Tornadoes in January: How often do they occur in Iowa and Illinois?

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 3:28 PM CST
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - Two tornadoes were reported in eastern Iowa on January 16, marking the earliest in the year Iowa has reported a tornado in history.

On January 24, 1967, there were 13 tornadoes in southeastern Iowa; the only tornadoes to ever be reported in the month of January across the state. Just a few days later, there was a major snow storm and blizzard in those same areas.

As for the tornadoes in Iowa Jan. 16, the first tornado was spotted near Williamsburg, Iowa in Iowa County.

The National Weather Service in the Quad Cities rated the rare January tornado an EF-1 with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, causing minor damage to a cattle shelter and trees near a farmstead. It was on the ground for about five miles, lasting eight minutes.

Between 1950 and 2022, 13 tornadoes were reported during the month of January in Iowa.

The two tornadoes on January 16th were the first since the 13 on January 24, 1967. Across the river in Illinois, 33 tornadoes have occurred during January, from 1950 to 2022.

Earlier this year, eight tornadoes occurred in central Illinois, including an EF-1 tornado with 110 mph in Macon County.

Historically speaking, January is typically the slowest month for severe weather in both Iowa and Illinois, but the tornadoes earlier this month serve as a reminder that severe weather can happen any time of day, any day of the year.

Download the FREE QC Weather App from KWQC to stay updated with the weather any time of the year.