This is normally the time of year when I'd be warning you about possible winter storms in Illinois. Not so much in 2024. As a matter of fact, there's a very good chance of strong tornadoes in the Land of Lincoln this Thursday according to forecasters.

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I have but one request. Please don't shoot the messenger. This is from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. Take a look at their map for this Thursday, February 8, 2024. That darker green area in the northern half of Illinois is the area that has a real chance to see strong storms and yes, even tornadoes.

NOAA Storm Prediction Center
NOAA Storm Prediction Center

Here are the exact (and very meteorological) words about what Illinois needs to watch out for:

If thunderstorms can develop, they would be capable of producing isolated hail, strong/damaging winds, and perhaps a tornado given the favorable kinematic environment forecast.

The good news is their "confidence is low" that convective activity will happen. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but it's probably important for real tornadic development.

There are a lot of specifics and details in the NOAA Storm Prediction Center discussion. I asked my wife, the meteorologist, what it all means and her takeaway is just to be aware that strong storm development is possible, if not likely.

Possible tornadoes in the northern half of Illinois in February is just another display of how 2024 is starting off mega-weird when it comes to weather. Maybe in March, it will rain licorice. Hey, anything appears to be possible.

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