Tornadoes near Rockford kill 2, level homes

One woman was killed and several people injured as tornadoes damaged the north central Illinois prairie on April 9, the Chicago Tribune reports. The Rockford Register-Star put the death toll at two people in the town of Fairdale, where several homes were completely destroyed.

ROCHELLE, Ill. (April 10) — A photographer captured this view of the restaurant Grubstakers the day after the storm leveled the building. (Jon Durr / Getty Images)

“Preliminary indications based on radar data would suggest a path of 50 miles of intermittent tornado damage, potentially a single track or a couple of tracks,” the Tribune quoted Gino Izzi, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, as saying.

At least one path stretched from an area west of Rochelle and then toward southeast McHenry County, just west or north of Marengo, according to the article.

Although the methodology for estimating the tornado’s wind speed wasn’t reported, the Register-Star said it may have reached 200 mph. The half-mile-wide tornado was given a preliminary classification of EF-4 by the National Weather Service.

If you would like to try to help people who have lost their homes in these storms, here’s a list of organizations that will make sure your help reaches its intended beneficiaries.

Rochelle Township High School is also conducting a T-shirt sale. Each shirt is $10 cash and can be ordered through the school’s main office. All proceeds go to the Rochelle Area Community Foundation Tornado Relief Fund.

Or, you can volunteer to help if you’re in the area. For more information about this volunteer opportunity, call (815) 275-9793. Heavy crews were still working on April 10, but officials want to have lists of volunteers and the areas they can work ready to go when the heavy lifting is out of the way.

Tornado classification: the Enhanced Fujita Scale

The Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale) rates the strength of tornadoes in the US and Canada based on the damage they cause. Unlike its predecessor, the Fujita Scale, the EF-Scale takes into account upgraded construction practices when classifying tornadoes.

But damage, as a general rule, is proportional to the speed of the highest three-second gust of wind. The maximum three-second wind gusts for the different levels of the EF-Scale classification are as follows:

  • EF-0 — 65–85 mph
  • EF-1 — 86–110 mph
  • EF-2 — 111–135 mph
  • EF-3 — 136–165 mph
  • EF-4 — 166–200 mph
  • EF-5 — over 200 mph

Make a science project about tornadoes

Did you know you can simulate a tornado using a plastic soda bottle? Here’s how. To see a brief demonstration of this science fair project, check out this video:

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.