Tornado touches down in Chicago suburb, destroying homes, trees

ByABC7 Chicago Team Coverage WLS logo
Thursday, March 28, 2024
Tornado rips through Chicago suburb
Greg Dutra reports from Woodridge, Illinois on the storm damage.

WOODRIDGE, Ill. -- A tornado touched down and caused extensive damage in the suburbs of Chicago Sunday night as a line of severe storms brought heavy rains and damaging winds across the Chicago area.

A large tornado was reported in southern DuPage County, Illinois, both radar-indicated and by local storm spotters around 11:10 p.m. Sunday. The National Weather Service is expected to confirm its strength and path on Monday.

The tornado began in Naperville before it moved into Woodridge. Woodridge police said the tornado touched down east of Route 53 between 83rd Street and 75th Street. The tornado then traveled east to the Lemont Road area.

The tornado then moved into the Darien and Burr Ridge area. ABC7 Meteorologist Tracy Butler said the tornado could have traveled as many as 15 miles.

Woodridge police said there are no reports of significant injuries but people are asked to avoid the area because of the damage.

Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis said five people have been transported to hospitals, including one person who was critically injured.

The NWS will assess the strength of the tornado. ABC7 Meteorologists Butler and Larry Mowry said the damage to trees and homes in Woodridge could possibly be from an EF2 to EF3 tornado.

Chopper 7HD surveys damage in Woodridge

Chopper 7HD surveys tornado damage in WoodridgeChopper 7HD flies above homes damaged by a tornado in west suburban Woodridge.

As of 3:22 a.m., ComEd reports 271 outages affecting 27,263 customers.

Video from Woodridge showed extensive storm damage, with even large trees snapped off at the base. Branches and trees littered roads and front yards, as did pieces of drywall and shingles from homes. Signs were knocked over, as were power lines. Emergency crews from neighboring Lisle and Darien also responded to Woodridge to help.

Chief Puknaitis said about 130 homes were damaged by the storms, with 10 that are uninhabitable and one that is completely leveled.

Naperville fire chief describes damage

Naperville's fire chief describes the damage after a tornado moved through the area.

Chopper 7HD flew above 77th Street and Ranchview Drive where one home was completely destroyed, while one home next door had some roof damage and another appeared undamaged.

In Woodridge, one home had the entire second story missing, while others had damage to roofs and garages.

The roof and second floor of Bridget Casey's home were torn off by the tornado.

"It all happened so fast, it was kind of like a 'whoosh' and I crawled out of my room to get to my little kids and my big kid came up to help me get them and then we all got downstairs," Casey said.

WATCH: Storm tracker describes being in storm, spotting tornado

Storm tracker Anthony Welch describes what it was like during and after the storm.

Resident Crystal Porter was on her way home from Joliet when the storm hit and had to clear a tree just to get into her driveway.

"I've lost all my live trees and one tree that should have been taken down," Porter said. "It's now down. None of them have hit my house. They came within inches of hitting my house and my neighbor's house."

Mowry said it was the most intense tornado this area has seen in a long time, and that the scope of the damage is likely to be great especially due to its wedge shape. Meteorologist Phil Schwartz noted that while northeast Illinois has seen a number of larger tornadoes in the recent past, they've happened in much more rural areas with a lower density of people.

The amount of damage is making it difficult for emergency crews to reach people who may need help. Some emergency responders are trying to reach anyone who may need help, while others work to clear roads to help them get through.