Rockford Scanner™: EF-4 Fairdale Tornado 4 Year Anniversary




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Credit: Charles Russell https://www.youtube.com/chuckrussell87 https://www.facebook.com/ChuckRussell87/

Today marks the 4 year anniversary of the devastating EF-4 tornado that ripped through the areas of Rochelle, Fairdale, etc…


The 2015 Rochelle–Fairdale, Illinois tornado was an extremely violent and long-lived tornado that tore through the communities near Rochelle and in Fairdale, Illinois throughout the evening hours of April 9, 2015.

Part of a larger severe weather event that impacted the Central United States, the tornado first touched down in Lee County at 6:39 p.m. CDT (22:39 UTC). It progressed through the counties of OgleDeKalb, and Boone before finally dissipating at 7:20 p.m. CDT.

Along the tornado’s 30.14 mi (48.51 km) path, numerous structures were heavily damaged or destroyed, especially in the small town of Fairdale where two fatalities and eleven injuries were recorded.

A few well-constructed homes were swept completely away, indicative of peak winds near 200 mph (320 km/h), the upper bounds of an EF4 tornado.

In the aftermath of the event, hundreds of citizens assisted in cleanup and recovery efforts. Economic losses from the tornado reached $19 million (2015 USD).


The strongest tornado in the United States during 2015 first began at 6:39 p.m. CDT (23:39 UTC) on April 9, just northeast of Franklin Grove, Illinois. It touched down over a field, producing swirls in crops, before moving northeast and causing EF1 damage to the Crest Foods plant.

The tornado soon exited Lee County and entered Ogle County, inflicting EF1 damage to two farm outbuildings that were completely destroyed and EF0 damage to a similar structure that had a portion of its roof uplifted.

Intensifying to EF3 strength, much more severe damage was noted along South Skare Court as the tornado entered an area of semi-rural subdivisions to the northwest of Rochelle.

A few homes in this area were destroyed at EF3 intensity, with other homes nearby sustaining EF2 damage. One large house had a room ripped off on its second floor, while a split-level home was almost completely leveled.[13]

As the tornado crossed South Richard Road, it intensified to very high-end EF4 strength and inflicted catastrophic damage to several large homes as it impacted the Deer Creek subdivision.

Well-built homes along South Richard Road and East Kuehl Court were leveled and swept from their foundations with debris strewn downwind. Several vehicles parked at these residences were moved some distance or tossed, and wind rowing of debris occurred.

One house had its concrete walkway pulled a few inches from its original location, and notable scouring of lawn grass was observed in the subdivision. These structures were estimated to have been impacted by winds near 200 mph (320 km/h), the upper bound of an EF4 tornado.

The homes swept away in this area were bolted to their foundations and there is some speculation that the tornado may have reached EF5 intensity at this point, though close inspection revealed that some of the washers were missing from the anchor bolts, and that low-lying shrubbery near the homes was left mostly intact, preventing a higher rating.

Continuing northeast, the tornado temporarily weakened, producing EF2 to EF3 damage as it destroyed a few large barns or outbuildings, ripped the roof off two brick residences, and collapsed most walls of another house, but once again gained strength as it approached and crossed Illinois Route 64. A large restaurant and a residence had their exterior walls collapsed in this area.[13]

Image of a concrete reinforced silo that was completely demolished by the tornado

A reinforced concrete silo that was completely destroyed by the tornado.

Very high-end EF4 damage was again observed near the intersection of Illinois Route 64 and Illinois Route 251, where a row of five homes was completely leveled, two of which were swept away.

Anchor bolts were again present at these residences, though the foundations were of cinder-block construction. Intense ground scouring was evident nearby, a car was thrown a full mile, and debris was wind-rowed long distances through fields in this area.

Winds were again estimated at around 200 mph (320 km/h), with the damage at this location again being near-EF5 in intensity. Further to the northeast, the tornado inflicted high-end EF4 damage as a large farmstead was completely destroyed.

A well-constructed barn was completely obliterated, and a 40 ft (12 m) reinforced concrete silo was reduced to a pile of rubble. A large farmhouse on the property was completely swept away, and nearby trees were severely stripped and debarked.

The tornado weakened as it crossed North Moore Road, where a warehouse building had a collapse of its non-bearing exterior walls. One small barn or outbuilding had a collapse of exterior walls while another had a few metal roof panels ripped off. After crossing Interstate 39, it caused moderate roof damage to a large residence and tossed and rolled a heavy barn.

The tornado continued to produce generally EF1 damage to trees and outbuildings before exiting Ogle County, and it was briefly accompanied by an EF0 satellite tornado that damaged crops to its southeast.[13]

After entering DeKalb County, the large tornado directly impacted the small community of Fairdale.

Approximately 71 homes sustained some degree of damage, including 13 that were destroyed. Several houses on the northwest side of town sustained damage consistent with an upper-end EF3 tornado, with all walls collapsed. A few houses that were nailed to the foundation—not bolted—were swept clean.

A 67-year-old woman and her 69-year-old neighbor were both killed in their homes, and an additional 11 people were injured throughout the town.

Continuing northeast across Wheeler Road, one residence had a large portion of its roof ripped off, a second residence had its exterior walls collapsed, and a two-story 80-year-old well-constructed barn was destroyed.

A large garage was destroyed and had its debris deposited well downstream, and significant denuding and debarking of trees was evident. Near the intersection of Irene Road and McNeal Road, a well-built seven-year-old house lost its second story and many exterior walls.

A two-story well-built barn with cinder block attachment was totally destroyed, and a nearby two-story rebar-reinforced cinder block silo was ripped apart.

Large farm equipment was tossed 0.25–0.5 mi (0.40–0.80 km), and convergent scouring of road pavement was noted in this area.

After passing over rural terrain, the tornado finally dissipated at 7:20 p.m. CDT (00:20 UTC) over Cherry Valley Road, ending its 30.14 mi (48.51 km) and 41-minute path of destruction.[13]


Fast Facts

  • Eleven tornadoes were confirmed across Illinois: seven in north central Illinois in the NWS Chicago County Warning Area (CWA), two in northwest Illinois in the NWS Quad Cities CWA, and two in central Illinois in the NWS Lincoln CWA.
  • Six of the tornadoes across north central Illinois formed from one supercell thunderstorm. This includes the strongest tornado that was a long track EF-4 with maximum winds of 200 mph. This tornado began from near Franklin Grove (Lee County), through the northwest side of Rochelle (Ogle County), across I-39, through Fairdale (DeKalb County), and ending south of Belvidere (far southern Boone County).  This tornado caused two fatalities, both in Fairdale, and a total of 22 injuries.
  • A tornado of this magnitude is quite rare. This was the first EF-4 or stronger tornado in the NWS Chicago County Warning Area in 25 years, since an F5 tornado struck Plainfield on August 28, 1990.   This was the strongest tornado on record (since 1950) for both Ogle and DeKalb Counties.
  • This was the first EF-4 tornado or stronger in Illinois since two EF-4 tornadoes occurred on November 17, 2013, including one that struck the community of Washington.  This was the 33rd EF-4 or stronger tornado in Illinois on record (since 1950).
  • The atmosphere was ripe for severe weather due to highly anomalous moisture and instability for early April across the region.  A strong low pressure system advanced into this favorable air mass. Combined with robust wind shear, this helped to trigger these potent storms.
  • The potential for severe weather was mentioned in NWS forecast graphics and products as early as Saturday, April 4th.


NWS DAMAGE SURVEY RESULTS FOR 04/09/15 TORNADO EVENT...

NWS METEOROLOGISTS HAVE NOW CONFIRMED SEVEN TORNADOES ACROSS
NORTH CENTRAL ILLINOIS FROM THE EVENING OF APRIL 9. NWS CHICAGO
WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS APPRECIATION TO NASA SPORT FOR THE SATELLITE
IMAGERY...NOAA REMOTE SENSING DIVISION FOR THE HIGH RESOLUTION
AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY...THE CIVIL AIR PATROL FOR AREAL
PHOTOGRAPHY...AS WELL AS THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE AND THE MCHENRY
COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY FOR THEIR AERIAL DAMAGE PHOTOS
AS WELL. ALL OF THIS REMOTE SENSING DATA ALONG WITH THE GROUND
SURVEYS WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN IDENTIFYING THE TORNADO PATHS LISTED
BELOW AS WELL AS THE DAMAGE INTENSITY.

THE FIRST TORNADO WAS SPAWNED OVER FAR SOUTHEAST WINNEBAGO COUNTY
INTO BOONE COUNTY BY THE FIRST SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM...WHILE THE
NEXT SIX TORNADOES FORMED FROM ONE POWERFUL AND LONG DURATION
SUPERCELL STORM...INCLUDING THE VIOLENT LONG TRACK EF-4 FROM
NORTHERN LEE COUNTY...THROUGH OGLE AND DEKALB COUNTIES...AND
ENDING IN FAR SOUTHERN BOONE COUNTY.

THE TORNADO COUNT FROM THE APRIL 9TH EVENT FOR THE NWS CHICAGO
COUNTY WARNING AREA STANDS AS FOLLOWS...

EF-4: 1
EF-1: 3
EF-0: 3

TORNADOES WERE ON THE GROUND FOR A TOTAL OF 43.5 MILES ACROSS
NORTH CENTRAL ILLINOIS.

HERE IS A LISTING OF THE CONFIRMED TORNADOES...

.TORNADO 1...

RATING:                 EF-0
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:    65 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:  2.8 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:   25 YARDS
FATALITIES:             0
INJURIES:               0

START DATE:             APRIL 09 2015
START TIME:6:37 PM CDT
START LOCATION:         2.9 MILES S CHERRY VALLEY
START LAT/LON:          42.1926/-88.9548

END DATE:               APRIL 09 2015
END TIME:6:40 PM CDT
END LOCATION:           2.5 MILES SE CHERRY VALLEY
END_LAT/LON:            42.2174/-88.9106

AN EMERGENCY MANAGER AND TRAINED SPOTTERS PHOTOGRAPHED A
TORNADO THAT TOUCHED DOWN SOUTH OF CHERRY VALLEY. THE
TORNADO DID NOT PRODUCE ANY DAMAGE.

Cherry Valley Tornado



.TORNADO 2...

RATING:                 EF-4
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:    200 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:  30.2 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:   700 YARDS
FATALITIES:             2
INJURIES:               22

START DATE:APRIL 09 2015
START TIME:6:39 PM CDT
START LOCATION:0.9 MILES NE FRANKLIN GROVE
START LAT/LON:          41.8530/-89.2896

END DATE:APRIL 09 2015
END TIME:7:20 PM CDT
END LOCATION:5 NNW KIRKLAND
END LAT/LON:            42.1623/-88.8792

THIS LONG TRACKED VIOLENT TORNADO DESTROYED NUMEROUS HOMES AND
FARMSTEADS...AS WELL AS TOSSED VEHICLES...ALONG ITS PATH FROM
NORTH CENTRAL LEE COUNTY ACROSS EASTERN OGLE...NORTHWEST
DEKALB...INTO EXTREME SOUTHERN BOONE COUNTY. THIS INCLUDED ACROSS
THE FAR NORTHWEST SIDE OF ROCHELLE...ACROSS INTERSTATE 39...AND
DIRECTLY THROUGH FAIRDALE.

Rochelle Fairdale Tornado
Path Segments of the EF-4 Tornado
EF-4 First EF-4 Second EF-4 Third EF-4 Fourth EF-4 Fifth
.TORNADO 3...

RATING:                 EF-0
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:    65 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:  1.9 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:   100 YARDS
FATALITIES:             0
INJURIES:               0

START DATE:APRIL 09 2015
START TIME:7:05 PM CDT
START LOCATION:2.9 MILES E LINDENWOOD
START LAT/LON:          42.0583/-88.9752

END DATE:APRIL 09 2015
END TIME:7:08 PM CDT
END LOCATION:4.6 ENE LINDENWOOD
END LAT/LON:            42.0739/-88.9457

THIS BRIEF SATELLITE TORNADO OVER FAR EASTERN OGLE COUNTY WAS
CONFIRMED USING AERIAL SURVEY INFORMATION AND RADAR DATA.

Satellite Tornado #1
.TORNADO 4...

RATING:                 EF-1
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:    110 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:  4.0 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:   100 YARDS
FATALITIES:             0
INJURIES:               0

START DATE:             APRIL 09 2015
START TIME:             7:15 PM CDT
START LOCATION:         3.1 MILES NW KIRKLAND
START LAT/LON:          42.1334/-88.8776

END DATE:               APRIL 09 2015
END TIME:               7:21 PM CDT
END LOCATION:           6 MILES S BELVIDERE
END_LAT/LON:            42.1786/-88.8287

THIS TORNADO PATH WAS IDENTIFIED USING STORM CHASER VIDEO...GROUND
SURVEY AND AERIAL SURVEY INFORMATION. THE TORNADO FORMED IN FAR
NORTHWEST DEKALB COUNTY AND LIFTED IN FAR SOUTHERN BOONE COUNTY.

Satellite Tornado #2
.TORNADO 5...

RATING:                 EF-0
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:    85 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:  0.4 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:   30 YARDS
FATALITIES:             0
INJURIES:               0

START DATE:             APRIL 09 2015
START TIME:7:24 PM CDT
START LOCATION:         3.8 MILES S BELVIDERE
START LAT/LON:          42.2073/-88.8425

END DATE:               APRIL 09 2015
END TIME:               7:25 PM CDT
END LOCATION:           3.9 MILES S BELVIDERE
END_LAT/LON:            42.2020/-88.8465

THIS TORNADO WAS SPAWNED BY THE SAME STORM THAT PRODUCED THE LONG
TRACK EF-4 SHORTLY AFTER THAT TORNADO LIFTED.

Belvidere Area Tornado
.TORNADO 6...

RATING:                 EF-1
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:    110 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:  3.9 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:   50 YARDS
FATALITIES:             0
INJURIES:               0

START DATE:             APRIL 09 2015
START TIME:7:25 PM CDT
START LOCATION:         6 MILES SE BELVIDERE
START LAT/LON:          42.2442/-88.7386

END DATE:               APRIL 09 2015
END TIME:7:31 PM CDT
END LOCATION:           5.6 MILES ESE BELVIDERE
END_LAT/LON:            42.1942/-88.7748

THIS TORNADO WAS SPAWNED BY THE SAME STORM THAT PRODUCED THE LONG
TRACK EF-4 SHORTLY AFTER THAT TORNADO LIFTED.

Belvidere Garden Prairie Tornado
.TORNADO 7...

RATING:                 EF-1
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:    90 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:  0.3 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:   30 YARDS
FATALITIES:             0
INJURIES:               0

START DATE:             APRIL 09 2015
START TIME:             7:50 PM CDT
START LOCATION:         4.4 MILES EAST SOUTHEAST OF HARVARD
START LAT/LON:          42.3982/-88.5309

END DATE:               APRIL 09 2015
END TIME:7:51 PM CDT
END LOCATION:           4.6 MILES EAST SOUTHEAST OF HARVARD
END_LAT/LON:            42.4019/-88.5272

THIS BRIEF TORNADO SNAPPED AND UPROOTED 6 TO 7 TREES AT A
PROPERTY ON MCGUIRE ROAD SOUTHEAST OF HARVARD THEN CAUSED MINOR
TREE DAMAGE ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE ROAD BEFORE ENDING.

Hartland McHenry County Tornado
EF SCALE: THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES
TORNADOES INTO THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES.

EF0...WEAK......65 TO 85 MPH
EF1...WEAK......86 TO 110 MPH
EF2...STRONG....111 TO 135 MPH
EF3...STRONG....136 TO 165 MPH
EF4...VIOLENT...166 TO 200 MPH
EF5...VIOLENT...>200 MPH

NOTE:
THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO
CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT AND PUBLICATION IN
NWS STORM DATA.

$$

NWS CHICAGO

 

Aerial Damage Photos

Near I-39
Landsat-8 Satellite image clearly showing the track of the tornado (Darkened line area northwest of Rochelle, IL)

 

Near I-39 Damage from the Air
Northwest Rochelle Tornado Damage (Courtesy Civil Air Patrol) Northwest Rochelle Tornado Damage (Courtesy Civil Air Patrol)

 

Damage to a neighborhood northwest of Rochelle showing high-end EF-4 impacts to homes.
Another view of damage to a neighborhood northwest of Rochelle showing high-end EF-4 impacts to homes.
(Courtesy Air-One and photographer Dave Youngblut)

 

Damage Photo Aerial of Fairdale looking Northeast. Courtesy of NGS/NOAA
Fairdale (Courtesy Civil Air Patrol) Aerial of Fairdale looking Northeast. Courtesy of NGS/NOAA

 

Ground Damage Photos

Damage Photo Car North of Rochelle
Northwest Side of Rochelle North of Rochelle

 

Fairdale Area

 

Fairdale Area Fairdale Area
Fairdale Area Fairdale Area

 


Reports

LSR Map LSR Map

 


Photos

 

NWS Chicago Facebook April 9, 2015 Photo Album

 

Near Dixon
East of Dixon. This is the base of the storm that would soon thereafter produce the long-lived tornado that would track into Ogle and DeKalb Counties. Courtesy of Lora Ludwig.

 

Near Ashton
Near Ashton.  Courtesy of PBrooks Photography.

 

Northwest of Rochelle Hail
Looking northwest of Rochelle.  Courtesy of Dean Schultz. Large hail at McHenry Country Club.  Courtesy of Jeff Grubich.

 

Jodi Mair Photo
Near I-39 Looking North of Rochelle.  Courtesy of Jodi Mair.

 

Near I-39
Near I-39.  Courtesy of Walker Ashley.

 

Scott Prader
Near Hillcrest.  Courtesy of Larissa Sebree.

 

 


Radar

Radar Loop
Radar loop from 3:30 pm – 8:45 pm on April 9, 2015

 

Hail Swaths

Rotation Tracks

 

The four panel radar images below display: radar reflectivity (top left), radar storm relative velocities from two different radars (top right and bottom right) and Correlation Coefficient (CC).  Storm relative velocity tells us if a storm has rotation. The green colors in the imagery represent winds blowing towards the radar, while the red colors indicate winds blowing away from the radar. Therefore, strong rotation can be inferred in the storms showing bright red colors directly adjacent to bright green colors in the storm relative velocity images.  This is also the area of the storm where the tornado is most likely to be occurring.   Reflectivity and storm relative velocity used together with CC data can indicate the presence of debris resulting from a tornado.  In basic terms CC is the correlation between the reflected horizontal and vertical power returns that the dual pol weather radar provides.  CC data tends to be near one with most precipitation type echoes.  Therefore, when the CC data is found to be very low (represented by the blue colors), it suggests that the radar is not sampling precipitation.

Notice that in the second radar four panel for the Franklin Grove to Margeno supercell time stamped 6:59 pm that a clear area of low CC data (Blue area) is identifiable within the radar reflective hook echo just north of Rochelle. This area also corresponds with the area of strong rotation as noticed in the storm relative velocity image in the top right. The Low CC in this area tells the radar operator that the strong reflectiveives within the hook echo in the top left panel is not precipitation, but is actually the radar seeing the debris being lofted from a tornado.

Near Rockford Airport to Cherry Valley to Harvard Supercell
Radar Radar
6:37 pm 6:52 pm

 

Franklin Grove to Fairdale to Belvidere to Margeno Supercell
Radar Radar
6:45 pm 6:59 pm
Radar Radar
7:15 pm 7:29 pm

 

 


Meteorology

  • The atmosphere was ripe for severe weather due to highly anomalous moisture and instability for early April across the region.  A strong low pressure system advanced into this favorable air mass. Combined with robust wind shear, this helped to trigger these potent storms.

Surface Weather Map

 


Climatology

  • The peak tornado season in Illinois is April through June.
  • This was the first EF-4 tornado or stronger in Illinois since two EF-4 tornadoes occurred on November 17, 2013, including one that struck the community of Washington.  This was the 33rd EF-4 or stronger tornado in Illinois on record (since 1950).
  • This was the first EF-4 or stronger tornado in the NWS Chicago County Warning Area in 25 years, since an F5 tornado struck Plainfield on August 28, 1990.
  • This was the strongest tornado on record (since 1950) for Ogle County, where EF-4 damage was observed. The previous strongest tornado on record in Ogle County since 1950 was an F-3 on August 5, 1979.  The last tornado in Ogle County prior to April 9, 2015 was May 22, 2011, when three EF-1 tornadoes occurred.
  • This was the strongest tornado on record (since 1950) for DeKalb County, where EF-3 damage was observed. The previous strongest tornado on record in DeKalb County since 1950 was an F-2 on June 18, 1975.  The last tornado in DeKalb County prior to April 9, 2015 was an EF-0 on May 13, 2011.

North Central Illinois Significant Tornadoes

    • Sources:
    • Charles Russell
  • NWS https://www.weather.gov/lot/15apr09
  • SPC
  • Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Rochelle%E2%80%93Fairdale,_Illinois_tornado
  • Youtube  http://youtube.com

 

 

 

 


Links





http://RickieTraeger.com





Rockford Scanner™: House Fire in Loves Park, Several Units En Route



 

 

 

Just before 5 pm today the LPFD and NPFD were toned out to battle a house fire in Loves Park. 

A room inside the house is fully engulfed and is extending to the rest of the house. 

It happened near 2015 Maple ave in Loves Park. 

Still developing