Marion, Illinois tornado outbreak

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Marion, Illinois tornado outbreak
The F4 Marion tornado crossing Interstate 57 near Illinois Route 13
TypeTornado outbreak
DurationMay 29, 1982
Tornadoes confirmed7 confirmed
Max. rating1F4 tornado
Duration of tornado outbreak213 hours, 10 minutes
Damage>$166 million 1997 USD[1]
Areas affectedIllinois, Indiana, Missouri
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale
2Time from first tornado to last tornado

The Marion, Illinois tornado outbreak was a small, severe tornado outbreak that affected southern portions of the midwestern United States on May 29, 1982.

Tornadoes touched down in the states of Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana, with Marion, Illinois, being the hardest hit. Ten fatalities occurred there after the town took a direct hit from an F4 tornado.[2] The outbreak also produced an F3 tornado affecting the Conant, Illinois, area and several weaker tornadoes in the surrounding area.[3]

Meteorological synopsis[edit]

Radar loop of the storm that produced the Marion, Illinois, tornado.
Satellite photo of the clouds that produced the storm.
Map of counties with confirmed tornadoes on May 29, 1982

On the 12:00 UTC surface chart, a cold front was draped from Minnesota southwest across Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and into Texas. A triple point was found just south of Des Moines, Iowa, with a warm front positioned east across northern Illinois and Indiana. Morning dew points ranged from 65 °F (18 °C) at Saint Louis, Missouri, and Louisville, Kentucky, to 72 °F (22 °C) at Memphis, Tennessee. 70 °F (21 °C) or 71 °F (22 °C) dew points were found in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Springfield and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. An outflow boundary was draped over Central Illinois and Missouri from overnight convection that was decaying as it tracked east across the two states.[4] This outflow boundary provided the potential for storms to redevelop.[5] By mid-afternoon, temperatures at Carbondale, Illinois, and Marion had risen to the middle and upper 80s°F with dew points near 70 °F (21 °C).[4] At 1:03 p.m., a tornado watch was issued for the region. Later in the afternoon the National Weather Service in Saint Louis, Missouri, issued several severe weather warnings for Williamson County and surrounding counties. At 2:58 p.m. a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Jackson County and Williamson County. At 3:00 p.m, a tornado was observed near Carterville, Illinois, prompting a tornado warning at 3:19 p.m.[6]

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes by Fujita rating
FU F0 F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 Total
0 2 2 0 2 1 0 7
Confirmed tornadoes – May 29, 1982
Time (CST)
Path length
F3 Unknown Montgomery 1305 3 miles None reported
F3 N of Percy to WNW of Conant Perry 1320 10 miles Four homes were destroyed and 5 others were damaged in Conant. 7 injuries reported.
F4 WNW of Carterville to E of Marion Williamson 1405 17 miles 10 deaths 52 businesses and 300 homes were destroyed, 324 homes were damaged, and over 200 cars destroyed. Over 200 were injured and 1,000 left homeless.
F0 Unknown Saline 1526 Not reported None reported
F0 Unknown Saline 1546 Not reported None reported
F1 Unknown Gibson 1610 Not reported $250,000 property damage
F1 Unknown Boone 0300 0 Miles None reported
Sources: National Climatic Data Center Storm Data, Grazulis (1982)

Marion, Illinois, tornado[edit]

Damage to the Marion area.

The Marion, Illinois tornado touched down near Carterville, Illinois, at 3:00 p.m. resulting in damage to a subdivision near John A. Logan College. The tornado then tracked into downtown Carterville then tracked southeast into Crainville, Illinois, after which it caused moderate damage to the area surrounding Williamson County Regional Airport.[7] At 3:16 p.m. the tornado either formed a new funnel or changed course as it tracked into the west side of Marion along Illinois Route 13 causing extensive damage throughout the city. During this time the tornado was observed as a multiple-vortex tornado with up to three smaller tornadoes swirling around the main tornado.[2] The tornado struck a car along Interstate 57, causing it to explode.[2] By 3:30 p.m. the tornado had exited the city and dissipated near Illinois Route 166. The tornado had destroyed the Shawnee Village Apartment Complex and severely damaged three shopping centers. The tornado heavily damaged the area surrounding the Interstate 57 and Illinois Route 13 interchange including the Marion Ford dealership. The tornado also damaged two schools, 648 homes, and 52 businesses.[2] The tornado caused 10 deaths, 181 injuries, and in excess of 1,000 people homeless.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The thirty most damaging tornadoes since 1890". National Severe Storms Laboratory.
  2. ^ a b c d "Tornado track". NOAA/NWS. June 27, 2007.
  3. ^ "Timeline on tornado that devastated Marion on May 29, 1982". The Southern. May 29, 2007.
  4. ^ a b "May 29, 1982 Weather". NOAA/NWS. June 27, 2007.
  5. ^ "Weather Gloassary for Storm Spotters". NOAA/NWS. March 28, 2006.
  6. ^ "20 Years". NOAA/NWS. June 27, 2007.
  7. ^ "Top Five Most Severe Tornadoes". WPSD. March 11, 2007.
  8. ^ "Storm Data". National Climatic Data Center.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°44′N 88°56′W / 37.733°N 88.933°W / 37.733; -88.933