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.