March 31 tornado outbreak the largest in QCA history

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:25 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 12:17 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - It has been more than two months since more than two dozen tornadoes caused damage in many communities across the TV6 viewing.

“From a number of different standpoints, this was a very significant outbreak,” said Rich Kinney, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at National Weather Service Quad Cities.

Nationwide, there were 145 tornadoes confirmed on March 31, 2023. Locally, there were 29.

“For our forecast area, which includes 36 counties, this ranks as the biggest tornado outbreak in data going back to 1950,” said Kinney.

In addition to eastern Iowa and western Illinois, NWS Quad Cities covered counties in northeastern Missouri.

The March 31 event exceed the previous ‘top tornado day’ by 10 tornadoes. There were 19 tornadoes across the area on May 8, 1988.

Of significance from the 20203 event were the violent nature of the tornadoes.

On the Enhanced Fujuita Scale, 15 of the 29 tornadoes had an EF-2 ratings or higher with winds of at least 110 mph.

The strongest of the tornadoes was an EF-4 in the small town of Keota, Iowa in Keokuk County.

It was on the ground for more than 20 miles and had peak winds estimated to be 170 mph, wiping a house off its foundation and lofting a car in the air and tossing it 1,000 feet into a nearby field.

The outbreak is just one of several major weather events in recent history.

“When you go back to the derecho in 2020, it’s certainly been an active period here for the Quad City area,” said Kinney.