Illinois has seen 107 tornadoes in 2023, according to the National Weather Service.
That makes it the state with the most tornadoes this year.
It’s not surprising for Paul Sirvatka, a professor of meteorology at the College of DuPage in Wheaton.
Illinois is a state that gets a variety of a number of tornadoes, and this happens to be an abundant year. Meanwhile, states that normally see many tornadoes have not reported as many this year.
While Illinois holds this title, scientists caution the thought of adding the Prairie State to Tornado Alley.
Trent Ford, the Illinois state climatologist, said the phrasing of Tornado Alley is a misnomer. While states in the region like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas do get their share of twisters, the Southeast gets many tornadoes and leads in impact.
It’s a challenge to say whether there will be more tornadoes at this frequency in the future, Ford said. Research does suggest that climate change may affect tornado frequency in the Southeast and the Midwest, Ford said. But there’s more research to be done, he added.
“Tornadoes are hard to observe and let alone model,” Ford said.
Colby Hunt, president of the McDonough County Farm Bureau, said he saw about $400,000 in damage from intense winds in June. Farm facilities like grain bins and sheds were “just blown away.” His corn crops were damaged.
But Hunt said he wasn’t hit the hardest compared to other farmers who saw more intense storms.
It’s close to harvest time, Hunt said, and it’ll be a tight fix for people to rebuild their farms. The supply chain is still slowed from the pandemic, he added, so farmers won’t be able to replace sheds or equipment in time.
“A lot of guys are going to be struggling to try to get through the harvest with no place to store it, or in some cases, equipment to do with it,” Hunt said.