Sunday’s Severe Storms and Tornadoes Naperville, Illinois tornado rated EF3

Bill's Blog

Overturned car in Naperville, Illinois after tornado Sunday night

The pics. above and below are from Naperville and Woodridge, Illinois after a tornado moved through the area Sunday night.

The National Weather Service has determined that the tornado that hit Naperville was an EF3 with peak winds of 140 mph. This is the strongest tornado in the Chicago area since at least 2015. Here’s their preliminary statement:

...PRELIMINARY TORNADO DAMAGE RATING OF EF-3 WITH PEAK WIND   
SPEEDS OF 140 MPH FOR NAPERVILLE TO WILLOW SPRINGS TORNADO...  
  
AN NWS DAMAGE SURVEY TEAM CONTINUES TO SURVEY A TORNADO PATH THAT  
STARTED NEAR NAPERVILLE AND ENDED NEAR WILLOW SPRINGS, ILLINOIS   
DURING THE EVENING OF JUNE 20, 2021. SO FAR, THE TEAM HAS SURVEYED  
DAMAGE IN NAPERVILLE AND WOODRIDGE, AND WILL CONTINUE EAST TOWARD  
DARIEN, BURR RIDGE, AND WILLOW SPRINGS OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS.   
THE MAJORITY OF DAMAGE SURVEYED SO FAR IS CONSISTENT WITH WIND   
SPEEDS CORRESPONDING TO THE EF-1 TO EF-2 RATINGS ON THE ENHANCED   
FUJITA SCALE. HOWEVER, AT LEAST ONE POCKET OF DAMAGE CONSISTENT   
WITH AN EF-3 RATING WITH PEAK WIND SPEEDS NEAR 140 MPH WAS FOUND   
NEAR PRINCETON CIRCLE IN NAPERVILLE. THIS RATING IS PRELIMINARY.   
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE TORNADO PATH LENGTH AND WIDTH   
WILL FOLLOW IN THE COMING DAYS AS SURVEYING CONTINUES."
Naperville Tornado Summary
Path and updated data on the Naperville Tornado

This map shows the path of the twister and updated numbers. The path length was 16.1 miles and the width up to 1/3rd mile wide. This was a big tornado. There were 11 injured- at least one in critical condition. 230 homes were damaged or destroyed. The Naperville to Willow Springs tornado is the first significant tornado (rating of EF-2 or greater) to occur in the NWS Chicago County Warning Area since February 28, 2017 (Naplate/Ottawa), and the first EF-2+ tornado to occur in the Chicago metro counties since June 22, 2015 (Coal City). A list of EF-2+ tornadoes in the Chicago metro can be found here. This is accessible on our tornado climatology for the area here.

Tornado Path and details

For many years, my in-laws lived about a block north of 75th St., just north of where the tornado was EF3.

Summary: 

The approximate starting location of the tornado was near Plainfield-Naperville Road and Sheppey Court at about 11:05 PM. Sporadic wind damage was found both west and east of this point before the path became more concentrated and continuous east of Modaff Road. The tornado gradually intensified as it tracked east and especially east of Naper Boulevard where damage to homes became common. The tornado reached peak intensity in the area around Princeton Circle in Naperville where a house completely collapsed and multiple nearby homes also sustained considerable damage to their roof and walls. From that location the tornado continued east across the Greene Valley Forest Preserve into Woodridge. Another area of concentrated damage occurred between Woodridge Drive and Basswood Lane in Woodridge where numerous homes lost several walls and apartment buildings lost large portions of roofing material. The tornado continued east-southeastward producing primarily tree damage from Lemont Road into southern Darien, across Interstate 55, and southern Burr Ridge. The damage path became narrow as it crossed the Des Plaines river into Willow Springs, after which point the tornado dissipated near Buffalo Woods at approximately 11:25 PM CDT. In total, around 230 homes sustained damage from the tornado with the most significant damage in Naperville and Woodridge, and at least 11 people required medical treatment. 

Tornado damage in Naperville, Illinois

Radar showed a debris ball lofted up to 18,000 feet into the air. There were two other tornadoes in Illinois, making a total of at least 6 tornadoes in N. Illinois, N. Indiana and S. Michigan.

There were two other EF-0 tornadoes:

South Haven Tornado 6 20 21
Plainfield Tornado

Plainfield Il was hit by a giant F5 tornado back in August 1990. That tornado resulted in 29 fatalities and 353 injuries. I believe that’s still the strongest tornado ever recorded so late in the summer. That tornado also moved from WNW to ESE. Damage was estimated to have cost 165 million dollars. An oddity – the tornado was buried in heavy rain. There are no known pictures or video of the actual tornado.

Damage in Woodridge/Naperville Illinois after Sunday evening tornado

The Naperville/Woodridge tornado appears to have been on the ground for over 10 miles and also appears to have crossed at least one (I-355) if not two interstate highways. There was a 60 mph gust at Aurora IL and O’Hare Airport had 1.81″ of rain in just one hour.

Damage in Coldwater Michigan – pic. from Ryan Harriot
Strong winds caused powers outages south of a line from Saugatuck to Lansing

We had severe weather in Southern Lower Michigan. Here’s damage from a possible tornado in Coldwater. This twister appears to have crossed I-69. Egg-sized hail was reported in Eau Claire, with 2″ hail at Keelor. Schoolcraft had 60 mph winds and Lawton reported a 65 mph gust.

A storm-damaged tree on 37th Street south of X Avenue in Wakeshma Township on June 20, 2021.

This was a tree downed by strong winds near Three Rivers.

A tree down just outside of Lawton following a thunderstorm. (June 21, 2021)

Below is the Severe Weather Outlook map from the Storm Prediction Center for Sunday PM/night.

And here’s a map of the severe weather reports from Sunday PM/night:

I think you’ll agree that the Storm Prediction Center did a very good job forecasting the Enhanced Risk Area.

Regional Radar

Parts of Kalamazoo County have had 4-5″ of rain over the past few days. Portage had 3.67″ of rain Saturday morning. The Kalamazoo Airport has picked up 4.67″ of rain this month.

The Saturday evening Severe Thunderstorm Watch that included Branch and Hillsdale Counties was the first severe weather watch of the year for Lower Michigan. There was one earlier in the year in the western U.P.

Sunday was also the Summer Solstice (at 11:31 pm) – yesterday and today, we have more daylight than any other days of the year…a total of 15 hours and 21 minutes in Grand Rapids. Today, the sun is directly overhead at solar noon at the Equator. North of the Arctic Circle, there is 24-hour daylight today.

There’s a Beach Hazards Statement and a Small Craft Advisory for today. Waves could reach 4-7 feet. Don’t swim near or jump off the piers and breakwaters at Lake Michigan today. We have two cool days…temperatures today (Mon.) will likely fall a few degrees (hard to do when the sun is highest in the sky!). We’ll be in the 60s today and tomorrow…rebounding into the 70s Wednesday and 80s on Thursday. Showers and storms are possible Friday into Friday night.

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