“Gustnadoes” Are Now A Thing To Know About!

It was our second severe weather outbreak in as many weeks, but you may have wondered why we didn’t get a Tornado Warning back on Tuesday when there were reports of THIS on social media!

Alas, that was not a true tornado, according to the National Weather Service. That was something called a GUSTnado, which is a new term for me!

So, what’s the difference? Well, for it to be a true tornado, the swirling wind has to be connected to the storm clouds above. Otherwise it’s just…well…swirling wind, which when picking up the amount of dust in the video above, looks rather dramatic! Don’t let it fool you though, gustnadoes can have winds similar to an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado, so they can be dangerous when tossing around debris.

The NWS says there was weak rotation in the area, but NOT where this gustnado was seen. There was a Severe Thunderstorm Warning in place in the gustnado area near Durand, Ill. (with winds over 60 mph), but there was no actual tornado.

The NWS did a great break down about what happened on Monday night

Headline: March 4-5, 2024 Severe Weather.  Sub Headline: Several tornado reports in Winnebago County, Illinois.  During the afternoon of March 4th, we received several tornado reports near Durand, IL in Winnebago County. While our radar indicated elevated, weak rotation elsewhere with the storm, the location of the reports did not occur in the same area. Based on a review of multiple sources of video and photos, including a collaboration with the Winnebago County EM, evidence does not support a tornado in this area. No damage has been reported. Large areas of swirling dust, commonly described as “gustnadoes”, sometimes occur along the leading edge of storm outflow. These are short-lived, may cause little to no damage, and the swirling is at ground level, not connected to the parent thunderstorm. They can sometimes be confused with tornadoes. Annotated storm chaser video screen grab on right side of graphic: Area of swirling dust (“gustnado”). Ground-level rotation is not connected to p

What most of us DID see was a light show and some TERRENTIAL rain! Take a look at some of these numbers for Romeoville, Burr Ridge, West Chicago, Geneva and other towns:

Headline: March 4-5, 2024 Severe Weather. Sub Headline: Widespread heavy rainfall brought over an inch of accumulation to much of the area. Map shows estimated rainfall totals across the area. Text and table on right side describe the event with a listing of highest and select rainfall totals. Graphic Created: Tuesday, March 5, 2024 1:28 PM CST