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a tornado off in the distance surrounded by dark gray clouds

Is Illinois part of a new tornado alley?

As of mid-September of this year, guess which state has had the most tornadoes for the year. Texas?  Kansas? Oklahoma? Alabama? Nope, it’s Illinois! As of September 11, Illinois has had 135 tornadoes. The state annual average is 54. Is this part of an ominous trend? What is “...
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Wispy white clouds against blue sky

Why does Illinois weather come from the west?

Here in the Midwest, we usually look toward our western skies to see what may be coming our way.  That’s because the winds several thousand feet up that drive our weather are mostly coming from the west. Why this direction? There are three steps. 1. Air pressure and wind “Air...
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Blue sky with smokestack further away releasing cloudy emissions.

Was the climate quiz challenging?

We tested your climate knowledge. How did you do? In what century were the processes that created the greenhouse effect discovered? ANSWER: The 19th century, which would be the 1800s! John Tyndall published his results of several experiments that showed certain...
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smoky, hazy scene over lake front and city scape.

Why are we getting smoke from Canada?

Much of the Midwest has experienced very hazy and smoky conditions the past few days. This is caused by a combination of several atmospheric conditions along with an extreme natural event at the same time. What is the atmosphere doing? Currently, the U.S. is being affected by...
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Clear photo globe sitting on rock edge reflecting earth, water, and nature scenes.

How much do you know about climate? Take the quiz!

How much do you know about climate? Like the weather, let's change it up. It's All About Weather quiz time! 10 questions to test your knowledge of anything and everything climate. From greenhouse gas emissions to warming effects, how much do you already know? Read the questions and see what you...
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Thunderstorm clouds with lightning strike over rural area with corn fields.

What does the startling, sharp cracking sound of thunder mean?

While I was home from college one summer, an early morning thunderstorm passed over our farmhouse. I was in my room, trying to sleep through the storm, while my parents were in the living room. At the peak of the storm, a tremendous boom rattled the house. I then heard my parents frantically moving...
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Stormy clouds over country roads

What is atmospheric stability?

As I reflect, it was Severe Weather Preparedness Week— March 6-10, 2023. We have already had severe weather this year, but it will become more frequent now that spring is around the corner. Sometimes when thunderstorms are forecast, you will hear weathercasters talking about the atmosphere being...
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fog covering over grassy area and small lake

No two fogs are the same

We are bound to have fog from time to time. I still remember when I was in my late teens and insisted on going to see some friends when I could barely see the edge of the road. My parents were not happy. Some areas, such as San Francisco or London, have fog more often. The cause of fog can depend...
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Blog Authors
Duane Friend

Duane Friend

State Master Naturalist and Climate Change Specialist
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