|Tornado near Rochelle, Ill. (Joe Napolitano/ABC7 Facebook fan)|
April 9, 2015 - ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES - One person was killed in Fairdale, Illinois as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms ripped through the far northwest suburbs of Chicago, according to the Illinois Office of Emergency Management.
The Rockford Fire Dept. reported widespread damage in the small farming community located roughly 20 miles southeast of Rockford.
Tornado damage has been reported by police in Rochelle, Ill., and state emergency officials say a team has been sent to look at the area.
A Rochelle restaurant named Grubsteakers was severely damaged by the storm. Raymond Kramer, 81, said he pulled over at Grubsteakers at his wife's insistence, just minutes before the storm struck.
"I stood at the door taking pictures of the tornado coming at me, and finally the owner of the restaurant said, 'Everybody in the basement right now!'," Kramer said. "And 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."
|A tornado is spotted in Rochelle, Ill. (@ryleehahn_77/instagram)|
|tornado is spotted in Rochelle, Ill. on Thursday, April 9, 2015. (@jazzy614/instagram)|
|A tornado is seen in Ashton, Ill. (@hannahjane2014/instagram)|
|Shared by ABC7 Facebook Fans Alex and Almita Perales in Rochelle.|
|Shared by ABC7 Facebook Fan Alexa Johnson in Rochelle|
|Shared by ABC7 Fan Mark Olson in Lake in the Hills|
Kramer was trapped along with 11 others - including the restaurant owners and staff - in the storm cellar for about 90 minutes.
"When the tornado hit, we all got a dust bath. Everyone in there got shattered with dust and debris falling out of the rafters," Kramer said.
Emergency crews had to remove debris to free them from the cellar. No one was injured, Kramer said.
The State of Illinois Emergency Management Agency said it has activated its state incident response team in various areas that have reported damage, including Rochelle.
Funnel clouds were also spotted by viewers in Ashton, Kirkland, and Kingston.
TORNADO WATCH IN EFFECT FOR CHICAGO AREA:
Tornado watches have also been issued for the following Chicago-area counties until later Thursday night:
ILLINOIS: Boone; Bureau; Cass; Champaign; Christian; Cook; DeKalb; DeWitt; DuPage; Ford; Fulton; Grundy; Iroquois; Kane; Kankakee; Kendall; Knox; Lake; LaSalle; Lee; Livingston; Logan; Macon; Marshall; Mason; McHenry; McLean; Menard; Morgan; Ogle; Peoria; Piatt; Putnam; Sangamon; Schuyler; Scott; Stark; Tazewell; Vermilion; Will; Winnebago and Woodford until 11 p.m.
INDIANA: Benton; Jasper; Lake; Newton and Porter until midnight
WISCONSIN: Green; Jefferson; Kenosha; Milwaukee; Racine; Rock; Walworth and Waukesha until 11 p.m.
A flood warning has also been issued for Cook County until Saturday night, and flood advisories have been issued for Cook, Lake and Will counties until Saturday afternoon.
SEVERE STORMS HIT OVERNIGHT WEDNESDAY
In the northwest suburbs, at least two homes were struck by lightning during severe storms overnight Wednesday.
Clean up crews have their hands full in the Jacksons' Algonquin home after a lightning bolt hit their house early Thursday morning.
Brion Jackson and his wife were inside the home when the strike happened.
"I kept hearing a crackling sound in the walls and thought maybe it's just one of those squirrels or raccoons, but it turned out the crackling was actually the fire started by the lightning up in the ceiling above where I was sleeping," Jackson said.
Smoke filled the top level of the home.
|Damage after severe weather in Fairdale, Ill. via Rockford Fire Department.|
|Storm damage seen in photo via Rockford Fire Dept.|
|Damage reported at Grubsteakers restaurant in Rochelle, submitted via USEEIT.|
|Shared by ABC7 Facebook Fan Royal Randall in McHenry.|
"My wife called out, 'Brion the house is on fire!'" Jackson said. "Well, that will wake you up real quick, I run out, look out the window and, oh my goodness, it was smoke all around."
The Jacksons said they rushed to get out. Their family and their three cats are OK, but the damage to their home will take time to clean up.
In Mount Prospect, another homeowner rushed outside to safety after lightning struck their townhome.
Smoke was coming from the second floor of the unit, located in a complex on Lincoln Street. The homeowner suffered minor smoke inhalation and will be OK.
"They heard a loud boom, a loud clap of thunder and lightning in the area, and after that is when they thought they smelled something burning," said Chief John Malcolm, Mount Prospect Fire Department.
In the midst of all of this rain and severe weather, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is reminding residents to limit water usage to prevent any flooding issues.
"If people aren't using water, five million people, that can leave a lot of room for storm water in that same pipe system," said David St. Pierre, executive director at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
With storms rolling through and hail expected, we thought this might be a good time to explain hail measurement. When your local meteorologist calls it "golf-ball" sized hail, or "pea" sized hail, that's not just an estimate, it's actual, approved measurement by the NOAA.
WATCH: Storm Chasers Track Illinois Tornado.
Here's what you need to know right now:
- The Illinois Office of Emergency Management said one person was killed in Fairdale, a small hamlet that took a direct hit. Rescue crews continue to sift through debris.
- A large, long-track tornado began near Ashton, Illinois, around 6:40 p.m. CDT Thursday. It crossed Interstate 39 several miles north of Rochelle, Illinois, shortly after 7 p.m. CDT. The tornado was broadcast live on The Weather Channel. Fairdale in DeKalb County took a direct hit. The parent storm continued to spawn a tornado – possibly the same tornado – all the way northeast into McHenry County in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago, where it was sighted near Marengo and Harvard before eventually weakening and dissipating as it approached the Wisconsin border.
- In North Carolina, lightning killed a man in the parking lot of a shopping center near Cary as strong to severe thunderstorms moved through Thursday evening.
- A tornado was spotted near Donahue, Iowa, at 5:17 p.m. CDT. Tornadoes were later spotted near DeWitt and Clinton, Iowa, from the same supercell thunderstorm. These communities are just north of Davenport, Iowa.
- A tornado was also sighted in Walbridge, Ohio, near Toledo, Thursday evening.
- Thursday's first tornado was reported at 1:32 p.m. just north of Peoria, Illinois. There are no immediate reports of damage. The same storm prompted another report of a brief ropelike tornado near Rome, Illinois, a few minutes later.
- A tornado watch is in effect until 1 a.m. CDT for parts of Indiana, southern Illinois, southeast Missouri and western Kentucky. This includes the cities of Indianapolis and Evansville, Indiana.
- Two tornado watches are in effect until 11 p.m. CDT, covering parts of Illinois, northwest Indiana, and eastern Missouri. This includes the Chicago metropolitan area.
- A tornado watch is in effect until 10 p.m. CDT for parts of southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana and east Texas. This includes Shreveport, Louisiana, and Tyler, Texas.
- A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect until 1 a.m. CDT for eastern Arkansas, west Tennessee and north Mississippi. This includes the city of Memphis.
- Severe thunderstorm watches are in effect until 10 p.m. CDT for parts of northeast and central Arkansas, southeast Oklahoma, and central and northeast Texas. This includes Little Rock, Arkansas.
- A mobile home was blown over and rolled in Centralia, Missouri, as a severe thunderstorm moved through at 4:10 p.m. CDT. Local dispatchers also said a tree fell on a trailer in Centralia, causing minor injuries and structural damage.
- The FAA says arriving flights into O'Hare were being delayed by an average of 3 1/2 hours Thursday afternoon. FlightAware.com said nearly 900 flights to and from O'Hare were cancelled Thursday.