Bad weather Monticello

The skies above Monticello High School on Tuesday morning, Aug. 20, 2019.

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UPDATE, 11:50 a.m.:

CHAMPAIGN — First responders in Champaign County are standing by how they alerted people to today’s severe weather. But University of Illinois police say an Illini Alert that referenced a “tornado warning” could have been worded better.

Champaign County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator John Dwyer said a Champaign police officer reported a funnel cloud at Kirby Avenue and Staley Road, prompting his agency to sound the tornado sirens.

UI police spokesman Pat Wade said when police command staff heard the sirens, they sent an Illini Alert at 11:07 a.m. saying “There is a tornado warning effective immediately. Take shelter indoors immediately. More information to come.”

At 11:12 a.m., the National Weather Service tweeted “There is currently no tornado warning in effect for Champaign County.”

At 11:22 a.m., Illini Alert sent a message saying “The tornado threat has passed. It is now safe to resume normal activities.”

Dwyer said the reported funnel cloud turned out to be what’s known as a “gustnado,” which Dwyer described as a “small whirlwind” that doesn’t have the rotation associated with a tornado.

Wade said police wanted to be quick to send out the Illini Alert since thousands of students are moving into dorms today.


UPDATE, 11:30 a.m.:

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Champaign, Douglas, northwestern Coles, northern Moultrie, northwestern Vermilion, and southeastern Piatt counties.

The warning is in effect until noon.

The storm system has wind gusts of 70-miles-per-hour and quarter inch size hail.

All of East Central Illinois remains under a severe thunderstorm watch until 3 p.m. Tuesday.

You should monitor the conditions throughout the day and be prepared to take shelter.


UPDATE, 11 a.m.:

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Champaign, Western Douglas, Northwestern Coles, Southeastern Macon, Moultrie, and Piatt counties.

The warning is in effect until 11:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Southern Macon County is under a severe thunderstorm warning until 11:15 a.m. Tuesday.

The storm system has wind gusts of 60 to 70-miles-per-hour and quarter inch size hail.

All of East Central Illinois remains under a severe thunderstorm watch until 3 p.m. Tuesday.

You should monitor the conditions throughout the day and be prepared to take shelter.


UPDATE, 10:30 a.m.:

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for DeWitt, Northern Macon, and Northern Piatt counties until 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The storm includes 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts and quarter size hail.

Souther Macon County is under a severe thunderstorm warning until 11:15 a.m. Tuesday. That storm has 70 mile-per-hour wind gusts and quarter size hail.

All of East Central Illinois remains under a severe thunderstorm watch until 3 p.m. Tuesday.


Original story, published 7 a.m.:

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for all of East Central Illinois.

The watch is in effect until 3 p.m. Tuesday and includes Champaign, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Shelby, and Vermilion counties.

You should monitor the conditions throughout the day and be prepared to take shelter.