By Susan Stephens
DeKalb, IL – Out of the clear blue DeKalb skies Friday afternoon, a tornado! Well, PARTLY CLOUDY blue skies. And it was a funnel cloud, not a tornado. But it was enough to prompt DeKalb police to ask for activation of tornado sirens. An officer spotted a long funnel cloud and radioed it in, and police officials decided it was better to be safe than sorry. It came as quite a surprise to DeKalb-area residents: there were no watches or warnings in effect, nor anything even hinting at severe weather. WNIJ activated its tornado warning, based on the sirens that were audible at the station as well as visual confirmation by employees (see accompanying photo, taken as the funnel cloud dissipated).
The National Weather Service later concluded the funnel clouds were occurring as part of cumulus cloud activity and were not expected to touch down. No thunderstorms were involved, unlike all of the recent downpours, lightning, and high winds our region has suffered recently.