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Four Tornadoes Touch Down in Illinois

By Soyoung Kwak in News on Jun 6, 2010 4:15PM

The state of Illinois received a grim reminder that tornado season is in full swing as four tornadoes were confirmed in central and downstate Illinois last night, striking in or near the towns of Peoria, Streator, Dwight and Kankakee, and a potential fifth tornado, near Elmwood, has yet to be confirmed. Of the four confirmed tornadoes, it appears that the damage was strongest in Streator. One bystander, Eddie Lavallie, noted split trees and leveled houses. Looking at all of the damage and debris, Lavallie described Streator to be a "war zone...The city is leveled." Additionally, National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Rodriguez reported that there were a handful of people trapped inside their homes and phone lines being down in Streator. A few dozen injuries have been reported from the storms but as of this morning, there were no reports of fatalities from the storms in Illinois (at least five fatalities were reported in northwest Ohio).

The tornadoes that touched down last night were far enough from Chicago, 80 to 100 miles southwest of the city, as to not directly affect the area. But there has been a history of strong storms in and out of the Chicago area. According to the National Weather Service, the most common tornado for the Chicago area is an F2 on the Fujita Scale (which was, coincidentally, developed and named after a researcher at the University of Chicago), and the last time an F2 tornado passed through was in 1997. The strongest tornado type, an F5, has touched down only once around Chicago, the last time in 1990.