Tag Archives: Tornado

Third person dies of injuries from Tuesday’s tornadoes across Illinois

(OTTAWA) At least seven tornadoes roared through northern and central Illinois Tuesday afternoon, leaving three people dead.

An uprooted tree struck 76-year-old Wayne Tuntland, Tuntland’s son Toby Johnson and Johnson’s husband, 31-year-old David A. Johnson, as they were working in a backyard in the 400 block of State Street in Ottawa, according to the LaSalle County coroner’s office.

Tuntland was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:13 p.m., according to the coroner’s office.

David Johnson suffered severe head trauma and was taken to OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, then flown to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where he died later Tuesday, according to the coroner’s office.

Johnson’s husband, Toby Johnson, was also taken to St. Elizabeth’s in Ottawa, where he was treated and released Wednesday morning.

The LaSalle County Nursing Home in Ottawa was destroyed by a twister. Ten 10 people were treated for injuries when the storm struck the home with 68 residents inside. Five residents were treated for minor injuries on the scene, while five others were taken to a hospital.

“We got hit hard, but everyone including residents and staff are safe and accounted for. Your prayers are greatly appreciated,” the nursing home posted on its Facebook page.

The American Red Cross set up a reception center at Ottawa High School for those displaced by the storms. Spokeswoman Joy Squier said they are also working to help make sure the nursing home residents are placed in other facilities, with their families or with others who can help give them shelter.

In southern Illinois, Thomas McCord, 71, was in front of his home at 1529 County Rd. 1800 North in Crossville when the tornado hit, said White County Coroner Chris Marsh. Authorities found him about 70 yards away in the field behind his home. He suffered blunt force trauma.

McCord’s wife was inside the house and also injured, Marsh said. She was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released. Crossville is a village of 745 people that sits near the Indiana state line.

Before Tuesday, there had only been one tornado reported in northern Illinois during the month of February since 1950, according to the National Weather service.

The largest hail of the storm, reported in Ottawa, was baseball-sized, according to the weather service.

Investigators have surveyed damage caused by three separate tornadoes so far. An EF-3 tornado, with peak winds at 155 mph, traveled about 11 miles across Naplate and Ottawa. In Oregon, an EF-1 tornado traveled about a mile and a half with wind speeds reaching about 95 mph. Another EF-1 tornado touched down in Ottawa with a top windspeed of 110 mph and traveled about a mile an a half.

The EF scale estimates the tornado’s wind speeds based on the damage caused, according to Jamie Enderlen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The scale ranges from 0, with low wind speeds, to 5, with strong wind speeds.

The storms prompted Gov. Bruce Rauner to activate the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield to ensure state personnel and equipment could be quickly deployed if needed to help local emergency responders with public safety issues following “tornado touchdowns in several areas of Illinois.”

Two In Illinois Dead In Tuesday Storms

By Nick Gale, WLS-News

Officials is La Salle County have identified the person who was killed in Tuesday’s storms that swept through Ottawa and the surrounding area.

The La Salle County Coroner says 76-year-old Wayne Tuntland was crushed by a falling tree. A second person was injured.

Tornadoes touched down in Ottawa and nearby Naplate where there reportedly is damage to the Pilkington glass factory.

There was also damage to the La Salle County Nursing Home. La Salle County Sheriff Tom Templeton says six people were injured including five residents and one staff member. The county’s highway buildings and other buildings in that county complex suffered damaged.

Listen to Illinois Deputy State Homeland Security Advisor James Joseph’s assessment of the damages in LaSalle County.

At least eight homes were damaged in Washburn which is northeast of Peoria.

The storms are also being blamed for a second death in Illinois. Officials say a 71-year-old man was killed in White County, near the Illinois – Indiana border.

Gov. Bruce Rauner was set to tour the storm damage later today.

@ 2017 WLS-AM News


Ottawa Mayor on tornado damage

Authorities say one person was killed Tuesday in the central Illinois city of Ottawa by a tornado spawned by a late-winter storm system. A tornado hit LaSalle County Nursing Home in Ottawa, but no serious injuries were reported to residents. Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to survey damage Wednesday.

To get the very latest, Ottawa Mayor Robert Eschbach joined John and Ray to talk about the tornadoes that hit Ottawa last night.



Weather service confirms 9 tornadoes, including EF-3 in Coal City

(COAL CITY) At least nine tornadoes touched down during Monday’s round of storms in north central Illinois, the National Weather Service has confirmed, causing severe damage and knocking out power for thousands.

The tornado that struck Coal City and the Braidwood area has been determined to be an EF-3 tornado, the National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday.

The designation is the third highest on the scale that measures the strength of tornadoes. EF-3 twisters pack strong winds of 136-165 mph, the weather service said.

It was one of nine confirmed tornadoes that spun off from one long supercell thunderstorm that moved across northern Illinois Tuesday night. The storm also brought torrential rainfall of 3-5 inches to areas already saturated with recent rains.

A second tornado, a high-end EF-2 tornado, left a path about one-half-mile long from Woodhaven Lakes to south of Sublette, with estimated wind speeds reaching 130 mph.

Two other tornadoes, both EF-1 in strength, touched down separately on either side of the village of Harmon, and a third EF-1 touched down near Mendota, the weather service said.

Three other EF-1 tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down to the north of Ottawa, to the north and east of Kankakee, and southwest of Coal City, parallel to the path of the EF-3 tornado.

A ninth tornado, an EF-0, passed south of the village of Herscher, the weather service said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner issued a state disaster proclamation for Lee and Grundy counties early Tuesday to make state resources available to help communities respond and recover from the storms. The State Emergency Operations Center was activated in Springfield on Monday evening.

Additionally, the Illinois Task Force, an 80-member search and reduce team, was deployed to the Woodhaven Lakes campground in Lee County.

National Weather Service survey teams are continuing to investigate other possible tornado damage in over the coming days.

“Tornadoes and severe storms have once again caused devastation in northern Illinois communities,” Rauner said in a statement.

“The state is supporting local responders in these hard-hit communities to ensure the safety of people affected by these terrible storms and help them begin the recovery process,” he said.

About 60,000 ComEd customers were without power at the height of the storms, but nearly 90 percent have been restored as of Tuesday evening, spokeswoman Annette Martinez said.

About 6,800 customers remain without electricity, mostly in the areas hardest hit by tornado damage, Martinez said. Roughly 600 ComEd crews are working around the clock to restore power, and are removing debris and installing new poles where necessary, she said.

As daylight arrived Tuesday, officials said the tornado that churned across Coal City, a community of about 5,000 people, had not taken any lives. Five people were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries, officials said at a press conference in neighboring Diamond.

“At this point, we believe we’ve accounted for everybody,” said Deputy Chief Todd Friddle of the Wilmington Fire Protection District.

The weather service is also warning of an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms on Wednesday, which could produce very heavy rainfall. Because the ground is nearly saturated in some places, more rain could result in immediate runoff and potential flooding, the weather service said.

A flash flood watch will be in effect for Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties in Illinois and Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties in Indiana from Wednesday evening through Thursday afternoon.

UPDATE: 5 tornado touchdowns confirmed across north central Illinois; thousands without power

(CHICAGO) Five tornado touchdowns Monday night in Will, Kankakee, Lee, Grundy and LaSalle counties left behind heavy damage and knocked out power for thousands.

The most recent tornado touchdown was reported about 10:20 p.m. near Interstate 57 in Bourbonnais in Kankakee County, according to the National Weather Service. A tornado touched down 10 minutes earlier in Lakewood Shores, just southeast of Braidwood in southwest Will County, according to the weather service.

About 10 p.m. there was a confirmed report of a tornado touchdown in Coal City, according to the National Weather Service. The city also was hit by a tornado in November 2013.

Late into the night, crews were going door to door in parts of devastated Coal City, a town of about 5,000 people.

“We have search and rescue operations that are continuously extricating people from their residences,” said Lt. Nick Doerfler of the Coal City Fire Protection District.

There were no reports of fatalities or life-threatening injuries, but at 2:30 a.m., crews didn’t have an accurate count of how many homes might be affected or how many people might be missing.

Doerfler said he could confirm that one person had been taken to an area hospital for treatment.

“We have trees down, we have [power] lines down, we have poles down and we have flooding,” Coal City Police Sgt. Thomas Logan said. “We tried to get over there one time just using a normal truck and we got bogged down.”

A lot of the searching was being done on foot, Logan said.

Coal City’s neighboring city, Diamond, was hit by a tornado in November 2013, damaging about 25 percent of the homes and injuring three people, Diamond Mayor Teresa Kernc said.

Roads into Coal City, including Route 113 east of Route 47, were closed. Interstate 55 near Coal City exits also was jammed, according to eyewitness reports.

At 8:08 p.m., a tornado was confirmed on the ground in the town of Sublette in Lee County, about 55 miles south of Rockford. About 9 p.m., another was spotted on radar near Serena in LaSalle County, about 30 miles southwest of Aurora.

Late Monday, authorities told reporters at the scene in Sublette that despite heavy damage and up to 50 downed oak trees across Woodhaven Lakes — a sprawling, 1,600-acre camping resort — only one person was hospitalized in serious but stable condition. Four people were treated for injuries at the campground.

Downed trees and debris trapped many people inside their homes and they were forced to wait for removal crews to free them, authorities said. Several power lines were downed in the storm, as well, creating a challenge for crews looking for trapped residents.

“There is just tremendous destruction out there,” said Don Dinges, Sublette’s economic development coordinator. “They are not even able to get through the property to find if there are injuries.”

Dinges said the area was littered with downed trees. “They’ve fallen on trailers,” Dinges said.

Roughly 23,000 customers were without power early Tuesday in towns throughout Kankakee, Will, Whiteside, Lee and Grundy counties, according to ComEd’s outage map on its website. Most of the outages were near Braidwood and Coal City in Will County, Sterling in Whiteside County and Kankakee in Kankakee County.

A roof and wall collapsed at a Dunham sports store in the Northland Mall shopping center on Monday night in Sterling, Illinois. Trees were down in the area. | Network Video Productions
A roof and wall collapsed at a Dunham sports store in the Northland Mall shopping center on Monday night in Sterling, Illinois. Trees were down in the area. | Network Video Productions

A flash-flood emergency was issued through 6:15 a.m. for Kankakee County. The weather service said many roads are impassable because of storms that left 3 to 4 inches of rain in several areas.

A tornado warning means a twister has been spotted in the area; a watch means conditions are favorable for the development of tornados in that area.

Forecasters say the development of the thunderstorms could be “explosive” in some areas. Torrential downpours that could cause isolated flooding in some places and “a tornado or two” is possible as well, according to the weather service.

Airlines at O’Hare Airport proactively canceled 450 flights, and planes were delayed an average of 30 minutes as of 1:30 p.m., according to the city’s Department of Aviation. More than 60 flights were canceled at Midway Airport.

Below are photos from Network Video Productions showing heavily damaged structures in Woodhaven Lakes — a sprawling, 1,600-acre camping resort in Sublette.

Photo Credit: Sun Times Media
Photo Credit: Sun Times Media
Photo Credit: Sun Times Media
Photo Credit: Sun Times Media

Thunderstorms expected overnight; could be severe Thursday afternoon

(CHICAGO) The Chicago area can expect thunderstorms Wednesday evening and overnight before the brunt of a storm cell hits Thursday afternoon, possibly packing hail, strong winds and the potential for tornadoes, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

“The main severe threat will come into play Thursday from about 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the possibility of large hail and damaging winds and the possibility of a few tornados,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Birk. “They can’t be ruled out.”

A rapid warm-up will accompany the severe weather. On Wednesday night, it was 39 degrees in the Loop. On Thursday, the temperature will rise into the 70s, Birk said

“Enhanced Risk” for severe storms on Thurs! Learn what this means on graphic. More info here: http://t.co/aWDPqzzGZQ pic.twitter.com/7ukqEJMkSc

— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) April 7, 2015

“There could be quarter-sized hail and larger,” Birk said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a few golf ball-sized, too.”

The storms also carry the potential for flash flooding in city, with up to an inch of rain in some areas.

“It’s hard to say where the brunt will be,” Birk said. “Most of Northern Illinois is in the target area for this severe potential.”

Birk advises people to stay alert and have a plan. “Keep an eye on the sky and have plans of action if we have to issue any warnings for significant weather.”


© Copyright 2015 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

WEATHER: Storms may produce large hail and strong winds. High 73F.



Ray Stagich
Thursday, April 9, 2015

A slow moving system keeps t-storms in the forecast through Thursday with Thursday being the highest risk day for severe weather in Chicago. Drier and pleasant weather after that should take us through the upcoming weekend.
Today | Another round of showers and thunderstorms scattered around this morning followed by strong to severe thunderstorms likely this afternoon – heavy downpours are possible. Storms may produce large hail and strong winds. (isolated tornado) High 73F. Winds S at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 90%.

Tonight | Windy with scattered thunderstorms early. Then mainly cloudy after midnight. Low 41F.
Winds WSW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.

Tomorrow | Partly cloudy skies with gusty winds. High 62F. Winds W at 20 to 30 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.

Tomorrow night | Mostly clear skies. Low 36F. WNW winds at 15 to 25 mph, decreasing to 5 to 10 mph.

Saturday | Abundant sunshine. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the mid 40s.

Sunday | Plenty of sun. Highs in the upper 60s and lows in the low 50s.

Monday | More sun than clouds. Highs in the upper 60s and lows in the low 50s.