Tornado swept through the southeastern side of Springfield, IL near Jerome1.
The parent thunderstorm produced a wind gust of ninety eight miles per hour at
Capital Airport, which was on the north side of the town.
1: A diagram of the Tornadoes path can be found below.
were killed and more than fifty people were injured by the Tornado. Damage to
property was estimated at three million dollars – twenty five homes were
destroyed and one hundred and seventy five others were badly damaged.
The Illinois State Register stated the following the day after the Tornado: “This Tornado ended the myth that Springfield was Tornado-proof because it was in a bowl”. Newspaper clippings relating to the Tornado can be found here.
43 years ago today! Just let number sink in! That’s a very long time.
This day won’t be forgotten by many people who live in the Illinois counties of DuPage and Cook County during 1976 summer.
It had started
as a normal day on the 13th June in the Chicago Metro area. Suffice
to safe the region had been experiencing a very warm period with a high of
ninety four degrees recorded the previous day.
temperatures lingering in the lower to middle eighty’s, little would be known
in a few minutes after 5:00pm, bedlam was about ensue/strike southern DuPage
and southwestern Cook Counties.
Tornado formed across the Lemont, Illinois area at approxminetly 5:18pm, just
north of the downtown area. From that point onwards, the Tornado began taking a
rather unpredictable track…
…First heading southeast through the
eastern sections of the town.
grew significantly causing extensive damage at the Hillcrest subdivision of the
area. The Tornado then headed in a northerly direction, then northwest where it
took the roof off an Argonne National Laboratory reactor.
Moving on, the
Tornado then crossed I-55555 where it caused more damage before it finally
In the wake of the Tornado, two people died and twenty three people were injured. The track of the Tornado was eight miles long – width of up to eight hundred yards. That’s massive!
Total damage costs approached thirteen million dollars. After all the damage was surveyed, the final rating of the Tornado was an F4/EF-4.
Yesterday and today marks the fifty
first anniversary of the outbreak.
The May 15th
-16th 1968 Tornado outbreak was a significant and deadly
event. The outbreak of Tornadoes affected the states listed below.
This outbreak produced thirty nine Tornadoes from 3:28pm on the 15th May till 2:50am on the 16th May. This included two F5/EF-5 Tornadoes in Iowa1.
1: The first
F5/EF-5 Tornado swept through five counties and sixty five miles. It affected
Charles City just before 5:00pm. This particular Tornado destroyed much of the
area. Damage figures were estimated up to thirty million dollars in Charles
City alone whilst one point five million dollars in damage was recorded
elsewhere. This F5/EF-5 killed thirteen people and injured almost four hundred
and sixty people.
featured photo of this article is that of the F5/EF-5 that struck Charles City –
however the photo was captured two miles southwest of the city by Floyd County
The second F5/EF-5
Tornado affected Fayette County at around 4:57pm. It destroyed or damaged
nearly a thousand homes. The hardest hit areas were Oelwein and Maynard where
homes were completely swept away from their foundations. Five people were
killed by this F5/EF-5 whilst one hundred and sixty were injured.
These were two
of four F5/EF-5 Tornadoes that struck the United States during the year of 1968
– the other two; southwestern Ohio on the 23rd April and Minnesota
on the 13th June. The next and last official F5/EF-5 Tornado that
touched down in Iowa was in Jordan on the 13th June 1976.
The thirty nine
Tornadoes spawned during this outbreak killed seventy two people and caused twelve
hundred injuries. You can find more details on the outbreak here.
sadness, even though this happened in 2015, his wife and next door neighbour
The Tornado in
this video is the EF-4 that struck Rochelle/Fairdale on the April 2015. Read
our recent article on this Tornado here.
terrifying video below, watch the moment a powerful Tornado destroys a couple’s
house… WHILST HE’S IN IT!!!
As you may have
seen, a message appeared at the start of the video. In case you missed it, you can
read in full below.
“The video was shot by Mr Clarence “Clem”
Schultz from the second story of his home in Fairdale, IL on 9th
April 2015. Though Mr Schultz survived, he had a number of very serious
injuries. Unfortunately, his wife and next door neighbour died in this event.
PLEASE do not attempt to video or take
photos of a Tornado as it approaches your location. Please follow National
Weather Service warning advice: “Move to an interior room on the lowest floor
of a sturdy building and avoid windows.
If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or
outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from
flying debris. It is your life… and your
responsibility to protect it.”
The video was captured by Clem Schultz on the day the Tornado struck – 9th April 2015. It’s suffice to say this video gained a lot of attention.
With that being said, listed below are some fast facts regarding the event:
The atmosphere was suitable for severe weather – due to the
highly uncharacteristic moisture and instability for early April across the
A strong low
pressure system advanced into this favourable air mass. Combining with robust
wind shear, which enabled these potent storms.
Eleven Tornadoes were confirmed across Illinois on the 9th
struck north central Illinois.
struck northwest Illinois
struck central Illinois
Six of the Tornadoes that struck north central Illinois formed
from one supercell thunderstorm. This includes the strongest Tornado that was a
long track EF-41.
mentioned EF-4 Tornado began near Franklin Grove (Lee County), through the
northwest side of Rochelle (Ogle County), across 1-39, through Fairdale (DeKalb
ended south of Belvidere (Boone County – far southern).
The EF-4 caused
two deaths, both of which were in Fairdale, Illinois. There was a total of
twenty two injuries.
The potential for severe weather was mentioned in forecast
graphics and products as early as the 4th April – which was a Saturday.
A Tornado of this scale is quite rare. This was the first EF-4 or stronger
Tornado in National Weather Service (NWS) Chicago County Area in twenty five
years, since the F5 Tornado that struck Plainfield in 1990…
…This was the first EF-4 Tornado or stronger in Illinois since the two EF-4 Tornadoes that struck on the 17th November 2013 – including the one that struck Washington, Illinois.
This record breaking
Tornadic event happened ninety four years ago today.
The Tri-State Tornado is at the moment in time the U.S. record holder for several elements – listed below.
Longest Tornado track – two hundred and nineteen miles (219)*
Most deaths in a single Tornado – six hundred and ninety five (695)
Most injuries in a single Tornado – two thousand and twenty seven (2027)
*The track was originally two hundred and eighteen miles – study by Johns et al. showed seventeen more miles – according to Gabe Garfield.
The below quote from the NWS explains the Tri-State Tornado brilliantly.
“On March 18, 1925, the Great Tri-State Tornado tore across Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Southwest Indiana. With its rapid movement, monstrous size, and long track, the tornado took hundreds of lives and injured thousands. By all means, the Tri-State Tornado was a rare event—an event that few people will ever experience in their lifetime.”
National Weather Service – Paducah, KY
Whilst this Tornadic event happened before modern time, this particular Tornado is considered to be a F5/EF-5 – on the Fujita/Enhanced Fujita Scale rating.
This deadly Tornado swept through three states – reason why it’s called Tri-State
– tearing through thirteen counties. These counties include: Missouri, Illinois
The Tri-State Tornado tore through nine towns and numerous smaller
villages – significant damage was caused of course.
It’s safe to suggest that track of this Tornado has been lost – due to growth of landscape and human development.
The map (pictured to the left) was produced by Wilson and Changnon in 1971. The illustration to the left seems to provide the most accurate track of this Tornado.
Find a re-created (digitised) copy of above map below – this visualisation was produced by U.S Tornadoes’ James Hyde.
We’re going to leave it there! However, we’re going to point you in the direction of some incredible material on the Tri-State Tornado – links can be found below.