Chicago Weather: EF-1 tornadoes confirmed in Manhattan, Gifford; flooding in NW suburbs

ByJohn Garcia and Megan Hickey WLS logo
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
At least 3 tornadoes in Illinois; flooding in NW suburbs
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Illinois had at least three tornadoes Tuesday. Two of them were confirmed by the National Weather Service. Those hit far southwest suburban Manhattan and far west suburban Maple Pa

MANHATTAN, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois had at least three tornadoes Tuesday. Two of them were confirmed by the National Weather Service. Those hit far southwest suburban Manhattan and far west suburban Maple Park.

A storm chaser recorded video of debris flying through the air as a big funnel cloud swirled in the sky above and trees swayed in Manhattan.

The NWS confirmed an EF-1 tornado with maximum peak winds of 95 mph touched down in Manhattan Tuesday. Mayor James Doyle said the tornado appeared to have initially touched down on the southwest side of the village.

NWS Lincoln confirmed an EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of 90 miles per hour had also touched down in Champaign County between Rantoul and Gifford Tuesday evening. It was on the ground for about four miles, and no injuries were reported.

"All the sudden we look and my husband's like, 'I feel like we can hear a train,'" said Jenny Kummer, who lives in Manhattan.

The wind was powerful enough to pick up a shed from across the street and toss it into a set of power lines about 100 feet away.

"It was huge. It was literally circling over 150 feet in the air. It really felt like I was on a movie set," Kummer said.

She was one of many Manhattan residents who said they didn't hear the tornado sirens until after the funnel clouds had cleared.

Mayor James Doyle said he looked into those complaints. He said the sirens were operational, but are not intended to be heard inside.

"I went into the dispatch center. They had said they had requested. The sirens were set off. As a matter of fact, they were setting them off again as I was in there, so they were set off twice," Doyle said.

The damage was contained to just a few blocks downtown. The biggest issues were broken windows and roof damage, which closed down the post office Wednesday. Mail service will continue.

Jean Kiegher's family has owned the historic building for more than half a century.

"Well, that's why you have insurance, you know? To help out," Kiegher said.

Crews slowly chipped away at tree limbs scattered across the downtown area.

With no injuries reported, residents said all-in-all, they feel pretty lucky.

"I think everybody lucked out down here. I really do," said Bryan Smith, who also lives in Manhattan.

"I think we were very fortunate. If this is the worst we got, we'll take this. It could have been a lot worse," Doyle said.

A National Weather Service surveyor was at the scene Wednesday morning, working to figure out how strong the tornado was and its exact path.

A family screamed as they saw a funnel cloud touch down in Gifford, which is located in Champaign County. They recorded video of the tornado around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The parents hustled their kids into the basement after that.

Outbuildings and trees were damaged. Luckily, no injuries were reported.


People living in Chicago's north and west suburbs are dealing with flooding fallout from the heavy rains Tuesday.

Sandbags surround Bill Kirchner's house. With more than four inches of rain in several hours Tuesday night, he's taking no chances. He and several friends rushed to put them in place.

Like many other residents of north suburban Holiday Hills he's been through this before.

Down the street they are pumping water out of streets and back into the Fox River. They want to try to remove as much of the standing water as possible, and also be prepared in the event of more rain.

The water has already receded several inches Wednesday, but at the Village Hall they have a pile of sandbags out from ready for residents to pick up. Many have taken advantage.

Chopper 7 HD flew over flood damage in the western suburbs Wednesday morning.

The Fox River was swollen just south of Route 38 in Geneva. A nearby island that has bike trails and a park was underwater. Homes in the area were also plagued by high-standing water on Wednesday.

Saint Charles and Batavia also reported flooding and street closures along the Fox River.

More than 4 inches of rain fell in just a few hours in Kane County. That water started to recede overnight.

More than 5 inches of rain fell in northwest suburban Algonquin, closing several roads overnight:

-Cumberland Parkway near Ryan Parkway

-Cumberland near Glacier Parkway

-Cumberland near Chase Street

-Glacier near Glacier Court

-Applewood Lane near Thorneapple Lane

-Teton Parkway

-Woods Creek Lane

Police asked motorists not to drive through these roads, since the water is deeper than it looks. Towne Park, Holder Park and Cornish Park were also closed, police said.