high winds sweep through Midwest causing extensive damage
CHICAGO Intense thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the Midwest on
Sunday, causing extensive damage in several central Illinois communities while
sending people scrambling for shelter and even prompting officials at Chicago
Soldier Field to evacuate the stands and delay the Bears game.
The community of Washington in central Illinois appeared particularly hard
hit, with one resident saying his neighborhood was wiped out in a matter of
stepped outside and I heard it coming. My daughter was already in the
basement, so I ran downstairs and grabbed her, crouched in the laundry room and
all of a sudden I could see daylight up the stairway and my house was gone,
Michael Perdun said Sunday afternoon in an interview with The Associated Press
on his cellphone. whole neighborhood gone, (and) the wall of my fireplace is all
that is left of my house. mid afternoon it remained unclear how many people were
hurt. In a news release, the Illinois National Guard said it had dispatched 10
firefighters and three vehicles to Washington to assist with search and recovery
operations in the tornado damaged area. Steve Brewer, chief operating officer at
Methodist Medical Center of Illinois in Peoria, said that four or five people
had come to the hospital seeking treatment, but he described their injuries as
minor. He said another area hospital had received about 15 patients, but did not
know the severity of their injuries.
Brewer said doctors and other medical professionals were setting up a
temporary emergency care center to treat the wounded before transporting them to
went over there immediately after the tornado, walking through the
neighborhoods, and I couldn even tell what street I was on, Alderman Tyler Gee
told WLS TV. completely flattened some of the neighborhoods here in town,
hundreds of homes. 90 minutes after the tornado destroyed homes in Washington,
the storm darkened downtown Chicago. As the rain and high winds slammed into the
area, officials at Soldier Field evacuated the stands and ordered the Bears and
Baltimore Ravens off the field.
Earlier, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications issued a
warning to fans, urging them take extra precautions and appropriate measures to
ensure their personal safety. NFL games in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh also could
be affected by the rough weather.
The storm also followed dire warnings by the National Weather Service of what
was coming and that the storm was simply moving too fast for people to wait
until they saw it to get ready.
primary message is this is a dangerous weathers system that has the potential
to be extremely deadly and destructive, said Laura Furgione, deputy director of
the National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
ready now. Within an hour, the weather service said that tornadoes had touched
down in Washington, Metamora, Morton and other central Illinois communities,
though officials could not say whether it was one tornado touching down or
is a very dangerous situation, said Russell Schneider, director of the
weather service Storm Prediction Center. 53 million in 10 states are at
significant risk for thunderstorms and tornadoes. potential severity of the
storm this late in the season also carries the risk of surprise.
can fall into complacency because they don see severe weather and tornadoes,
but we do stress that they should keep a vigilant eye on the weather and have a
means to hear a tornado warning because things can change very quickly, said
Matt Friedlein, a weather service meteorologist.
According to agency officials, parts of Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan
and western Ohio were at the greatest risk of seeing tornadoes, large hail and
damaging winds throughout the day Sunday. Strong winds and atmospheric
instability were expected to sweep across the central Plains during the day
before pushing into the mid Atlantic states and northeast by evening. Many of
the storms were expected to become supercells, with the potential to produce
tornadoes, large hail and destructive winds.
Friedlein said that such strong storms are rare this late in the year because
there usually isn enough heat from the sun to sustain the thunderstorms. But he
said temperatures Sunday were expected to reach into the 60s and 70s, which he
said is warm enough to help produce severe weather when it is coupled with
winds, which are typically stronger this time of year than in the summer.
don need temperatures in the 80s and 90s to produce severe weather (because)
the strong winds compensate for the lack of heating, he said. sets the stage for
what we call wind shear, which may produce tornadoes. also said that the
tornadoes this time a year happen more often than people might realize, pointing
to a twister that hit the Rockford, Ill., area in November 2010.