'Large extremely dangerous' tornado touches down in Chicago suburb

Mary Gilbert,

June 21 -- Summer truly started with a bang for portions of the Midwest late Sunday as severe storms tore across the region.

At one point, severe thunderstorm watches stretched across a nearly 600-mile swath from Missouri to Indiana and eastward into Michigan and Ohio.


One of the hardest-hit regions Sunday night was northern Illinois, where multiple severe thunderstorm warnings were issued as the summer solstice began. Embedded in these severe thunderstorms were several tornado-warned storms.

A line of severe thunderstorms prompted the National Weather Service office in Chicago to issue several tornado warnings.

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At least one of the storms likely spawned a damaging tornado, and it did so in one of the most densely populated portions of the state -- the greater Chicago metro area.

Shortly after 11 p.m. CDT, the NWS confirmed that a "large and extremely dangerous tornado" was on the ground over far east Woodridge, Ill.

The tornado initially touched down near the southern edge of Naperville before it tracked east through Woodridge and Burr Ridge, according to WLS-TV.

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The tornado was confirmed via radar with what's known as a tornado debris signature, more often referred to as simply a "debris ball." A debris ball can appear on radar once a tornado causes damage and lifts the debris from that damage hundreds or even thousands of feet into the air. This was the case for portions of DuPage County in northeastern Illinois on Sunday evening.


Shortly after the tornado confirmation, reports of damage began to pour in from affected areas.

Reports of structural damage to homes and other buildings, downed trees and downed power lines were prevalent in Woodridge. Police urged residents to stay home as some streets were "impassible due to debris and first responder activity."

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By early Monday, no serious injuries were reported in Woodridge. However, there were at least six injuries in Naperville and additional reports of residents trapped in homes.

Farther north, travelers at Chicago O'Hare International Airport were forced to deplane and shelter in place as intense storms rolled through. Additionally, heavy rain led to flash flooding across portions of the airport compound.

At one point early Monday, more than 36,000 customers were without power across Illinois, according to The majority of outages were located in DuPage and Cook counties.

Other gusty storms contributed to an additional 140,000 outages in Michigan and Indiana.

Shortly after midnight, tornado-warned severe thunderstorms pushed into northwestern Indiana. The NWS reported "fairly substantial damage" in South Haven, Ind., and said a possible tornado was headed into extreme eastern Porter County and LaPorte County.


"In the wake of the damaging thunderstorms that rolled through the Chicago suburbs late Sunday night, conditions will rapidly improve during the day on Monday for any clean-up efforts taking place," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.

"Noticeably cooler and less humid conditions will filter in across the Midwest in the wake of the powerful cold front that spawned the thunderstorm activity."

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