5:45 p.m. Emergency crews were requesting technical rescue teams for downed structures in Naplate that were inaccessible and had possible trapped victims inside.
5:35 p.m. Initial reports suggested significant structural damage in Naplate, including to Pilkington. Traffic on Ottawa Ave. westbound was diverted with La Salle County Sheriff deputies turning around motorist trying to enter Naplate.
The situation is similar to Utica in 2004, when a tornado brought down power lines and ruptures gas mains, forcing law enforcement to close off entry to the village for several hours.
Meanwhile, power in Ottawa was almost completely blacked out. Traffic signals were operation on Route 23 in both directions in downtown Ottawa, but otherwise the city was darkened from City Hall to U.S. 6.
Other touchdowns may have been confirmed and yet
Utica fire chief Ben Brown reported at 4:45 p.m. that a funnel cloud was confirmed near Interstate 80 and East 12th Road. A motorist who took shelter at the Utica Fire Department confirmed seeing it.
Stacy Rodrick of La Salle said she spotted a funnel cloud and was stunned by the sight of several motorists taking photos
“When I saw that, I clutched my baby and drove like this” Rodrick said, mimicking holding her daughter, Faith, with her left arm and steering with her right.
5:25 p.m. Photos posted on social media showed heavy damage at the La Salle County Nursing Home.
We got hit hard but everyone including residents and staff are safe and accounted for. Your prayers are greatly appreciated
At 5:13 p.m. a Severe Thunderstorm was issued for Central La Salle County, with the storm moving east from Peru at 45 miles per hour. The tornado warning for La Salle, Bureau and Putnam Counties has been cancelled.
At 5:13 p.m. emergency crews were called to Naplate, where there was ‘severe damage’ according to scanner traffic.
At 4:50 p.m. the National Weather Service confirmed a ‘large and dangerous’ tornado over Ottawa moving east.
At 4:30 p.m. a confirmed tornado was located three miles northeast of Standard, moving east at 45 miles per hour. The storm was moving toward Utica, Naplate, Ottawa and Grand Ridge.
Utica firefighters were dispatched to the intersection of Route 178 and 71. Reports indicated a possible touchdown with visible damage inspection underway. Another tornado touchdown was reported at Interstate 80 and East 12th Road.
The Tornado Warning for Putnam and Bureau Counties was cancelled at 4:55 p.m. as the storm had moved out of the area.
According to the National Weather Service, wind gusts up to 60 miles-per-hour and hail could be possible with these storms.
Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Damage to roofs, windows and vehicle will occur and tree damage is likely.
You are advised to seek shelter immediately.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Despite inclement weather and tornado warnings, St. Bede Academy will still hold an informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. about planned renovations to the 126-year-old school.