Tornado near peak strength to the west of Watseka.
|Date||June 15, 2034|
|Touchdown location||8:35 PM CDT|
180 mph (estimated)
|Damage||$1 billion (2034 USD)|
|Areas affected||Watseka, Illinois suburbs|
| Part of the|
2034 Tornado Season
The tornado left a path 33.45 miles long and 1.20 miles wide at its peak, remaining on the ground for 38 minutes. Three people were killed along the path and 49 were injured. The tornado initially received a rating of EF3 based on structural damage in Watseka, with estimated wind speeds of 155 miles per hour. A subsequent secondary damage survey conducted in October of 2034 concluded that the damage in rural areas to the west of Watseka was indicative of significantly higher winds, and warranted a rating of mid-range EF4. Wind speeds in to the west of Watseka were estimated at 180 miles per hour based on damage to farm buildings and crops.
The Watseka tornado was the first to be rated EF4 or higher in the state of Illinois since 2022, as well as the first killer tornado in the state since 2029. The tornado's three victims were a married couple and their two-year-old daughter who attempted to flee east along U.S. Route 24 as the tornado approached, and were killed when the tornado tossed their SUV from the highway into a field. Although the Watseka tornado's death toll was low compared to many of the other violent tornadoes in the June 2034 tornado outbreak sequence, the nature of the fatalities lead to considerable media coverage, with National Weather Service officials urging the public not to attempt to escape from tornadoes in cars.
The Watseka tornado was part of the June 2034 tornado outbreak sequence; one of the most prolific tornado outbreaks in recorded history; a total of 391 tornadoes were confirmed over the course of 13 days. The outbreak was produced as an intense low-pressure area expanded northeast from Oklahoma and Missouri across the Ohio Valley and into southern Ontario. Particularly warm and humid air was pushed ahead of the system. CAPE on June 15 approached 4,000 J/kg, and the presence of directional wind shear in the warm sector of the storm coupled with high helicity values prompted the Storm Prediction Center to issue a 30% risk of severe weather for much of the northern Ohio Valley on June 10.
The outbreak began on June 5 with the development of discrete supercells over south-central Texas. Several tornadoes developed in the late evening of June 5; however, all were weak and short-lived. No fatalities or serious injuries were reported on June 5, and all but three of the 19 tornadoes confirmed were rated EF0 (the remaining three being rated EF1). More significant tornadic activity occurred on the morning and early afternoon of June 6. An EF3-rated stovepipe tornado cut through downtown Fort Worth, Texas, damaging high-rise buildings, demolishing several restaurants, convenience stores, department stores, and a gas station, and causing one fatality. A long-lived EF2 tornado, meanwhile, caused considerable damage and several critical injuries in Lawton, Oklahoma. Several other strong tornadoes occurred in the late afternoon and evening hours; however, no fatalities were reported. The first violent tornado of the outbreak leveled several well-constructed houses near Lawrence, Kansas in the evening of June 7 and was rated EF4.