National Weather Service

The National Weather Service says its survey crews have now confirmed 18 tornados struck north central and northeast Illinois Wednesday night (June 22) during storms that traversed the state.  The NWS says the number could still be revised upward.

The NWS says damage surveys indicate two confirmed tornados qualified to be rated EF-2: at Pontiac, with top wind speeds estimated at 115-125 mph, and Marseilles-Seneca, with top wind speeds estimated at 116 mph. 

Carol Schneider

It was a year ago Saturday a massive tornado bulldozed a 30-mile path through northern Illinois. It’s often referred to as the Fairdale Tornado because of the tiny DeKalb County town it nearly destroyed. But farms and neighborhoods are still being rebuilt all along the EF-4 tornado’s path. The Rochelle-area is making huge strides, thanks to the efforts of committed volunteers.

Fairdale Commemorates First Anniversary of Tornado

Apr 9, 2016
Chase Cavanaugh

Residents of Fairdale held a variety of events Saturday to commemorate the first anniversary of a tornado that struck the town. 

The mood was mixed.  Firefighters, police officers, and scouts stood solemnly as they dedicated a plaque and park bench to Jackie Klosa and Geri Schultz, the two women who died in the disaster.  At the same time,  DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott was optimistic about the rebuilding efforts.   

Jenna Dooley

A standing room only crowd of northern Illinois weather enthusiasts recently learned how to properly spot severe weather conditions.

Fifth grader Evan Kemp of Somonauk is a weather watcher.

“I am usually in my house or at my boat looking at the radar and trying to see how bad it is.”

His mom Stephanie decided that his hobby could become useful for meteorologists in northern Illinois so they attended a recent training in weather spotting by the National Weather Service.

An Indiana man has been charged with stealing money from Grubsteakers, the Illinois 64 restaurant destroyed by the April 9 tornado that ripped through the area.

Michael G. McDonald, 67, of Whiting, Ind, was arrested Oct. 21, by Rochelle Police on an Ogle County warrant.

According to a news release, the arrest resulted from an investigation into theft of money from the former Grubsteakers restaurant.

The investigation found that McDonald was a patron inside Grubsteakers when the tornado struck; he is accused of stealing approximately $1,000 from the cash register.

Big Storm Anniversaries Highlight Nature's Wonder

Aug 26, 2015

This is a big week in meteorological history. Friday is the 25th anniversary of the Plainfield tornado that killed 29 people…and it’s 10 years since hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans.

College of DuPage Meteorology professor Paul Sirvatka says researchers are still learning from the severe weather events. He says they sent a message that goes beyond the science of severe weather.

People from near and far opened their hearts…and their wallets…to help the Warren County town of Cameron replace its tornado warning siren, which was destroyed during last month’s tornado.

Cameron Fire Chief Roger Watson says $26,000 in donations came in from businesses, service groups, and individuals largely through word-of-mouth.


According to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, Illinois ranks fourth in the nation in the number of tornado reports in 2015.

Is this surprising news?

State climatologist Jim Angel says Illinois is usually in the top ten, but this ranking is a bit high compared to previous years at this time.

Northern Illinois experienced and EF-4 in April. That’s out of 64 reports.

Small Illinois Town Loses Siren To Twister

Jul 23, 2015
T.J. Carson / WIUM

The small Warren County town of Cameron will need to replace the tool that helped save lives during last week’s tornado.     

The town’s tornado siren was destroyed by the EF-2 twister.

Cameron Fire Department Captain Alan Otten says it’s essential to replace the warning system.

“We have a tornado now, now you’re literally going to have guys driving around in front of the storm here, just having to blast sirens and scream.  And maybe go door-to-door or whatever to tell people to run for cover.”


Coal City residents are still rebuilding and cleaning up one month after powerful storms and tornadoes ripped through the small village about an hour south of Chicago.

Glenn Root says the tarps on his roof aren’t enough to keep the damage at bay.

“You know a little hole coming through the top of the ceiling roof is just expanding and expanding every time it rains,” Root said. “And we got so much rain the last three weeks that it’s just messing up my kitchen walls more.”

Ed Essary lost the house he lived in for 39 years.