weather. (below)

DVN ILXWhile CAPE values were not overly impressive, the turning in wind with height across both balloon sites depict a volatile environment for rotating updrafts. Enough dry air was working into the mid levels which is a good thing and there was bit of a cap. Some caveats with the system was the lack of oppressive instability across northern Illinois. Early morning thunderstorms moved across the area and acted to stabilize the atmosphere for a good amount of the day.

20160622mlc23z 20160622muc23z 20160622sbc23z 2016062203km23zThemodynamically speaking, it’s about as classic as it gets when looking for a sharp instability gradient and axis for supercells to ride along. Storms would develop on the northern edge of the instability axis and ride southeast along the effective warm front. Taking a look below at a few critical values that I look for when forecasting, we see an impressive environment conducive for violent thunderstorms.

20160622lllr23z 20160622mllr23z 20160622srh23z 20160622stp23zWe see on the far left a plot of low level lapse rates at 23z (6:00 P.M). This is when the first discernible echos popped up on radar. Initially these were not surface based due to the relatively stable low level lapse rates at around 6.0. These storms started producing hail, but didn’t have enough low level instability at the time. If you look at the next image, you will see a steep area of near 8.5 in the mid levels. When better lapse rates became realized at the surface, the effective storm relative helicity (third image) was very conducive to tornadoes across northern and central Illinois. The last image is a plot of the “significant tornado parameter” which show very high values along and south of the warm front. This was nearly juxtaposed with the majority of tornado reports. The last image below shows 50-60 kt bulk shear across the region. When you have April level shear combined with June level instability, you are primed for a severe weather event that will be talked about for years to come.

20160622bs23z

Forecasting Timeline:

June 19th, 4:00 A.M. – The Storm Prediction Center highlights northern and central Illinois under a risk for severe thunderstorms as early as Sunday morning. Cite all weather hazards possible.day4prob_20160619_1200

June 20th, 3:30 A.M. – The Storm Prediction Center upgrades most of northern and central Illinois to an enhanced risk on their day three outlook. Cite severe weather outbreak possible with all hazards possible.day3otlk_20160620_0730_prt

June 21st, 1:00 A,M. & 12:30 P.M. – The Storm Prediction Center upgrades northern and central Illinois to a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms. A day two moderate is rare across the region and concern grows for violent supercells with tornadoes, high winds, and hail being the threats.day2otlk_20160621_1730_prt

June 21st, 12:00 P.M. – The National Weather Service in Chicago and Illinois Storm Chasers issue threat updates regarding the situation for the evening of the 22nd.

LOTbrief3 LOTbrief2 LOTBrief1 DNEALDay3

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 22nd, 1:00 A.M. & 3:00 P.M. – Storm Prediction Center continues moderate risk across the region with 10% hatched tornado probabilities. This means that the area is primed for supercells and tornadoes with a few significant tornadoes possible across the area.day1probotlk_20160622_2000_torn_prt

June 22nd, 12:05 P.M. – The National Weather Service office in Chicago issues a graphic outlining the significant risk that the area will be under and highlights the specific threat level.wxstory

Event Timeline:

June 22nd, 1:00 P.M. – Showers and thunderstorms have developed and moved across northern Illinois. This acts to stabilize the atmosphere and reinforce the warm front to the I-80 corridor. These thunderstorms played a key factor in limiting the overall severe threat north of I 88 and east of I 39. While thunderstorms did develop later on, the overall severe threat was much lower than areas to the south and west. Photo credit below: Kelly Standfield (top) Tracey Rees (bottom)

June 22nd, 3:39 P.M. – The Storm Prediction Center has issued a mesoscale discussion for all of northern Illinois highlighting the probable issuance of a tornado watch. The talk of a few stronger tornadoes is noted.

June 22nd, 5:00 P.M. – Activity has been slow to develop across the region. A strato-cumulus deck has evolved over much of the region and some doubt has seeped into the minds of the locals whether or not a severe weather event will be likely this evening. On radar some festering showers signal a slowly evolving uptick in convection across eastern Iowa.

June 22nd, 6:00 P.M. – Radar echoes are rapidly deepening across eastern Iowa and northern Illinois. No watch has been issued after nearly two and a half hours since the mesoscale discussion. Activity has been slow to develop, a look at mesoscale analysis shows low level lapse rates barely up to 6.0. This says a stable boundary layer is still present. 

June 22nd, 6:09 P.M. – Tornado watch #286 has been issued across northern and central Illinois until 1:00 A.M. CDT. Strong tornadoes mentioned as well as eventual upscale growth.

June 22nd, 6:25 P.M – DVN issues A STRONG THUNDERSTORM WILL AFFECT LOCATIONS NEAR THE WAPSIPINICON RIVER AND WHITESIDE COUNTY for Clinton, Scott [IA] and Rock Island, Whiteside [IL] till 7:00 PM CDT

June 22nd, 6:28 P.M. – Storm Chaser Joel Wright pulls up to Tampico, IL and snaps a photo of the developing base of the supercell as it was off to his northwest (photo below) 

June 22nd, 6:30 P.M. –  DVN issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [wind: 60 MPH, hail: 1.00 IN] for Whiteside [IL] till 7:30 PM CDT

June 22nd, 6:34 P.M. – LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [tornado: POSSIBLE, wind: 70 MPH, hail: <.75 IN] for Lee [IL] 

June 22nd, 6:36 P.M. – Mid-level rotation is increasing with supercell over Lee County. Storm is very near Dixon and has recently gained severe characteristics for wind. Storm spotters and chasers are moving into positions as this storm takes an eerily similar path to a year ago.

June 22nd, 6:38 P.M. – National Weather Service Chicago issues mesoscale discussion (below)

.MESOSCALE DISCUSSION...
638 PM CDT

Storms are showing a quick upward progression early this evening
across northwest/north central Illinois and expect that trend to
continue. Mode has already appeared supercellular as storms ride a
sharp wind shift boundary that is becoming the dominant warm
front from near Dixon to the far southwest Chicago metro at
present. Given the growth of the storms, it is likely they are
becoming rooted lower and a surface-based threat may develop. In
the next hour, just based on radar trends, one of two of the
storms across Lee and Whiteside Counties may become a more
dominant supercell with a tornado threat. Environmental
parameters and the rate they are changing are at the level of
concern for a significant tornado threat along this corridor of
Lee County into northern LaSalle County and southern DeKalb
County.

Given the amount of storms that have already fired, it is possible
multi-cell clusters may try to develop somewhat quickly. That
said, the tornado threat will remain further east given an
increasing low-level jet...strong helicity...and high dew point
air keeping low-level CAPE present as well as low LCLs.

MTF


June 22nd, 6:47 P.M. – Mid-level rotation has increased in the Whiteside County supercell as it passes near Prophetstown. The storm is severe warned, but have received no reports of rotation or significant wind/hail.

June 22nd, 6:55 P.M. – Supercell is rapidly evolving near Tampico in southeastern Whiteside County. Radar shows an astounding bounded weak echo region and weak rotation. Video below from Winston Wells shows how this supercell has evolved in both definition as well as rotation!

June 22nd, 6:56 P.M. – Storm Chaser Joel Wright finishes his time lapse of the supercell as it approaches his location near Tampico. Video below.

June 22nd, 7:00 P.M. – Several supercells have formed across northern and northwest Illinois. A couple of severe thunderstorm warnings, a handful of rotating wall cloud reports, but no tornadoes. As the low level jet kicks in and the storms latch onto the warm front, the supercell quickly begin to show low level rotation.

June 22nd, 7:08 P.M. – Storm Chaser Taylor Wright documents the first tornado from the day as the rotation near Amboy tightened up and planted a brief multiple vortex tornado. Very few chasers witnessed this tornado. The tornado was reported into the National Weather Service Chicago office. Video below.

*Note – This tornado has not been surveyed and was not rated so it will not be counted in the official records at this time

June 22nd, 7:16 P.M. – NWS Chicago issues the first tornado warning of the day for Lee County until 7:45 P.M. AT 715 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR AMBOY…OR 11 MILES EAST OF WALTON…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:19 P.M. – An EF-1 tornado touches down 1.1 miles west-northwest of West Brooklyn. Video below from JWSevereWeather

June 22nd, 7:21 P.M. –  LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: <.75 IN] for Lee [IL] till 7:45 PM CDT …AT 721 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED 8 MILES EAST OF AMBOY…OR 10 MILES NORTH OF MENDOTA…MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH.

June 22nd. 7:27 P.M. – High end EF-1 tornado continues to move along Shaw Road northeast of West Brooklyn, storm chaser Max Olson snapped the picture of the tornado below at this time.

June 22nd, 7:29 P.M. –  LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 0.00 IN] for De Kalb, La Salle, Lee [IL] till 8:15 PM CDT …AT 729 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED 7 MILES WEST OF PAW PAW…OR 10 MILES NORTH OF MENDOTA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:30 P.M. – DVN issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [wind: <50 MPH, hail: 1.25 IN] for Henry [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 7:31 P.M. – Satellite tornado touches down northwest of Compton. Two tornadoes in progress at once in Lee County. Photo credit: Ethan Schisler 

June 22nd, 7:32 P.M. – Satellite tornado lifts 1.8 miles northeast of West Brooklyn

June 22nd, 7:33 P.M. – Storm spotters report a funnel cloud near Ohio in Bureau County

June 22nd, 7:34 P.M. – DVN issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau [IL] till 8:00 PM CDT …AT 733 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 7  MILES WEST OF LA MOILLE…OR 11 MILES SOUTH OF WALTON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:35 P.M. – West Brooklyn tornado dissipates 2.6 east-northeast of West Brooklyn. Tornado was rated EF-1 with 110 MPH winds and a 4.1 mile long path, max width 300 yards.

June 22nd, 7:38 P.M. – DVN issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau, Whiteside [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT …AT 738 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HOOPPOLE…OR 17 MILES SOUTH OF MORRISON… MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH. 

June 22nd, 7:40 P.M. – An EF-0 tornado touched down near La Moille in Bureau County. Photo below by Robin Tanamachi

June 22nd, 7:43 P.M. – La Moille EF-0 tornado lifts. Tornado was on the ground for half a mile was 25 yards wide.

June 22nd, 7:48 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: <.75 IN] for De Kalb, La Salle, Lee [IL] till 8:15 PM CDT …AT 747 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED SOUTH OF PAW PAW…OR 9 MILES SOUTHWEST OF SHABBONA…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:51 P.M. – LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [tornado: POSSIBLE, wind: 70 MPH, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 7:52 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT …AT 752 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HOOPPOLE…OR 17 MILES SOUTH OF ROCK FALLS…MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 30 MPH

June 22nd, 7:56 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: <.75 IN] for Henry [IL] till 8:15 PM CDT …AT 754 PM CDT…THE PUBLIC REPORTED TWO FUNNEL CLOUDS EAST OF HOOPPOLE…OR 19 MILES NORTH OF KEWANEE…MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:58 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau [IL] till 8:30 PM CDT …AT 757 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR THOMAS…OR 18 MILES NORTHWEST OF PRINCETON… MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 7:58 P.M. –  LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: <.75 IN] for De Kalb, La Salle, Lee [IL] till 8:15 PM CDT …AT 757 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER EARLVILLE…OR 9 MILES SOUTH OF SHABBONA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH. 

June 22nd, 7:58 P.M. – Earlville EF-1 tornado touches down 0.7 northeast of Earlville. Video below by Alec Scholten

June 22nd, 7:59 P.M. – Second Earlville tornado touches down briefly, an EF-0 with 80 MPH winds.

June 22nd, 8:00 P.M. – LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:45 PM CDT …AT 759 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR LA MOILLE…OR NEAR MENDOTA…MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH. 

June 22nd, 8:01 P.M. –

.MESOSCALE DISCUSSION...
800 PM CDT

Localized tornado threat along the warm front continues with
supercell storms training along or near this feature from just
east of the Quad Cities to southern DeKalb County/northern LaSalle
County. With the storm that had tracked now into far southwestern
DeKalb / far northern LaSalle County we have received multiple
reports of a tornado with /most recent north of Earlville/ and
has had a more persistent mesocyclone with it. This storm has
taken on a much more HP nature and spotter reports have confirmed
rain-wrapped nature of this low-level mesocyclone.

Other supercell storms to the west-southwest have shown signs of
tornado producers as well. Overall the warm sector winds have
become a bit less gusty and the boundary appears to have become
stationary across northern LaSalle County toward Morris. With
increasing flow on the LOT VWP /25 kt now at 2000 ft/ and
continued turning profiles along the boundary...the tornado
potential should continue in this corridor near the boundary 
especially if the storms can maintain a semi-discrete mode.
Parameters remain in place for the possibility of a briefly
stronger tornado.

Further to the north, elevated storms have shown an increase and
are approaching the heart of the Chicago area. These look to move
into the city starting 8:25-8:50 pm. Some of these storms are
starting to congeal and may bring gradually increasing wind gust
potential higher than 35 mph. Certainly lightning and heavy
downpours look like a given.

MTF

June 22nd, 8:02 P.M. – Third Earlville tornado touches down near town. Rated EF-1 with 95 MPH winds.

June 22nd, 8:04 P.M. – An EF-0 tornado touches down near Manilus. This tornado was documented by storm chasers and lasted only a few minutes. Photos below by Andrew Pritchard and Victor Gensini

June 22nd, 8:05 P.M. –  LOT issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for De Kalb, La Salle [IL] till 9:00 PM CDT …AT 804 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER EARLVILLE…OR 10 MILES SOUTH OF SHABBONA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH

June 22nd, 8:07 P.M. – Tornado #1 and #3 from Earlville have both lifted at this time. Widespread wind damage is evident around the mesocyclone of this supercell.

June 22nd, 8:10 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:45 PM CDT …AT 809 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR TROY GROVE…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:11 P.M. – An EF-1 tornado touches down near Troy Grove in La Salle County. Tornado lasted one minute and had winds up to 110 MPH. Videos below of the supercell approaching Troy Grove with intense lightning and tornado

June 22nd, 8:11 P.M. –  LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [wind: 60 MPH, hail: 0.75 IN] for Cook, DuPage [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 8:12 P.M. – Troy Grove tornado lifts.

June 22nd, 8:17 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 9:00 PM CDT …AT 816 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED JUST SOUTH OF LELAND…OR 7 MILES NORTHWEST OF SERENA…MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH. 

June 22nd, 8:19 P.M, –  DVN issues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 0.00 IN] for Bureau, Putnam [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT …AT 817 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR WALNUT…OR 8 MILES NORTHWEST OF PRINCETON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:21 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:45 PM CDT …AT 820 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED JUST EAST OF TROY GROVE…OR 8 MILES NORTHEAST OF LA SALLE… MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 25 MPH. THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING A TORNADO.

June 22nd, 8:22 P.M. – Sheridan EF-1 tornado touches down and does damage to several farmsteads.

June 22nd, 8:26 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau, Putnam [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT …AT 824 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR PRINCETON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:27 P.M. – Sheridan tornado dissipates after a 1.7 mile long path. Max width 250 yards.

June 22nd, 8:28 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 9:00 PM CDT …AT 826 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NORTHWEST OF SHERIDAN…OR NEAR SERENA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH. 

June 22nd, 8:31 P.M. –  LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 8:45 PM CDT …AT 830 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 1 MILE EAST OF TROY GROVE..OR 8 MILES NORTHWEST OF OTTAWA…MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:33 P.M. – An EF-1 tornado touched down northwest of Ottawa. This tornado was very brief, with winds to 95 MPH and a tenth of a mile long path.

June 22nd, 8:33 P.M. – An EF-0 tornado touches down near Malden and lasts half a mile with a 100 yard wide path

June 22nd, 8:34 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau, Putnam [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT …AT 833 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR PRINCETON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:35 P.M. – LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [tornado: POSSIBLE, wind: 60 MPH, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 8:37 P.M. – Malden tornado lifts and dissipates.

June 22nd, 8:38 P.M. – LOT continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: 1.00 IN] for La Salle [IL] till 9:00 PM CDT …AT 838 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER SHERIDAN…OR NEAR SERENA…MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 20 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:43 P.M. – DVN continues Tornado Warning [tornado: RADAR INDICATED, hail: <.75 IN] for Bureau, Putnam [IL] till 9:15 PM CDT …AT 841 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR LADD…OR 7 MILES EAST OF PRINCETON…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

June 22nd, 8:47 P.M. – LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning [wind: 60 MPH, hail: 1.00 IN] for Cook, DuPage [IL] and Lake [IN] till 9:45 PM CDT 

June 22nd, 8:48 P.M. – An EF-1 tornado developed near Ottawa and traveled 4.5 miles and had wind speeds of 90 MPH.

 

 

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