75th anniversary of central Illinois last F5 tornado

Posted: Updated:

March 16th is the 75th anniversary of one of the most violent tornadoes on record in central Illinois. It was on that date in 1942 that central Illinois saw its last F5 strength tornado. The tornado occurred as part of a 2-day outbreak across the central and southern United States. These tornadoes were all at least F2 strength on the original Fujita Scale. In the state of Illinois alone there were 5 confirmed tornadoes at or above F2 strength with a total of 22 deaths. They were located in areas between Galesburg and Danville.

#1 Ivesdale/Alvin
                - Peak Intensity: F4
                - Casualties: 11 dead, 60 injured

#2 Fairview
                - Peak Intensity: F2
                - Casualties: 0 dead, unknown injured

#3 Middle Grove/Yates City
                - Peak Intensity: F2
                - Casualties: 0 dead, 60 injured

#4 Chillicothe/Lacon
                - Peak Intensity: F5
                - Casualties: 6 dead, 70 injured

#5 Lincoln
                - Peak Intensity: F3
                - Casualties: 2 dead, 3 injured

One thing to keep in mind with historical tornado information is that tornado tracks were now as well documented back then as they are today. For example, a tornado may have been assumed to have been in contact with the ground the entire time, or minor directional changes were not as well documented. The tracks presented are approximations, based on newspaper accounts of damage locations.

For more information on this tornado events of March 16, 1942, click here.

Current Conditions