Weather History: Looking back at Nov. 17, 2013 severe weather outbreak

Severe weather struck parts of the QCA, but the strongest storms happened to our east.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 9:16 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 12:04 PM CST
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WASHINGTON, Ill. (KWQC) - November 17, 2013 a severe weather outbreak impacted several states, including Iowa and Illinois. The most notable storm of the day was the tornado that struck Washington, Illinois; just east of Peoria, Ill.

Miles and miles of destruction could be seen in the days and weeks after a powerful ef-4 tornado tore through Washington, Illinois on November 17, 2013.

Eastern Iowa, as well as western and central Illinois woke up to temperatures in the 50s with sunshine, quickly warming to the 70s by late morning ahead of a powerful low pressure and cold front.

Warm temperatures and dew points in the 60s with lots of spin in the atmosphere was a recipe for disaster.

This prompted the Storm Prediction Center to issue a rare moderate to high risk of severe weather.

By 8:40 a.m., a Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) Tornado Watch was issued for the TV6 viewing area and most of Illinois.

While severe weather and damage was minimal across the TV6 viewing area as the storms first developed, they continued to move into an environment ripe for severe weather.

The Washington, Illinois tornado began in 10:59 a.m. southeast of East Peoria and continued on a 46.2 mile path of destruction until 11:47 a.m.

At its widest, the tornado was a half-mile wide with peak wind gusts of mph, making in an EF-4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

125 people were injured, and three people died.

TV6 was on the ground the day after the storm, and spoke to one resident at the time, who said it could have been much worse.

“I can’t believe, looking at this, that there weren’t more deaths. I mean, I just feel like we were very, very lucky in that respect.”

The Washington, Illinois tornado was just one of 70 tornadoes reported across seven states on November 17th, 2013.

Click here for the latest First Alert Forecast.