Massive tornado destroys rural Illinois towns

This aerial photo shows the destruction after a series of tornadoes that swept through the small town of Fairdale, Ill., in DeKalb County Thursday night.

Photo By Danielle Guerra from AP from Tribune Media Content used with permission

This aerial photo shows the destruction after a series of tornadoes that swept through the small town of Fairdale, Ill., in DeKalb County Thursday night.

Sarah Nagel, Reporter

On Thursday, April 9, a tornado tore through towns in rural northern Illinois, destroying at least 30 homes and killing two people. Over 20 people were rushed to the hospital, sustaining injuries, and 50 homes were severely damaged.

Fire department chief Matthew Knott told reporters, “Every single structure in the town was damaged.” A citizen who witnessed the storm states, “it took out everything in its path.”

There were a total of fourteen tornadoes reported in the Midwest region, the largest (the one in northern Illinois) had wind speeds of up to 200 mph and was a half-mile wide and traveled 10-20 miles on the ground. The storm was rated as an EF-4, which experts told the Chicago Tribune is only “one notch below the most severe classification.”

The town with the most damage was the small town of Fairdale—where the two people were killed. The town was completely wiped out. It is coated in rubble and debris. The town of Fairdale did not have a siren or tornado warning sound, but if you were watching TV, or on your phone, iPad, or computer, a notification would have gone off. Churches from neighboring towns have set up donations to those who lost or damaged their home in Fairdale, which is almost everyone.

One of the victims who lived in Fairdale had attempted to barricade herself in her bathroom until the storm was over, according to CNN. The tornado had, apparently, plowed right through her house. Dennis Miller, the DeKalb County coroner, told reporters, “[s]he apparently had no basement. She told her sister [on the day of the storm] that she was going to the shower to take cover.” Fire district chief Chad Connell commented, “They died in the most devastating spots in this town.”

Officials have expressed some concern about people not taking tornadoes seriously. A few reckless individuals who saw the tornado, instead of taking shelter, proceeded to taking out their cell phones and record the tornadoes movements. One man came less than a hundred feet from the massive tornado in his car, just to record it and post it on YouTube. The man was not a professional ‘storm chaser’ and had no experience in this matter at all. He was in his car, which was underneath an underpass.

Fox News meteorologist Tom Wachs, who, after watching this recklessly taken video, said “This is a prime example of what not to do. Overpasses act as wind tunnels, so the wind will increase underneath them, putting you at greater danger.” He also warns that if you can’t outrun the tornado with your car, that you should get in a ditch. A tornado can “toss your vehicle.”

People who were in town when the storm came through had to go in the basement of local restaurants to stay safe. Kion 6 reports that twelve people were stuck underneath a local restaurant basement. The tornado went through the restaurant mere minutes after the people found their way to safety. None of the people was injured, but the restaurant was completely destroyed.

Richard Kramer, one of the people who hid in the basement to avoid the storm, says, “No sooner did we get down there, when it hit the building and laid a whole metal wall on top of the doors where we went into the storm cellar.” The restaurant was in direct path of the tornado—it and everything around it was demolished.