Odd Champaign weather could cause some damage yet

By Steve Contorno

Central Illinois had a relatively mild early tornado season. But Thursday, weather in the Champaign county area was abnormally active.

In just the first week of June, temperatures reached over 90 degrees, topping out at 92. But WILL Chief Meteorologist Ed Kieser said the heat wasn’t the only thing odd about the weather.

“The bigger the difference in air pressure, the higher the wind speeds become. That difference was unusually high for this time of year,” Kieser said.

Kieser credited a storm in Minnesota as causing the forceful winds in central Illinois.

“There’s a very big storm system in Minnesota. Pretty massive with counter-clockwise winds,” Kieser said. “Even here we’re getting wind gusts over 40 mph as a result of this system.”

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The storm has caused tornado spottings in parts of the Midwest. And though a Tornado Watch is currently in affect for parts of northern Illinois and Wisconsin, Kieser is doubtful it will reach the Champaign area.

“I’m not going to rule it out, but the chances of the storm producing a tornado here isn’t likely, but not out of the question,” Kieser said. “The ingredients to produce a tornado are much greater up north.”

Kieser did say, though, that the current conditions in Illinois could cause some damage.

“We could see some trees being knocked down, power lines, power poles – it could cause some problems,” Kieser said. “But I don’t think houses will be blown over.”

Currently, the entire state of Illinois is under a Wind Advisory that will be in effect until midnight. Kieser said he expects scattered thunderstorms to cross through central Illinois sometime after midnight.