CHICAGO (AP) — A tornado that swept through Chicago's western suburbs, damaging more than 100 homes and injuring several people, was packing 140 mph (225 kph) winds when it hit the heavily populated area, the National Weather Service said.
A weather service team that surveyed the aftermath of Sunday night's storm found that, based on Monday's preliminary findings, the tornado was an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale when it cut a path through parts of Naperville, Woodridge, Darien and Burr Ridge, and that it launched debris to a height of nearly 20,000 feet (6,096 meters).
The weather service planned to continue surveying that area to determine the precise path, width and length of the storm's trail of destruction, said Jake Petr, a meteorologist at the service’s Romeoville office.
“So overall, we're still solidifying the findings for the whole event of this tornado,” he said Tuesday.
Woodridge Mayor Gina Cunningham said Tuesday that the tornado dealt significant damage to more than 100 homes and lesser damage to hundreds of others in her village of roughly 33,000 people.
She said building inspectors were going street by street to produce damage estimates for a possible request for a state disaster declaration and that a decision on that would be made soon.
Cunningham said crews were busy Tuesday clearing storm debris, including fallen trees and branches.
“Chain saws are pretty much on every street,” she said during a news conference as chain saws roared in the distance.
State Sen. John Curran, a Republican from Woodridge, said the community faces a long recovery but that he's heartened by the number of residents helping their neighbors during the cleanup, calling their spirit “remarkable."
The weather service said Monday that an EF0 tornado with peak winds of 85 mph (137 kph) hit another area of suburban Chicago on Sunday, causing damage that stretched about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) from Plainfield to Romeoville and mostly damaging trees.
Petr said the weather service planned to visit northwestern Indiana on Tuesday to determine if damage in the Hobart and South Haven areas was also caused by a tornado.
The weather service determined Monday that two EF1 tornadoes packing winds up to 100 mph (161 kph) struck northern Indiana’s St. Joseph and Steuben counties Sunday, damaging some barns and trees and destroying other exterior structures.
In southeastern Michigan, an EF1 tornado was confirmed in Lenawee County's in Riga Township. It had peak winds of 90 mph (145 kph), was on the ground for about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) and damaged at least five homes, according to a weather service summary of the storm.