Chicago weather: No evidence of tornado after NWS surveys Channahon, Minooka storm damage

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
NWS considering Minooka-area tornado touchdown
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The National Weather Service is expected to survey the Minooka and Channahon area Wednesday, looking for confirmation of a tornado.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The National Weather Service surveyed the damage in the Minooka and Channahon area Wednesday to determine if a tornado did, in fact, touch down there Tuesday afternoon.

Their result: no evidence of a tornado was found.

They said the damaged was caused by 60 to 70 mph straight line winds with pockets of winds greater than 80 mph.

A line of strong storms raced through the Chicago area Tuesday, prompting a cascade of severe thunderstorm warnings and even a tornado warning near Joliet.

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At one point, ComEd reported more than 22,000 people were without power, with the majority affected in the southwest suburbs.

But by about 4 a.m. Wednesday, only a little over 3,000 were affected.

Flights were affected by the storm as well: Midway International Airport reported 83 flight cancellations and delays under 15 minutes while O'Hare International Airport reported 166 flights canceled and delays averaging 79 minutes Tuesday afternoon.

A brief tornado warning was issued for Will County Tuesday, and two storm spotters reported a brief tornado touchdown near Minooka, though the National Weather Service has not yet confirmed those reports.

"We had a tremendous storm go through, didn't last too long, older trees are now memories," Minooka Mayor Ric Offerman said.

Yard after yard and block after block was littered with downed trees in the southwest suburbs. Some ended up on homes, including a massive century-old Hackberry that put a hole in Jerry Breen's roof in Channahon.

"It was bad, that storm," he said. "It blew, and it blew hard. And I think that tree would've went, too, if it weren't for the first tree."

In Minooka, residents cleaned up after emerging from their basements.

"It wasn't like we were waiting for 20 minutes for a storm to get here," said Jason Bisbee, Minooka resident. "It blew up, and we were in the basement."

"My daughter was alerting me on her phone that tornadoes were coming, so it just looked like really windy rain and we went in the basement for about 10 minutes, and when we came up there was a tree blocking the front entrance," said Traci McReynolds, a Minooka resident.

Along with fierce winds, the storms unleashed a deluge and dangerous hail. The windows of a Minooka school bus shattered just before students were scheduled to board.

"We were wondering where our son was because he was on his way to football practice at the local high school, so they were sheltering in place," Bisbee said.

Minooka Community High School District #111 said in a Facebook post Tuesday night the MCHS Central campus building sustained some damage from the storm, and some classes would be moved Wednesday as a result.

"We would also like to take this opportunity to share how proud we are of the students and staff that provided unmeasurable assistance while staying incredibly calm during an uncalming situation," the post said. "Adversity does not build character, it reveals it. Today our students and staff showed patience, resolve, and selfless duty to one another."

Dave Stafford was driving when he spotted the storm.

"It looked like a snowstorm; it was that much wind," he said.

When he got home and to shelter, that strong wind sliced a nearby tree, and a large limb came crashing down onto his house, damaging his roof.

"There's a patch up there, and the other side a couple of holes, so that limb done the damage," Stafford said. "It got from the west side of the house to the east side."

Trees and branches were downed in Highland Park, and there was flooding in Vernon Hills. Further west, there was a massive hail storm as the thunderstorms marched east.

A line of thunderstorms raced through the Chicago area Tuesday afternoon, leaving a wake of storm damage, flooding and even prompting a south suburban tornado warning.

Storm spotters began reporting large hail in McHenry and Lake counties shortly after storms began rolling in. Radar also indicated winds of up to 70 miles per hour in some areas.

In Algonquin, the wind picked up a trampoline.

The good news is that despite widespread damage, there are no reports of any injuries.

"Nobody got hurt, everybody's alive, so let's have a beer," Breen said.

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