Chicago, IL

Naperville and Woodridge begin trending nationally on Twitter late last night as a tornado rips through the area

Jennifer Geer

Massive storms hit Chicago's southwest suburbs Sunday night causing damage to homes and multiple injuries

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(RJA1988 from Pixabay)

The tornado sirens started blaring throughout the southwest suburbs of Chicago at 11:07 PM on Sunday. Over the sounds of wind and rain, they could be heard in the distance from my home in Plainfield.

The weather service had called a tornado warning for our county, but after checking the maps, my husband and I realized we didn't need to wake everyone up and go to the basement. The rotation was to the east of us and headed away from our area. Our neighborhood was just outside of the warning.

We were lucky. A quick check of the yard this morning only showed an overturned pot and some downed branches. Our neighbors to the east of us were not so lucky.

The tornado began in Naperville

The powerful tornado first touched down in the residential area of 75th and Ranchview Drive in southeast Naperville. From there, it traveled east to the Lemont Road area. It then moved into Darien and Burr Ridge.

At 11:30 PM, it touched down again in Woodridge, east of Route 53 between 83rd and 75th Street. Meteorologists confirmed the tornado by the tornadic debris signature on radar maps.

Authorities are asking people to avoid these areas due to the damage. With fallen trees, downed power lines, and reported gas leaks, the region is not safe to travel through.

Meteorologists confirmed the rotation on the radar

Meteorologist Matt Friedlein explained, “Small pieces of debris, that could be tree limbs or paper, lofted above 10,000 feet and that’s a sign that the tornado is a pretty decent tornado, or, I should say, a stronger tornado. The radar can sample that and tell it’s not raindrops or hail storms. That is unusual. It’s more rare that that happens.”

The weather service is expected to confirm the path and the strength of the tornado today. Meteorologists at ABC7 Chicago expect it probably traveled about 15 miles with a strength of an EF2 or EF3.

Six people hospitalized and hundreds of homes damaged

The full extent of the damage hasn't been assessed yet. According to the latest from NBC5 Chicago, six people have been hospitalized and 16 houses completely destroyed, with hundreds of reports of damage to property and trees.

Extensive damage is seen on social media

Residents are sharing photos of the damage on social media, where houses and trees suffered extensive damage.

Homes were completely leveled.

Trees were uprooted.

At 9:40 PM, someone snapped a pic of the wall cloud headed our way.

What is the EF scale?

Though it's not confirmed, the tornado that hit the Chicago suburbs last night was most likely an EF-2 or EF-3 tornado. Tornadoes are rated on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, or EF scale to assess their strength.

Wind gusts from an EF-2 tornado range from 111 to 135 mph, while an EF-3 ranges from 136 to 165 MPH. The higher the EF rating, the higher the wind gusts, and the more extensive the damage.

An EF-2 tornado can throw cars in the air, rip roofs off of homes, and shift them off their foundations. An EF-3 tornado can cause the collapse of walls and uproot trees.

Clean-up begins

My thoughts are with the many people just beginning to assess the damage and start the clean-up this morning. And with the six injured people that were hospitalized.

It is stunning and sad to see the damage that can be done to a populated area from a tornado of this magnitude. And an important reminder to always take tornado warnings seriously.

What you should do during a tornado warning

When a tornado warning strikes your area, find shelter immediately. Go in the basement if you have one or an interior room with no windows on the lowest floor. Stay away from windows and doors.

Find out more information at the U.S. government's Ready website.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL
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