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Supercell storm produces rare February tornado in Marshall, Putnam counties

U.S. National Weather Service Quad Cities

A rare winter tornado touched down in Marshall and Putnam counties on Thursday afternoon.

The National Weather Service office in the Quad Cities says a supercell storm produced the EF-1 tornado in Marshall County before moving into Putnam County.

The tornado was spotted on Illinois Route 18 near Magnolia, or about a mile from the county line. Putnam County Emergency Management Agency coordinator Chauntelle Biagi-Bruer said the tornado tipped over a semi, damaged a few outbuildings, and dropped tree branches into the roadway. No homes were damaged. Traffic on Route 18 was limited to one lane while the road was cleaned up.

The tornado also briefly touched down in an open field near Henry. The tornado was on the ground for about 12 minutes, moving about 10 miles before dissapating off Route 89 near the Edgewood Park Golf Club and Putnam County Junior High.

Thursday was only the second date in February since 1950 with a confirmed tornado reported in the NWS Quad Cities region.

Temperatures are unseasonably warm currently. The NWS reports the conditions were similar to those which produced other winter tornadoes. A deep pressure system moved unusually warm air northwards. Strong winds were gusting around 40-45 mph at ground level, and moisture levels were also higher than what's normal for February.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.