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.
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.