Tornado outbreak across Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky, USA – February 28, 2017

An unusual, early season destructive tornado outbreak with a number of large, damaging tornadoes hit Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky, USA late yesterday afternoon, February 28. Tornadoes, including a large wedge over Ottawa, IL, a large dusty stovepipe near Washburn, IL and a night time tornado in Rockwood, IL caused widespread destruction and at least two fatalities. Severe thunderstorms also produced large hail over Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.

The tornadoes initiated on the warm front, stretching from the surface low over E Iowa eastwards across Illinois as well as southwards across the warm sector. Later overnight, severe tornadic supercell thunderstorms formed just ahead of the eastwards advancing cold front.

Severe weather reports in this outbreak, including large hail and tornadoes. Map: NOAA SPC.

Surface analysis at 00z on March 1st, 2017 with the surface low over E Iowa and associated fronts across the Midwest. Map: NOAA SPC.

Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued MDT (moderate) risk for severe storms, expecting damaging tornadoes, destructive hail and winds. Map: NOAA SPC.

A number of chasers and eyewitnesses produced spectacular video footage of tornadoes in this outbreak: