SPC Stats

Path length: 8.8 miles

Width:  880 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  12

Rating:  F3

County:  Schuyler

Per the SPC Tornado Database, there were 35 tornadoes on June 21, 1981. They were spread across the country, from Florida to Pennsylvania over to Kansas and Nebraska.  One of the strongest was an F3 in Schuyler County, IL. 

In the SPC Database, this tornado is listed with an 8.8 mile path passing through parts of Schuyler County.  Most of the impacts were in the towns of Littleton and Ray.  The Storm Data Narrative and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes indicate this was one of a family of tornadoes that covered much more ground.  Storm Data has a path of 80 miles across 5 Illinois Counties while Grazulis lists a path of 50 miles in Hancock and Schuyler Counties.  

The focus of this summary will be on the tornado impacts in Schuyler County.  Half of the buildings and homes in Littleton were damaged/destroyed.  There was 1 fatality.  A man was struck by a beam as he was leaving his mobile home.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 40.23 / -90.63   End:  40.20 / -90.47      

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Newspaper Clippings

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the June 1981 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have an 8.8 mile path length.
  • Storm Data has an 80 mile path.  They indicate more than one tornado across 5 counties.
  • Grazulis indicates a skipping path of 50 miles and a family of tornadoes.

Max Width:

  • Grazulis has a width of 800 yards.
  • Remaining sources list the width at 880 yards.

Counties:

  • SPC/NCDC list Schuyler County only
  • Grazulis has Hancock and Schuyler County.
  • Storm Data has Hancock, Schuyler, Fulton, Mason and Menard in their entry.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      June 1981 Storm Data Publication

      newspapers.com

      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1233.

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