Tornadoes Are Rare In Chicago – Why?

By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — An expert on weather in the Chicago-area says the EF-1 tornado that touched down in Rogers Park Monday is a rare occurrence — but not unprecedented.

Brian Leatherwood, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, says the last confirmed tornado to touch down in the Windy City was Labor Day in 2018.

That relatively weak tornado caused a lot of tree damage in the Garfield Park area.

Leatherwood said he’s only known of seven confirmed tornadoes that have touched down in Cook County since 2010. None has been very strong.

He has theories about why tornadoes are so rare here — and weak. Lake Michigan and the density of construction on land may reduce the ability of tornadoes to form, he said.

Another theory: Chicago may just be lucky.

The tornado that hit Rogers Park Monday did generate a significant amount damage as trees were pushed down. 

We have confirmed that an EF-1 tornado with estimated peak winds of 110 mph and path length of 3 miles touched down in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago during the 8/10/2020 derecho event. #ilwx #inwx

— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) August 11, 2020