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Illinois' Tornado Activity Well Above Average For 2015

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois was hit hard by tornadoes in 2015, well above its average and the fourth-most in the nation, according to the National Weather Service.

Based on preliminary data, Illinois had a total of 69 twisters, well above the state's 25-year average of 53.

By August, the Chicago area had set a record for the number of tornadoes in 2015.

Only Texas (239), Kansas (125) and Oklahoma (110) had more, and all three states were well above their state's average.

Illinois' neighbors to the west, Iowa (58) and Missouri (48), were slightly above their average.

Interestingly, another Plains state, Nebraska, was well below its average, with only 26 reported tornadoes.

In total, the United States reported 1,152 tornadoes in 2015, with the overwhelming majority (1,069) reported as relatively weaker EF-0 or EF-1 storms.

There were no EF-5 tornadoes reported, and three EF-4s.

One of those EF-4s hit in northwest Illinois on April 9, killing two people in the town of Fairdale. The weather service reported a total of 11 tornadoes in the state that day alone.

The tornado that tore through the towns of Coal City and Braidwood on June 22 was the strongest such storm to hit the Chicago metro area in 25 years.

The National Weather Service classified the tornado as an EF-3, with winds up to 160 miles per hour.

That ranked as the strongest Chicago metro area tornado since the deadly EF-5 that devastated the town of Plainfield in 1990.

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